Exhibition analyses forms of everyday violence that are barely perceptible
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Exhibition analyses forms of everyday violence that are barely perceptible
Jonas Staal, New World Summit, Berlin, 2012. Photo: Lidia Rossner.

VITORIA-GASTEIZ.- Artium, Basque Museum-Centre of Contemporary Art presents the exhibition Invisible Violence (North Gallery from 12 September 2014 to 11 January 2015), which from the field of international contemporary art explores the forms of everyday violence that are barely perceptible yet present at a global level in domestic, work-related, administrative and cultural areas, among others. The show is a co-production between Artium and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade (MoCAB) in which some thirty artists from the European Union are participating, in some cases with works that have been specifically produced for the project, such as those by María Ruido, Francesc Ruiz or Daniel García Andújar. From 30 September, the core of the exhibition will be completed by the screening of a selection of videos related to the same topic. Invisible Violence is curated by Blanca de la Torre, Zoran Erić and Seamus Kealy and is sponsored by the Provincial Council of Alava and the Basque Government, in collaboration with institutions such as Culture Ireland; British Council, Northern Ireland; ProHelvetia, Swiss Arts Council; Instituto Cervantes; Forum Austria and Goethe Institut.

The exhibition Invisible Violence has been conceived within a geo-political context comprising the Basque Country, Ireland (especially Northern Ireland) and Serbia, places that are stereotypically linked with violence and terror. But this context simply serves as a backdrop for a project that attempts to overcome this stereotypical image, transferring it to a broader European and international context. The exhibition, therefore, explores the “hidden territories of invisible violence as a subject with a universalizing potential”. The violence that appears reflected or investigated by the participating artists contains “forms of violence within language, within representation, as a result of shifting socio-economic conditions” and in policies “that may be identified as enacting a cultural violence upon geo-political bodies and individuals”.

In order to achieve this goal, the curators have selected specific works that relate in one way or another to some of these manifestations of invisible violence. Works by artists such as Ursula Biemann from Switzerland (Black Sea Files, 2005), a project investigating the Caspian Sea, the world’s oldest oil extraction area, in which the protagonists are the supporting players who live within the vicinity of the oil pipeline; Daniel García Andújar from Alicante (El capital. La mercancía, 2014), a work on his experience within the hidden underworld of the Internet, which is linked to all manner of illegal and clandestine activities; or Jonas Staal from the Netherlands (New World Summit, 2013), a project that explores the field of art as a space in which to reimagine the exercising of democracy.

Further into the exhibition visitors will discover works by, among others, the recently deceased German artist and filmmaker Harun Farocki (In-Formation, 2005), a video reconstructing the history of immigration in Germany through the use of diagrams extracted from newspapers, textbooks and school publications; María Ruido from Galicia (The Dream Is Over, 2014), a video installation on “necropolitics”, a term used in certain circles to define Europe’s immigration policy; Nedko Solakov from Bulgaria (Negotiations, 2003), another video installation showing discussions between the artist and Israeli and Palestinian authorities on the occasion of one of his exhibitions in Tel Aviv; or Adrian Paci from Albania (Believe Me, I’m an Artist, 2000), a video showing a conversation between the artist and a police officer in Italy (where he lives and works) who suspected him of child molestation because one of his works showed his daughters with an Albanian exit stamp printed on their backs.

An installation by Francesc Ruiz from Catalonia (Corsica Newsstand, 2014) alludes to the role the media plays when it comes to creating and perpetuating a stereotypical image of a territory; a large-scale photograph by Locky Morris from Ireland (Day of the Rat, 2010) refers to the effects of urban environment on emotions and behaviour, while a work by Kader Attia (Repair Analysis, 2013) refers to the inability to fully rectify certain shortcomings that leave permanent marks, while the gesture of rectifying them can be interpreted as a form of resistance.

The exhibition concludes with a film by Declan Clarke from Ireland (Group Portrait with Explosives, 2014), which links the former Czechoslovakia with South Armagh, an area in Northern Ireland that borders the Republic of Ireland: first, Czech tractors were used to agriculturally develop the region and then the weapons made in that country were used in the conflict between the IRA and the British Army. Along with this screening, a video installation by Willie Doherty from Northern Ireland (Ancient Ground, 2011) traces the scars of human dramas that cannot be erased through the use of alternating images between the rural and the urban.

Invisible Violence is completed (Lower East Gallery from 21 September) by a continuous screening of a selection of video works by artists such as João Salaviza, Ferhat Özgür, Pepo Salazar, Iratxe Jaio and Francisco Ruiz de Infante, among others. In addition, on Friday the 12th and Saturday the 13th of September, conferences will be held on the theme of the exhibition, the first featuring Blanca de la Torre, María Ruido and Francesc Ruiz and the second with Zoran Erić, Vladimir Miladinović, Nikola Radić and Dejan Kaludjerović. The content of these roundtable discussions, alongside those held in the MoCAB last spring and the mounting of the exhibition at both venues, will result in a publication on Invisible Violence.

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