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The Centro Botín presents Itinerarios XXVI, a new engagement with the present state of contemporary art
Antoni Hervàs. Itinerarios XXVI. Photo: Belén de Benito.

SANTANDER .- Itinerarios is an annual exhibition dedicated to the work of the artists who received one of the previous year’s Fundación Botín Visual Arts Grants, a programme launched in 1993 with the aim of supporting upcoming artists to realise and to make known their most ambitious projects, ventures in which research and production merge, and at the same time to give them the opportunity to complete and deepen their training. This series of exhibitions, which has been running for over a quarter of a century, provides a unique platform for these creators to present their work to the world in an institutional context and an exceptional opportunity for the public to get to know and to appreciate the most innovative developments in contemporary art. The works on show, created in a variety of locations and in a range of disciplines, are also featured in a catalogue published by the Fundación Botín.

Saturday, November 13, saw the opening to the public of Itinerarios XXVI, an exhibition that brings together the works of the artists selected in the XXVI Call for Visual Arts Grants of the Fundación Botín. The selection was made from a total of 592 applications from 52 different countries (317 from Spain, 35 from Mexico, 31 from Argentina, 22 from Brazil, 20 from Colombia, 17 from Portugal, 13 from Italy, 12 from Germany, 11 from the USA and 10 from Peru) by a multidisciplinary external jury composed of the curators Stefanie Hessler and Javier Hontoria and the artists Fernanda Fragateiro and Asier Mendizabal (both former recipients of Fundación Botín grants). As in previous years, the selected artists – who on this occasion are from Spain, Portugal and Ukraine – have taken advantage of the opportunity offered by the Fundación Botín to develop new projects and bring to fruition others already underway.

Itinerarios arrives a year late, given that this 26th iteration was temporarily postponed by the pandemic. A year in which, as Alejandro Alonso Díaz explains in the catalogue that accompanies the exhibition, beyond the pain and the interruption of our lives, we have been obliged to reimagine our mistaken conception of the human body as an autonomous hermetic entity and instead to embrace the latent entanglements of interdependency between the many kinds of entity (political, social, and organic) that make up our existence. The pieces on display generate subtle sensitive links, formally and conceptually fracturing the illusion of independence that is eroding our habitats, our vitality and our imagination.

Itinerarios XXVI will be open to the public until May 15, 2022, on the first floor of the Centro Botín. The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue containing an essay by Alejandro Alonso together with previously unpublished images of the works and texts on the artists.

Itinerarios XXVI - Artists

OLGA BALEMA (Lviv, Ukraine, 1984)

Olga Balema was awarded one of the Fundación Botín’s 26th annual Visual Arts Grants with a work that is notable for its very clear conceptual trajectory. To carry out her project she travelled twice to her hometown of Lviv (Ukraine) to visit and document various waiting rooms and other places in the city where the discrepancies between the interiors and exteriors of buildings manifest themselves. After these trips she made watercolours and sculptures, seeking to give form to the dissonance that she discovered in Lviv in the materials she used in her work: upholstery fabric, wallpaper, industrial wood products and foam rubber.

Olga Balema is an artist who lives and works in New York. She studied New Genres at the University of California after obtaining a Fine Arts and Sculpture scholarship to study at the University of Iowa. She has shown in national and international group exhibitions, notably at Haus der Kunst, Munich (2018); Kunstmuseum St. Gallen, Sankt Gallen (2018); High Art, Paris (2017); Croy Nielsen, Vienna (2017) and Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2016). Major shows include The Baltic Triennial 13, Vilnius (2018); 2015 Surround Audience Triennial, New Museum, New York (2015); and the Whitney Biennial (2019), Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Balema has also had solo exhibitions at, among others, Hannah Hoffman, Los Angeles (2017); Swiss Institute, New York (2016), and Kunstverein Nürnberg, Nuremberg (2015).

ELI CORTIÑAS (Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain, 1976)
Rendezvous de Masques is the title of the project presented by Eli Cortiñas. What was conceived as an audio-visual essay of about 30 minutes resulted in two works that can be regarded as consecutive chapters or a diptych: The Walls Have Feelings, a 12-minute single-channel video essay; and The Excitement of Ownership, a dual-channel video installation on two monitors. While there are clear thematic links between the two works, each one has its own conceptual autonomy and functions independently.

