NEW BABYLON. WHETHER OR NOT TO DESCRIBE A WORK AS ART IS A TACTICAL DECISION
11.06.2021 – 26.09.2021
Curator: Valentín Roma and Cuauhtémoc Medina
Opening: Friday 11 June, 5 pm
This is the first retrospective exhibition of the artistic career of Marcelo Expósito (Puertollano, 1966). It unites his early published and video works, from the first half of the 1980s; his research into the visual imaginaries of the Franco regime, done in the 1990s; his inquiries into the grammars of social movements, from the first decade of this century, and several novel projects, done on the occasion of this exhibition.
Developed as a co-production with the Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporáneo (MUAC) at the UNAM (Mexico City), the Luis Seoane Foundation in A Coruña and the Casa de Iberoamérica in Cádiz, this exhibition is the first retrospective on the artistic career of Marcelo Expósito (Puertollano, 1966).
The exhibition covers four decades of creative and activist practice, during which Expósito has generated a very heterogeneous body of work, where the theoretical conception is inseparable from the formal materialisation. The artist uses not only aesthetic but also critical, philosophical, literary and dramatic, historiographical and political references, translated into production models that incorporate a pedagogical dimension.
From his first editorial and videographic work, produced in the early 1980s, to his research on the visual imaginaries of the Franco regime, dating back to the 1990s; from his in-depth investigation of the social movements of the 2000s to his most recent pieces, some of them never before seen―such as Dulces sueños de una vida mejor. Mentiras historiográficas, traiciones éticas y desastres políticos cometidos por el espectáculo de un régimen democrático neoliberal y monárquico contra una memoria histórica que se resiste a dormir en la paz de las cunetas (2021) [Sweet dreams of a better life. Historiographical lies, ethical betrayals and political disasters committed by the spectacle of a neoliberal and monarchical democratic regime against a historical memory that has refused to remain peacefully slumbering by the side of the road], or others that are appearing for the first time in a museum setting, such as the audio piece La pandemia en germinal. Una elegía global de la cuarentena. Parte 1: Los cuerpos que faltan [The pandemic in Germinal. A global elegy of quarantine. Part 1: The missing bodies] (2020) and the documentary compilations Nueva Babilonia revisitada. Reconstruyendo la esfera pública democrática [New Babylon. Reconstructing the democratic public sphere] (2021) and El precio del progreso. Contrahistorias y críticas de la modernización [The price of progress. Counterhistories and critiques of modernization] (2021), the project is articulated around three different devices, which work like a conceptual triptych. The first is the exhibition, which presents 54 pieces dating from 1982 to the present. The second is a book, conceived expressly for the retrospective, that compiles nine theoretical essays by Luis Ignacio García, Brian Holmes, Ana Longoni, Isabell Lorey, Cuauhtémoc Medina, Gerald Raunig, Valentín Roma, Jean-Christophe Royoux and the artist himself, along with a large amount of documentary material and explanatory texts dealing with the various projects on display. And, finally, a digital retrospective of Expósito’s film work, organized by FICUNAM (UNAM’s International Film Festival) in March 2021, in collaboration with the UNAM Film Library, and available for the duration of the exhibition at https://www.filmoteca.unam.mx/retrospectiva-marcelo-exposito/; compiling 25 films organised into nine thematic blocks, with presentations by Ileana Diéguez, Anna Manubens, Ane Rodríguez and Alfredo Ruiz, among others.
In co-production with: