Vleeshal Center for Contemporary Art opens an exhibition curated by Yaby (Beatriz Ortega Botas and Alberto Vallejo)

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Vleeshal Center for Contemporary Art opens an exhibition curated by Yaby (Beatriz Ortega Botas and Alberto Vallejo)
Claudia Pagès, Walking the Gerund Mountain (Montjuïc, bando del Port), Vleeshal, Middelburg. Photo: Franz Mueller Schmidt.

MIDDELBURG.- Some of It Falls from the Belt and Lands on the Walkway Beside the Conveyor has to do with what exceeds normal flow. This image of a conveyor belt draws out some of the ideas behind the show: a context that determines how things move forward (a well-oiled system where all circulates according to preset parameters); accumulation, waste and spillage within it, not quite halting circulation but always swirling it a little; and the possibility of withdrawing from normal flow and finding some space to take up in its near surroundings.

A legal process, an economic system, a language, a public place, an aesthetic paradigm… Any given context is a sphere of constraint, but it’s also the inescapable grounds for liberation. All contexts have their residue, some degree of leakage or superabundance where anchored values and uses get unsettled, opening gaps for non-standard enunciation and existence. There is a lineage of political and aesthetic experimentation that has located in the residual a means to navigate contexts, to negotiate their structures and limitations from within; the works brought together here extend this approach in addressing the problems and possibilities of different contexts and closed systems, observing their ordinary flows and tracking alternative ways for circulation.

Christopher Aque, Aria Dean, Rindon Johnson and Claudia Pagès all deal with residue on different levels: whether literal waste and flows of excretion, secondary products generated by the operations of larger primary systems, the omitted role of the industrial management of death in the formation of modernism, or residual navigations of public space that transcend its intended socialization. In speaking to the significance of frictions between remainder and context, these works point also to the place containing them: Vleeshal used to be the meat market of the former town hall, a gothic civil building in the center of an old port city deeply ingrained in the history of colonial trade, political power and cultural hegemony. This exhibition space, marked by commerce and governance, is itself a context dense with codifications regarding the assignation of value, the funneling of desire, and the distribution and interplay of bodies and meanings.

Works on view

• Claudia Pagès, ‘Fans seashells’
Three customized air fans with seashells. 2021

• Claudia Pagès, ‘Walking the Gerund Mountain (Montjuïc, bando del Port)’
Video, metallic structure, flexible LED screens. 2022

• Aria Dean, ‘fragment from skinning cattle by power 1867 (fig. 122 in Gideon)’*
Red lacquered wood, silicon rubber. 2022

• Christopher Aque, ‘Double Negative (Swapping Spit)’
Kiln-formed glass, acrylic, UV-C germicidal lights, water, pumps, PVC tubes. 2021

• Rindon Johnson, ‘Idiom 1 Plea Piece (Time is a Dimension)’*
Five channel audio. 2022

Rindon Johnson, ‘In the end all he had left were negative decisions, eye hole, wind eye, breath hole, a sun lit curvature, five bookends and 5 shelves, his own narcissism, a keeper of things or a sun that kept rising, sacks that were never full nor empty, a man’s face in a glass of port, no sherry, in decision on a cliff face, discussion of rocks and sudden openings, I wish I were not drawn to you he said before sleeping, turning over a reply was redundant, basically impossible, so nothing more was said’* Rawhides, dirt. 2022

Rindon Johnson, ‘From the chat this will be related to the speaker, the cold can easily take a voice, a bed, a bed like vehicle carried on a man’s shoulders, lound, lounge, sofa, dining-couch, lie down, lay, scattered oddments, disorderly debris, provide with bedding, provide with bedding, bring forth, give birth to, to strew with objects, to scatter in a disorderly way, jonah and the whale, stretcher, bier, straw, bedding, not them, late and then later, cunning, lectus, erosion, like touching the same object with the same object over and over and then at some point stopping arbitrarily in accordance almost exactly as you begin all of which is distinctly nothing like the happiness of a dog with a ball in its mouth’* Rawhides, dirt. 2022

*Produced by Vleeshal Center for Contemporary Art


Beatriz Ortega Botas (1990) and Alberto Vallejo (1990) are the founders and directors of Yaby, a curatorial platform that started as an independent art space in Madrid in 2017. Also, they are the editors of _AH, a yearly online journal combining art and writing that expands on Yaby’s program and lines of research.

Yaby has curated exhibitions on site and off site, collaborating with various art institutions in different formats, organizing live events, talks, study groups and reading groups.

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