, Basque Centre-Museum of Contemporary Art presents the exhibition Illusion-Disillusion, a project by David Maroto (Valdepeñas, 1976) for the Praxis programme (North Gallery, through June 17, 2012). On this occasion, the artist creates a kind of games room, a series of interrelated works-games the activation of which requires the participation of the spectator. Traditional games with different rules and others dreamt up by the artist himself, who, on some occasions, places the players in apparently absurd situations and on others, in contradictory situations, such as the need to empathise with the adversary in order to beat him. Illusion-Disillusion is curated by Blanca de la Torre and is a production of ARTIUM.
On the one hand, the art of David Maroto lies at the crossroads between literature and the visual arts and on the other, at the intersection between games used as an art form and psychoanalysis. The title of the project presented by the artist at ARTIUM derives, on the one hand, from what Maroto calls the First Circle of his artistic practice, the central element of which is a novel, Illusion. This novel in turn comes from the conjunction of narrative pieces in the form of sound and video-graphical works, and printed sequences which have been stripped progressively of their audible and visual components to leave them in pure, text forms.
This art project in the form of a novel, as David Maroto himself calls it, is one of the central elements of the exhibition. But the exhibition consists especially of works that belong to his creative Second Circle. With these, David Maroto creates a kind of games room in the Praxis Gallery in which the participation of the spectator is necessary in order to activate the works-games and to establish relationships between them. Disillusion is, within this circle, the piece that articulates the rest: a game of strategy for two players dreamt up by the artist, in which, paradoxically, "playing to win only leads to one's own defeat. On the other hand, playing to lose will probably lead to the same result". Maroto has presented Disillusion in galleries and at festivals such as the SMAK Contemporary Arts Museum of Gante, the EFA Project Space in New York, the Tina B Festival in Prague, the W139 in Amsterdam and the O3ONE in Belgrade.
Around a central element, David Maroto adds other games, some of which he has created himself while others have been derived from traditional games. Just like Disillusion, Empathy is a game for two people in which the ability to perceive one's own psychology and that of the opponent is very important. In this case, the winner will be the one who has a greater capacity for putting himself in the shoes of the other. The conception of the rules of the game reflects those that also govern our day-to-day existence.
In other pieces, the artist exposes the player to fate and at the same time to a sense of bewilderment. In Bingo#6, the ordinary appearance of the game is dispelled when the spectator sees that virtually all the balls bear the same number. In the video-installation Message in a bottle, only fate will allow the spectator to capture the main fleeting image, scarcely one still, in a video lasting four hours.
Maroto, therefore, uses games to question aspects of reality that are taken for granted, using elements taken from psychoanalysis. Two kinds of puzzles delve into this territory and complete David Maroto's project in Praxis. On the one hand, a giant Tangram in which the player can make up an infinity of figures with only seven pieces, although each one poses a problem that must be resolved. On the other hand, Puzzle The Lovers is a western puzzle, in other words with just one possible solution, although David Maroto creates a sense of frustration in the player faced with the impossibility of resolving it.
ARTIUM's Praxis programme started in January 2010 with the aim of offering a series of activities parallel and in addition to the exhibition programme. Praxis arose as an experimental laboratory and its characteristics relate to direct action and the Do It Yourself habit. Praxis has room for a heterogeneous series of projects the common denominator of which is an attitude inspired by the self managing spirit of the punk movement of the 70s.