BARCELONA, SPAIN.- The Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona presents Desacuerdos (Disagreements). On Art, Politics and the Public Sphere in Spain, through May 29, 2005. DESACUERDOS (Disagreements). On Art, Politics and the Public Sphere in Spain is a research project co-produced by Arteleku, a division of the Diputación Foral de Gipuzkoa (Gipuzkoa Provincial Council), the MACBA (Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art), and the UNIA arteypensamiento project of the Universidad Internacional de Andalucía as well as an exhibition and event programme co-produced by the aforementioned institutions and the Centro José Guerrero of the Diputación de Granada (Granada Provincial Council). Desacuerdos arose from the desire to create a historiographic counter-model that would go beyond the academic discourse on art, helping to lay the foundations for the reconstruction of a critical public cultural sphere.
The project has a decentralised structure with network cooperation between cultural institutions of various types, which employs work dynamics that go beyond institutional boundaries so that other critical spheres of culture can operate. Desacuerdos sets out to trace cultural practices, models and counter-models that are outside of prevailing structures, policies and practices that have been carried out in Spain over the course of more than four decades. The objective is to draft a critical history of such structures and attitudes, which continue to be instituted as models of administration of culture and art. The results of the research process can be consulted at the website www.desacuerdos.org and in the notebooks Desacuerdos 1 and 2.
Desacuerdos. On Art, Politics and the Public Sphere in Spain shows the research process initiated in 2003. Nonetheless, this exhibition should not be understood as the literal translation or as the only version possible of the research process. One of the difficulties tackled is precisely that of representing that which was born of a vocation to non-representability, of a desire to break with given conditions. This project acknowledges the paradoxes and difficulties of combining action and representation, intention and material presence and is therefore a work in historiographic research in a context that is at once near and distant, familiar and unknown, yet it is also a self-critical reflection on conditions and relations of power, on institutional knowledge and the limits of museums.
The exhibition in Barcelona covers the historical period of the last three decades. Nonetheless, and although it follows a certain chronological order, it should not be understood as a single itinerary, but rather as an ample temporal frame that allows for several different itineraries or various possible chronologies. The point is not to replace one narration with another, but to evince a multiplicity of potential histories.
The exhibition in the MACBA is structured around several topics that correspond to various times and situations of different scales and natures. In some cases, the aim is to represent general trends or major concepts, whereas in others, it is to present specific situations as case studies. The first part focuses on the Transition Period in the 70s, analysing various themes: The Carnivalization of Avant-Garde Movements (with the Pamplona Meetings in 1972); The (Counter-) Informative Paradigm (beginning with the appearance of portable video equipment that allowed the emergence of a constellation of experiments in decentralised communication); New Artistic Behaviour: the Confluence of the Artistic Avant-Garde and the Political Avant-Garde (conceptualism and the readjustment of the classic debate of the 20th Century on aesthetics and politics); and Popular Cultures (exploring the convergence of the visual arts and the subcultures generated around musical styles).
The second part of Desacuerdos is structured around the topic of Emerging from the Factory: the Transition from Post-Fordism and the Birth of Biopolitics, that is, the transition from the modern-day model of capitalist accumulation in the industrial era (whose emblem is the factory and the full-time salaried worker) to a new model of flexible post-industrial or post-Fordist accumulation. In this context, there is a section dedicated to the appearance of The Company-City, with the emergence of a new model of modernisation and internationalisation promoted by Spain and based on the limitless expansion of the market. The birth of ARCO symbolically opens this section as an emblem of the institutional structures for dissemination of contemporary art based on criteria associated with the art market boom. The 1992 events (the World Expo in Sevilla, the Olympic Games in Barcelona and the 5th Centenary of the Discovery of America lead up to a section specifically on The Barcelona Model, which serves to focus the discussion of the company-city on the process of transformation of urban public spaces that is occurring in Western cities.
The exhibition ends with an open space that reflects the impact of internet on the redefinition of cognitive, productive and distributive networks and the appearance of a new public sphere based on new technologies, as of the second half of the 90s: Going Beyond the Institutional Artistic Framework: Relationality, Diffuse Creativity and New Social Movements.
The exhibit Desacuerdos includes works by Preiswert Arbeitskollegen, Eugènia Balcells, C.V.A., Juan del Campo, Estrujenbank, Esther Ferrer, José Mª Giro, Eulàlia Grau, Grup de Treball, Concha Jerez, Joaquim Jordà, Familia Lavapiés, Rogelio López Cuenca, Antoni Miralda, Fina Miralles, Muntadas, Pere Noguera, Pere Portabella, Agustín Parejo School, Joan Rabascall, Fernando Ruiz Vergara, Francesc Torres, Isidoro Valcárcel Medina and Video-Nou, among many others. Also on display will be fanzines, comic books, experiments in the publishing field, independent radio and television stations, experimental poetry, video, etc.