The work on show in Itinerarios XXVI will be The Walls Have Feelings, a video-essay that begins by observing in microcosm the offices of dictators and political figures to show their architecture and interiors. This footage is intercut with close-ups of politicians' faces, historical and archival material, and views of interior landscapes, gradually revealing the protagonists of the piece: the rooms, offices and walls that contain, conceal and reinforce the invisible forms of a power that comes from industrial capitalism and dictatorship, and that influences in turn present-day neoliberal economic production. The video echoes past and present forms of exploitation, both corporal and cognitive, familiar scenes of workers leaving the factory alternating with images of laboratories producing all-too-human robots, to create a hypnotic loop. As an open archive in process, The Walls Have Feelings not only speaks of political power and those who exercise it and the resulting oppression, but also processes the aesthetics through which such power operates. In showing lost and invisible events by means of reworked images, it digs deep into visual memory, challenging the collective and cinematic cultural record.

Eli Cortiñas lives and works in Berlin. He studied at the KHM Academy of Media Arts in Cologne and the European Film College in Ebeltoft, Denmark. His major solo exhibitions include Always Bite The Hand That Feeds You, Convent Space for Contemporary Art, Ghent (2018); Remixers Never Die, Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius (2018); Five Easy Pieces and Some Words of Wisdom, Soy Capitán, Berlin (2015); Awkward Studies and a Decent Take on Serious Matters, Rokeby Gallery, London (2013), and Love Is Worn Around The Neck at Kunstraum, Innsbruck (2012). He has also taken part in numerous group shows, such as Büro komplex - Die Kunst der Artothek im politischen Raum, Kunsthaus NRW, Aachen (2018); Film Footage Fotografie. Bildnerische Augenblicke mit filmischen Bezügen, Museum für Photographie, Braunschweig (2017); 10 Emerging Artists. Contemporary Experimental Films and Video Art from Germany, Goethe Institute, Toronto (2017); Double Feature, Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt (2017) and Les Rencontres internationales, Centre Pompidou, Paris (2011).

JUNE CRESPO (Pamplona, Spain, 1982)
Her sculptural work establishes formal and functional analogies with the body and attends closely to our internal perception of it above and beyond the anatomical appearance. The sculptures that make up the group Navel / Vault / Channel / Column are the result of assembling different elements: translucent resin and fibreglass shells, plaster, textiles, flowers and photographic prints. Elements such as deposits and eggs are decontextualised, fragmented and converted into abstract elements, altered in their scale and appearance. Subjected to an interplay of concave and convex shapes and a combination of rigid and flexible materials, together with their specific opacities and weights, the pieces respond to the desire to translate physical sensations and processes of decomposition or digestion into three-dimensional forms. The sculptures are related to the human scale, resonating with basic body postures and creating sensations such as suspension or gravitation, and are often reminiscent of ducts, membranes, organs, places of circulation and passage, active orifices and cavities.

