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Tracey Rose presents a previously unseen project at Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid
View of the exhibition Tracey Rose (X). Photo: Joaquin Cortes/Roman Lores. Archivo fotografico del Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, 2014.
MADRID.- The previously unseen project (x) by Tracey Rose (b. 1974, Durban, South Africa), is the first to be realized in Spain by this artist. The show consists of a videoinstallation in Es­pacio Uno and the creation in the Sala de Bóvedas, in the basements of the Sabatini Building, of an environment of enveloping energy based on luminous, acoustic and chro­matic pieces.

Espacio Uno, the first area of the exhibition, contains a vid­eo resulting from a performance that took place in the Mu­seum and at various places around the city of Madrid. Rose, together with various unclassifiable and marginal charac­ters, drifts about in an aimless flânerie that connects the city center with the outlying suburbs during the passage from night to day. In the video, Rose maintains her DIY aes­thetic, similar to that of the millions of films which saturate YouTube every day. The strange atrezzo of this experience, somewhere between theatre and tourism, is precariously installed in the room as ruinous physical evidence of the event. The characters take part in a carnivalesque subver­sion, a simulacrum. A case in point is the artist’s body, the object of public exhibition, displaying its nudity while at the same time hiding itself behind a prosthesis. This refers us to one of her creative interests, which is an oblique view of the principles of feminism and a concern with the public role of woman’s body.

The videoinstallation is underscored by a mantra-like soundtrack which repeats J. Krishnamurti’s maxim that “it is not a sign of good health to be well adapted to a profound­ly sick society”. Such appears to be the slogan brandished by these outsiders during their peripatetic drift through a city converted into a space of Babylonian delirium, with a declaration of solitary victory in front of the statue of Cy­bele, the city’s maternal figure, who represents not only the matriarchal order but also fertility and excess. The symbolic center of the city is thus taken by the freakish, the strange or the alien, which returns at dawn to its margins.

Rose’s voice reverberates graphically in the Sala de Bóvedas, where a huge mandala created out of powered stones turns out to be an invitation to catharsis. The physicality of the video seems to vanish, giving way to an asceticism resting on sounds of nature. This hall is marked by a dark past, for it had various functions in the old hospital of San Carlos. Para­doxically, its vitiated air inspires a change of direction in the artist’s work from the corporal to the contemplative and spir­itual. Influenced by her experience of motherhood, she has converted the space, covered by a fiberglass dome, into a pro­tective belly that provides refuge for anyone who inhabits it.

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