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Txuspo Poyo's Political Utopias at Artium Basque Centre for Contemporary Art
Txuspo Poyo (Alsasua, Navarre, 1963) is a multidisciplinary artist with a long career in the art world.
VITORIA-GASTEIZ.- ARTIUM Basque Centre-Museum of Contemporary Art presents the exhibition by Txuspo Poyo U.N(Inverse) (Lower East Gallery, until September 5, 2010), a show that deals with political utopias constructed around the image of the building that houses the headquarters of the United Nations in New York. Although the centrepiece of the exhibition and one that gives the show its name is a large animation video that deals with the aforementioned building and the multiple interpretations that it inspires, U.N(Inverse) gives some idea of the multidisciplinary capability of Txuspo Poyo: In addition to videos, visitors can also find a number of drawings and sculptures, such as Foucault’s pendulum, which alludes to the piece installed in the main lobby of the General Assembly of the United Nations. Poyo delves into myths of liberty, political transparency and democratic participation cross-referenced with the contemporary film industry, architecture and art. The exhibition is a joint production of ARTIUM (Vitoria-Gasteiz) and the Centre d’Art La Panera (Lleida).

Txuspo Poyo (Alsasua, Navarre, 1963) is a multidisciplinary artist with a long career in the art world. Over recent years has concentrated fundamentally on audiovisual expression. With a long career including time spent in Bilbao, New York, Canada and Central America, Txuspo Poyo gradually built up a body of work that brings together references to fragmented history and imagery, from the viewpoint of the history of art and the film world. His works contribute to a re-reading of clichéd representations of the socio-cultural reality of Western society.

The central feature of the exhibition, which gives it its title and forms the backbone of the show, is a 3D animation called U.N(Inverse). The title alludes to the English initials of the United Nations (UN) and to the name of the UNIVERSAL film studios. In this piece, Txuspo Poyo interprets the iconic value of the United Nations building in New York, originally designed by Le Corbusier, as a project based on the political utopia of the union between the nations of the world, as a symbol of contemporary architecture and as an icon of the audiovisual industry. U.N(Inverse) pays a virtual visit to the outside and interior of this building, but the aim is not to make a documentary but a poetic fiction full of images of great metaphorical content on the fragile nature of the world.

In reality, the exhibition, a complex device that includes video, sculpture, drawings and installation, delves into the myths of freedom, political transparency and democratic participation through cross-references between the modern film industry, art and architecture. The show is a reflection upon the origins of the current political system and the forms of representation it has generated, especially with regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the architecture of United Nations building in New York, as a symbol of a new era.

U.N(Inverse), the work, is projected on two screens on one of the sides of a large T-shaped wall that crosses the main space of the gallery. As of this point, the exhibition expands in a way that that is not necessarily linear. Each one of its elements generates different meanings in accordance with the relationships it establishes with the other major works in the exhibition. The first of these, a bell suspended from the ceiling (Glory Hole) that swings back and forth over the visitor and projects a disturbing shadow on the wall; Foucault’s pendulum (Full Time) that alludes to the piece shown in the lobby of the General Assembly building of the UNO; a model of the complex of buildings of the United Nations in complicated equilibrium (U.N. model 23A), which recalls the original Scheme 23A of Le Corbusier… Three small light boxes such as the ones that indicate the exit doors, articulate a sector of the gallery: Exit, Exile, Exist.

The network of relationships is expanded when these works are connected with others created over recent years by Txuspo Poyo, such as the well-known drawings on the front pages of newspapers of a number of different countries and, especially, a fortnight of videos and animated films in which the iconic allusions to the cinema and the history of art are patent. Among others: MHT (Monkey Honky Town) – which alludes to the symbologies in Kubrik’s film 2001, A Space Odyssey; Ambientes hostiles –nails and hammers make up a complex landscape with references to post-industrial society; Delay Glass –a 3D examination of the Large Glass by Marcel Duchamp-; Cartoon –a documentary on the psychological effects of cartoons, made in the 90s with a toy video camera, interviews with Rogelio López Cuenca, Nazario, Ruper Ordorika, among others-; Herrorismo –a 16 mm film animation in which Metro’s lion is burnt from the heat of the projector lamp and is mended in its own “The end”.

As indicated in the texts that accompany the exhibition, the final result is “a fascinating ‘totum revolutum’ of historical, social, political and technological symbols that make up a system of icons that form part of collective imagery, while they swing between the literal and metaphorical”. The exhibition includes a large documentation area as well as a catalogue co-published by ARTIUM and La Panera with texts by George Stolz and Miles Orvell. On the occasion of the inauguration of the exhibition, a newspaper-format publication with texts by Miles Orvell has also been produced.


ARTIUM Basque Centre-Museum of Contemporary Art | Txuspo Poyo | United Nations |


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