June Crespo lives in Bilbao, where she graduated in Fine Art, and works and exhibits in a variety of international contexts, centring her practice on the field of sculpture. Her major solo exhibitions include No Osso, A Certain Lack of Coherence, Porto (2019); Ser dos, Galería CarrerasMugica, Bilbao (2017); Chance Album nº 1, etHALL, Barcelona (2016); Kanala, in the Intertextual programme, MARCO, Vigo (2016), and Cosa y Tú at Galería CarrerasMugica, Bilbao (2015). She has also shown in numerous group exhibitions: in 2019, 9kg de oxigénio, Galería Municipal do Porto; En caída libre, CaixaForum, Barcelona; Assistants of the Void, Galerie Nächst St. Stephan-Rosemarie Schwarzwälder, Vienna; Una dimensión ulterior, Museo Patio Herreriano, Valladolid; La Plaça, Hospitalet de Llobregat, Barcelona; Parentescos, Galería Nordenhake, Ciudad de México, and Drowning in a Sea of Data, Casa Encendida, Madrid. In 2018: Querer Parecer Noche, CA2M, Madrid; Internal View, Piotr Janas – June Crespo, Stereo, Warsaw; y escucho tus pasos venir, Galería Heinrich Ehrhardt, Madrid; Premio Paulo Cunha e Silva, Galería Municipal de Porto, Porto. Of note from previous years are Deep State, De Ateliers, Amsterdam (2017); Generación 2017, La Casa Encendida, Madrid (2017); HYPERCONNECTED, Moscow Museum of Modern Art (2016); fluxesfeverfuturesfiction, Azkuna zentroa, Bilbao (2016); Wild Things, The Green Parrot, Barcelona (2014); Hitting It Off, P Exclamation, New York, (2014); Pop Politics, CA2M, Madrid (2012); Antes que todo, CA2M, Madrid, (2010), among many more. In recent years she has received various awards, such as the VII Premio Internacional de Arte Fundación Mª José Jove (2019) and the Premio Ojo Crítico prize from RNE (2018).

MARIO ESPLIEGO (Guadalajara, Spain, 1983)
The starting point of Mario Espliego’s work is the problem of ‘the monumental’: understanding the monument as a container for social conflicts and relations with power as part of an inquiry into the construction of history and the shaping of hegemony in works that configure new stagings of constructed reality, re-readings or utopian alternatives to what we regard as certainties. The title of Espliego's project, The Lion from Its Claw, comes from the influential treatise on sculpture by 15th-century Italian humanist Pomponio Gaurico, who claimed that a single detail of any work was all he needed to establish its period, context, style, artist and more.

The Lion from Its Claw is articulated as debris, a mass of ornamental fragments in a diversity of styles from different contexts. Its totemic presence, vertical and stepped, invokes a sacred element. It is a fragmentary cluster of specific cultural artifacts that come together creating a globalising and post-identity mortar that has lost its uniqueness. The analogies, superpositions and antagonisms that elicit the relation of the fragment with its whole coalesce to create a cultural spectrum, recognition of some of the elements seeming to suggest their provenance, as the pieces reveal layers that, far from belonging to a classification, reveal through successive cutaneous layers the complexity of the object – a many-headed monster, an unrecognisable pastiche, a sign of a complex multiculturalism.

Mario Espliego is a visual artist based in Guadalajara. His practice, linked to the programme of monumental sculpture, is resolved in various media and processes, usually including writing. A PhD in Fine Art from the Complutense in Madrid, his thesis analysed a series of problems linked to the violence produced from and towards the monumental format. As a researcher he has given talks at the MNCARS, La Casa Encendida, Matadero Madrid and the Fundación Eugenio Almeida. His work has been exhibited at Fundación BilbaoArte (Bilbao), Museum Arnhem (Netherlands), ARTIUM (Vitoria), MACBA (Barcelona), Temp ArtSpace (New York), CA2M (Móstoles), MEIAC (Badajoz), Casa Velázquez (Madrid) and Tabacalera (Madrid), among others.

ANTONI HERVÀS (Barcelona, Spain, 1981)
The project Sausages, developed by Hervás, is the product of a reinterpretation of the tragedy Medea, by Euripides, adapting it to the English genre of pantomime. The artist made a meticulous research and analysis of the structure and particuliarities of the ancient Greek play to establish a system of relationships with the British performing arts.

During his working process, Hervàs carried out various experiments with which to transform the exhibition space by means of a series of situated elements and sculptures in an installation that turns the scene into a kind of ‘stomach’ that the viewer can walk through and interact with. As in pantomime, the work draws on satire, festivity and disguise to break down social conventions.

