Carmen // Shakespeare. Omens of desire

From: Friday, 26 January 2018

To: Tuesday, 01 May 2018

Place: North Gallery

An exhibition labyrinth by Olga Mesa and Francisco Ruiz de Infante

Notes on the global project Carmen // Shakespeare (2012-2018)

The Carmen // Shakespeare project is the result of a dialogue between two artists aiming to establish a mix of various artistic territories in order to shape a multifaceted object that can generate stories: a contemporary opera?
Confronting the sonority of Shakespeare’s Love Sonnets with the passion found in the opera Carmen by Bizet, the duo of Infante-Mesa proposes a “baroque” force (in the true sense of the word): the force of an imperfect pearl that, revolving around the subject of desire, provokes, reflects and makes some knots explicit.

The artists are presenting a global vision of this puzzle in Artium. Thus, the Carmen // Shakespeare: Omens of Desire exhibition stirs up accumulated energies by establishing bridges between the performing, plastic, literary and audiovisual arts.

Notes on the exhibition

He says: This is not a simulacrum; probably not an exhibition either...
She says: Perhaps it is “an experience”. Is that why everyone is a little nervous?
He says: Maybe! What about you?
She says: Are you coming?
He says: There?

Spaces – Times: Well-assumed misunderstandings

Carmen // Shakespeare: Omens of Desire is a hybrid proposal that addresses issues revolving around love and human relationships when they are amplified, gagged, clouded or even generated by technology.

The exhibition constructs a major mythical, poetic, everyday story. Presented as a highly “dramatised” spatial and temporal unfolding, it will be activated in a performative manner on several occasions, proposing quotations in which the notion of “here and now” will be questioned.

Ideas about desire, trust, freedom and power relationships unfold over the 20 stages of the exhibition route. These will be amplified thanks to some problems of translation and the fascinating polysemy of words, sounds and images when confronted by gesture (in front of and behind the camera): love?

“In Carmen // Shakespeare we are showing in a kaleidoscopic manner how our age is penetrated by technologies that control our bodies and our images. What we are showing here is how these same technologies (trap, opportunity and barrier) authorise new relationships of power, seduction, fear, desire, fascination, incomprehension, complicity, jealousy, passion… love?”

“I love you more than my own indecisiveness” (freely quoted from a sonnet by William Shakespeare)

“If you don’t love me, I’ll love you… But if I love you, you’d better beware!” (Carmen, Bizet-Mérimée)

You’ll follow me there! Where? (Routes, strolls, meanderings, wanderings…)

The idea of an initiatory journey is not new to this project. The different spaces, sounds, objects, texts and images propose displacements within a “labyrinth of gadgets”: this almost endless “Stock of experiences” that the artists have been gradually devising. Shows, videos, installations, performances and workshops have been some of the “forms of Carmen // Shakespeare” produced and disseminated since the end of 2012 in Europe, South America and North Africa.

Taking very much into account the figure of the visitor (his or her body, movements, memory), the exhibition invites us to experience a paradox: if we are apparently confronted with a guided adventure (thanks to a large floor plan with specific territories organising and separating thematic areas), we will quickly be able to feel that this floor plan is an excuse that helps us to become lost in a complex organism. An enigma?

Dotted by a great deal of relatively “suspicious” signs, our journey through the exhibition will provoke shadows, lights, images, reflections and sounds so that we can negotiate with the time of the visit by being incited to accelerate, go backwards or take a contemplative break.

The Areas

The exhibition has divided the space into 4 disordered yet interconnected thematic areas corresponding to the 4 times that have enabled the pulse of the Carmen // Shakespeare project.

Area 1: Seduction Machine // Area 2: Conflict Machine (Crash-Test) // Area 3: Drift Machine (of Resistance?) // Area 4: Death Machine

The “gutted machines” of Carmen // Shakespeare never cease to suggest images and sounds by superimposing times. The machine modifies perceptual hierarchies, generates circuit breakers and transforms scales. The machines amplify the brightness of certain reflections and the depth of all shadows. Faced with this –at each moment and in each displacement– the body must reaffirm its uniqueness and freedom. This body must, paradoxically, refuse to be an object (of desire?) faced with all these technologies that enable it to exist.

Each area unfolds in the Museum by means of a large central installation and several scattered antennas: “Attics”, as places of memory in a paused state; “Stock”, as a place in which all references and objects of the creative process could be reactivated; “Models”, spaces in which the notion of physical and metaphorical scale is put into crisis; “Cinemas”, in which reconstituted memories and dialogues of the deaf are activated in a loop, and “Falsely symmetrical offices.”

An expanded dramaturgy / an orchestration of sound spaces. Near? Far? Visible? Invisible?

Welcome to a fragmentary story. Our movements will generate nears and fars, visible and invisible areas. It is our displacements that will lead to dynamism and the mix of the thematic elements of the exhibition score.

This labyrinth offers an adventure of unidentified threats, for aren’t we living in a world sustained by the anguish of an uncertain future?

Come in and see; freedom can be found within!

Carmen // Shakespeare. Presagios del deseo (versión reducida) from Artium on Vimeo.

Opening program

Gallery at Flickr

Carmen // Shakespeare project's site 

Project's directors: Enrique Martínez Goikoetxea and Hors Champ

Image Gallery

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