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¡Únete! Join Us!, a work by Jordi Colomer presented at the Spanish Pavilion
Official opening of the 2015 Spanish Pavilion, courtesy Claudio Franzini.

VENICE.- Artist Jordi Colomer and curator Manuel Segade are representing Spain at the 57th International Art Exhibition - La Biennale di Venezia.

¡Únete! Join Us! invites visitors to become participants in an exploration of nomadism and collective agency.

Transhumance, wanderings, journeyings, strayings, displacement: these themes are key to ¡Únete! Join Us!, whose reference point is rooted in urban utopias that use movement as part of a radical rethinking of social imagination.

Marking a return to his early sculptural and theatrical interest, Jordi Colomer’s exhibition at Pavilion of Spain is conceived as an installation of installations. Precarious sculptures and transitory architectures form a theatre within the pavilion, encompassing its audience as they walk through the space and turning them into actors, mobilising the space with their presence. The installations offer a path via several video narratives; a journey of occasions, unexpected encounters, playful improvisations and collective gestures that reveal how a community turns an urban landscape into a potential site for exchange, capable of affecting reality.

“The city is something that needs to be moving,” notes curator Manuel Segade. “a contemporary urban landscape represents displacement and various themes involving movement - political, social and physical - while also moving between the public and the personal.”

The fictional premise of the video pieces involve a group of people moving across different sites, exploring the semantics of displacement. An abandoned racetrack, an emergency trailer park, tourism-spoiled landscapes through the Mediterranean’s coastal areas and other spaces exclusively repurposed in detail to imitate preexisting locations. These decidedly low-resource settings are a reflection on the uncertainty and ambivalence of a mobile, unstable, border-crossing citizenry.

Suspended between a portable pavilion and a wanderer's wagon, a moveable contraption connects the spaces via an itinerary that conjures a Kafkaesque Babel where nomadic motion becomes linguistic commotion, a vernacular displacement inflecting and translating the activities of a de-territorialized community. Colomer’s community could be seen as a poetical occupation of a utopia under construction.

Spain has always played a prominent role in the history of the Biennale Arte di Venezia. Its pavilion in the Giardini was designed in 1922 by Javier De Luque and renovated in 1952 by Joaquin Vaquero Palacios.

Since 1950, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation has been directly responsible for coordinating the country’s exhibitions in the Spanish Pavilion, and, throughout this time, it has strived to promote Spain’s rich artistic heritage and talent. Acción Cultural Española (AC/E - Spains’s Public Agency for Cultural Action) has been involved in the support of contemporary creation at the Biennale Arte di Venezia, both in the production of the Spanish Pavillion and in the international selection. Amongst the hundreds of artists invited to exhibit and intervene in the Pavilion, there are Chillida, Tapiès, Susana Solano, Santiago Sierra, and most recently, Barceló, Dora García and Lara Almárcegui.

A recognized contemporary Spanish artist renowned for his contributions to the field of video installation art in Europe, Jordi Colomer (Barcelona, 1962) is an influential part of the generation that renewed the visual and plastic arts in Spain at the end of the 90s. His work explores the possibilities of the exhibition space as a public space; the street as a stage; the work as a situation and the public as a character. The variety of mediums present in Jordi Colomer's work are connected to his education as architect, artist and art historian in progressive 1980s' Barcelona. In 1993, Colomer began to fuse his sculptural work with elements of theatre staging and architectural references, and from this point, video became the main mediator between the artist’s relationship with performance art, theatre and sculpture. Colomer's current staged investigations, or journey-works, allow him to explore different concepts of social life (neighbourhoods, streets, deserts, rooftops) where movement consistently reappears, and the isolated actions of a character reflect, often with an absurd sense of humour, on the possibilities of poetic survival offered by the contemporary metropolis. Colomer’s work is held in numerous museums and collections, including Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; MUMOK, Vienna; and MACBA, Barcelona. He is represented by Galerie Michel Rein, Paris; Galería Juana de Aizpuru, Madrid; and Meessen De Clercq, Brussels.

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