Antoni Hervàs studied Fine Art at the Universitat de Barcelona (2006) and engraving and printing at the Escola Llotja. Of note among his solo exhibitions are: Antoni Hervàs: The Rubbery, 1646, The Hague, The Netherlands (2017); Agón, ETHall Gallery, Barcelona (2016); Kakanoures i kitschades, SIS, Sabadell (2015), and Hércules en la luna, Espai Cultural Caja Madrid, Barcelona (2012). Hervàs has participated in numerous collective shows, including Absurd Humour: A Constellation of Nonsense in Spain, CA2M Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo, Madrid (2020); Generación 2018, La Casa Encendida, Madrid (2018); PUNK. Sus rastros en el arte contemporáneo, CA2M Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo, Madrid (2015) and Museu d'Art Contemporani, Barcelona (2016); Deshaciendo el texto, La Casa Encendida, Madrid (2016), and Capítulo II. Huidas. La ficción como rigor within the season El Text: Principis i Sortides, Fabra i Coats Centre d'Art Contemporani, Barcelona (2014). As part of his art practice, he has directed Fènix (2013–2016), the educational programme of the Centre Sant Andreu Contemporani in Barcelona, involving various artists from the city. He has also carried out self-published projects such as Grapandmopotheper (2009), Tributo a Ray Harryhausen, DeGénero Ediciones (2014), and La Trama for Mataró Art Contemporani (2015). In 2010 he was awarded the INJUVE Creación prize in the Illustration category.

SALOMÉ LAMAS (Lisbon, Portugal, 1974)
The film shown in the exhibition, ©Fatamorgana (2018-2019), part of a more extended research work, is at once a political parody and a speculative comedy, in which historical and contemporary figures narrate the course of global history and post-WWII geopolitics through direct quotes and more oblique references.

©Fatamorgana (2018-2019) transforms the research, the textual experience and the production of the play Fatamorgana (2017) into a film that takes the central elements of the original stage production and transfers them to cinematic space in a dense mix of still and moving images, text and sound. The main theme of the play is meaning, illusion and truth, and its plot revolves around Fata Morgana, immortal sorceress of illusion, who delights in deceiving humans. The allegorical dimension implies a gradual awareness of these illusions, through which the mind is led to an awareness the truth that lies within appearances.

Salomé Lamas studied Film in Lisbon and Prague and Visual Arts in Amsterdam and is a PhD candidate in Contemporary Art studies in Coimbra. Her work has been screened at art events and film festivals such as Berlinale, BAFICI, Museo Arte Reina Sofía, FIAC, MNAC: Museu do Chiado, DocLisboa, Cinema du Réel, Visions du Réel, MoMA NY, Museo Guggenheim Bilbao, Harvard Film Archive, Museum of Moving Images NY, Jewish Museum NY, FID Marseille, Das Arsenal – Institut für Film und Videokunst, Viennale, Culturgest, CCB - Centro Cultural de Belém, Hong Kong FF, Museu Serralves, Tate Modern, CPH: DOX , Centre d'Art Contemporain de Genève, Bozar, Tabakalera, ICA London, Fundación TBA 21, Mostra de São Paulo, CAC Vilnius, MALBA, FAEMA, SESC São Paulo, MAAT and La Biennale di Venezia Architettura, among others. Lamas has received several important grants, notably from the Gardner Film Study Center - Harvard University; The Rockefeller Foundation - Bellagio Center; Brown Foundation - Dora Maar House; Beca de Artes Plásticas de la Fundación Botín; Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian; Sundance; Bogliasco Foundation; The MacDowell Colony; Yaddo and the Deutsche Akademische Austauschdienst’s Berliner Künstlerprogramm. She works with the Universidad Católica Portuguesa, the Elias Querejeta Zine Eskola and the production company O Som e a Fúria, and is represented by the Galeria Miguel Nabinho and Kubikgallery.

ANNA MORENO (Sant Feliu de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain, 1984)
Moreno’s project, Plastic, Marble, and Helicopters, turns the utopian architecture of the 1970s into a speculative myth that addresses us from an atemporal near future. In destabilising our tendency to nostalgia and with it our perennial desire to look back from an eternal present, she critiques the mythification of the progressive utopias of the seventies that is all around us today.

Plastic, Marble, and Helicopters is the culmination of a year-long investigation into Global Tools, a pioneering educational project started in 1972 by architecture studios in the so-called ‘Italian radical design’ movement headed by Ettore Sottsass in response to Italy’s political, ecological, and socio-economic crises at that time. Global Tools championed a ‘reinstatement of manual work’ and the use of ‘humble techniques’ and ‘simple technology’, invoking the body as the ultimate form of architecture, a site of latent political and creative potential. Moreno's project recovers some of the lessons learned from these working groups and critically re-purposes them as events, happenings or encounters to be staged, documented and edited, in parallel with the construction of architectural props based on items of ‘radical design’ furniture and their relationship with consumer culture.

The piece shown in the exhibition consists of the documentation obtained after the events, edited in the form of a video installation, together with a series of objects based on parallel research into the ‘poor’ materials and techniques championed by Global Tools, manifesting the clash between the anarchistic spirit of the group's experiment and the plastics boom of the 1960s and 70s. This contradictory position is exemplified by the Superonda 4 5 sofa by Archizoom (1968), the Misura Series by Superstudio (1969-1972) and other pieces produced by high-end design firms such as Poltronova, Olivetti, Zanotta or Gufram. The videos in the installation are accompanied by the modular four-piece sofa that Moreno designed and produced with Poltronova and used as a prop for a performance at the Space Electronic nightclub in Florence (where Global Tools carried out several of their experiments) during the 50th anniversary event of its inauguration, and by a series of lamps made from steel tubes, polystyrene, paint, varnish and papier-mâché, which function as both autonomous functional designer objects and sculptures.

Anna Moreno lives and works in Barcelona and in The Hague. She is a Researcher and Visual Artist-in-Residence at the Van Eyck – Multiform Institute for Fine Art, Design, and Reflection in Maastricht. She has taught at the KABK in The Hague and at the Academie Minerva in Groningen and has been a member of the Artistic Research symposium and of various think tanks.

BRUNO PACHECO (Lisbon, Portugal, 1974)
The subject matter of Pacheco's painting ranges from prosaic objects such as plants or hats to compositions of ambiguous settings with multiple figures. He often develops his motifs from found images, but avoids placing the accent on any iconic content. He describes his approach to painting as a ‘neutralisation’ of the immediate graphic nature of the subject at hand, an act of reduction that is achieved by unifying form and background and altering the conventional hierarchy of elements with which an image is constructed. In his (re)presentation of objects and scenes by means of painting, Pacheco seeks to thwart any certainty in their interpretation and involve the viewer in the act of looking.

With his paintings, the artist alters the conventional hierarchy of the elements that make up an image. In his works the figures appear isolated and move through unidentified landscapes. Marvel (2019) is an oil on canvas that depicts professional handlers of artworks moving a painting, The Dream of Saint Mark (c. 1585), by Domenico Tintoretto, which is remarkable for the dramatic figure of the angel swooping over a sleeping Saint Mark. Two other paintings can be seen here: Saint Mark Rescuing A Saracen From Shipwreck (1562–1566) and Saint Mark's Body Brought to Venice (1562–1566). Both are by Jacopo Tintoretto, and in both the action is centred on one body being moved by another. Pacheco's pictorial treatment of bodies and space shifts attention away from the concrete details of the event to focus on the gestures and movements that the scene evokes.

Bruno Pacheco lives and works between Lisbon and London. He studied painting at the Lisbon School of Fine Arts and at Goldsmiths, University of London, where he completed a Masters Degree in Fine Art in 2005. His most recent solo exhibitions include head (red) hand, Hollybush Gardens, London (2019); Vaivém, Galeria Quadrum, Lisbon (2018); and Red was the Tone, Filomena Soares Gallery, Lisbon (2016). He has also taken part in numerous international group shows, such as the Sharjah Biennial 14 (2019); Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, Netherlands (2017); Museu Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon (2017); Guildhall Art Gallery, London (2017); Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Serralves, Porto; XXXI Bienal de São Paulo (2014), and the 3rd Beijing International Art Biennale (2008). His works are present in several major collections, notably in those of the Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon; the Sharjah Art Foundation, UAE; the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, Netherlands; the Kadist Art Foundation, Paris; the Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Serralves, Porto, Portugal; the National Art Museum of China, Beijing, and the United Bank of Switzerland, London.

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