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The 15th edition of LOOP Barcelona pays tribute to the pioneers of video art
Chip Lord, 'Media Burn', 1975 Copyright © The artist.

BARCELONA.- The benchmark international moving image festival LOOP Barcelona will be celebrating its 15th anniversary from 18 to 27 May 2017 with a programme paying tribute to the pioneers of video art. The idea is to propose a revisionist slant on video art through a broad gamut of activities, including exhibitions, installations, screenings, performances and conferences. It will also recover some great works that have been sidelined by the format’s rapid evolution, for the purpose of accurately interpreting current audiovisual production, among others. This year the schedule will extend to other venues in Barcelona and environs, some of them as unusual as the Avinguda de la Llum Cinema, the basement of Carrer Pelai and the Oretigosa parking garage.

Reviewing the Past in Order to Understand the Present and Future
The protagonists of this year’s festival are the leading creators of the genre in the 1960s, 70s and 80s. Highlights include installations and screenings by such artists as Eugènia Balcells, David Hall, Beryl Korot, Chip Lord, Mary Lucier, Antoni Muntadas, Nam June Paik, Carles Pujol, Steina and Woody Vasulka, and Peter Weibel, as well as monographic exhibitions dedicated to such key figures as Andy Warhol (with The Music of Andy Warhol, a set of over sixty record covers from 1949 to 1987 showcasing the history of pop music in the second half of the 20th century and the artist’s most significant moments), Martha Rosler (acclaimed for her videos, photo-texts, performances, installations and art and culture critique), Tony Oursler (a pioneering multimedia artist), Antoni Miralda (renowned for his large-format installations embodying a non-conformist, festive, ornate and kitsch language conjoining art and life), and Robert Cahen (a famous video artist, photographer and composer). Together they will be offering a broad panorama of the myriad uses to which video has been put since its inception.

The event provides a great opportunity for reviewing the work of the pioneers of videographic practices in Spain in the exhibition, “(Re)viewed, (re)visited”, slated for the Arts Santa Mònica. Reviewing, revisiting and rereading the work of Antoni Muntadas, Eugènia Balcells and Carles Pujol from a contemporary perspective enables the spectator to reappraise the value of the oeuvre that has become part of this country’s videoartistic heritage.

The endeavour to reclaim key video works and events on the Spanish scene will also involve recreating the first piece of video art in Spain, Primera mort (1969), by the collective, Jardí del Maduixer, made up of Jordi Galí, Sílvia Gubern, Àngel Jové and Antoni Llena. In a similar vein, the Exhibition of Experimental Videos, originally hosted at the Festival de la Mercè in 1984, which focused on the new artistic practices derived from the advent of television and video recording and included the work of internationally acclaimed artists such as Joan Logue, Michel Jaffrennou and Patrick Bousquet.

Additionally, this look back at the past is rounded off by two other projects – the digitisation of over 70 Spanish video art documents from 1973 to 1990, and the publication of a book, Video Writings by Artists, a compilation of texts by artists regarded as foundational in the history of video art, notably Peter Campus, Douglas Davis, Jon Dovey, David Hall, Antoni Muntadas, Nam June Paik, Martha Rosler, Bill Viola and Peter Weibel, among others.

Further, the main section is complemented by a number of cinema and screening programmes which point up some defining moments in the history of video. Noteworthy are works by such groundbreaking artists as Barbara Aronofsky, Lynda Benglis, Hermin Freed, Suzanne Lacy, Susan Mogul and Linda Montano, sourced from the American Video Data Bank collection, the selection of award-winning videos from the second Sant Sebastián Video Festival (1983) and the marathon dedicated to video performances by Paul McCarthy.

The film cycles also include Preàmbuls. Cinema I Transició/ns, by Luis Miñarro, and the fourth edition of Comment ça va?, curated by Pascale Cassagnau, a collaborative endeavour between LOOP and the CNAP, Paris.

This year’s Festival programme includes the curatorial consultancy of Eugeni Bonet and Antoni Mercader – an artist and historian, respectively – both prominent scholars of the history of audiovisual art and new media in Spain and coauthors of En torno al vídeo (1980), the first Spanish publication devoted to these formats.

Beyond the Festival – LOOP Fair and LOOP Talks
Year after year, LOOP Barcelona brings together international artists, gallerists, collectors, curators, representatives of institutions, critics and researchers closely linked to images in movement at the LOOP Fair. Here, the major lines of critical thought and research are laid down through a selection of 45 videos and films curated by the Fair committee. LOOP Fair will be hosted from 25 to 26 May at the Hotel Catalonia Ramblas (Pelai, 28. Barcelona) which is transformed for the occasion each year.

LOOP Talks, a programme of talks and conferences, will be held in parallel with LOOP Fair. This year spotlights contemporary video archaeology within the framework of Videotaped, a conversation forum which sets out to promote a contemporary reading of early video creation. Acclaimed pioneer artists from Europe and America, notably Steina and Woody Vasulka, Muntadas, Mary Lucier, Beryl Korot and Chip Lord will be talking to curators from younger generations with the aim of setting up critical, formal connections between past and present, as well as advocating a review of video history, among other things.

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