There is a lot of past to go. Oroi

From: Friday, 21 September 2018

To: Sunday, 05 January 2020

Place: South Gallery

All collections are the memory of a time, representations of all that a civilisation deems valuable: its culture, its art, its technique, materials, identities, concepts...

«Time past and time future […] point to one end, which is always present». (T.S. Eliot in Four Quartets)

The exhibition entitled There is a lot of past to go. Oroi brings us face to face with the Artium Collection as an image of the multiple, complex memory of the present. Memory that constitutes us as people, that shapes language and representation, time and document, enigma and suspicion. The exhibition comprises near a hundred works from the Collection, analytical tools that deal with memory based on various social and cultural implications in its relationship with history, economy or power.

The starting point of the project is the need to analyse the intrinsic values of memory attached to these objects that we call works of art. How the richness of a collection is constructed and, in particular, how to maintain the complexity, intensity and enigma enclosed in this heritage in a context in which the various political, economic, cultural and leisure classes tend towards simplification and univocal discourse, thereby calling into question the system of values based on plurality, freedom of thought, knowledge and criticism.

OROI, “memory” in Basque, can be found at the etymological base of an extremely broad, open and plural semantic field. On the other hand, the subtitle, There is a lot of past to go, positions us in an indeterminate space of memory, the memory of a past, but located in a time to come. This indeterminacy undoubtedly leads us to another moment, neither past nor future, but the present, a present framed in complexity, in simultaneous, overlapping times.

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The exhibition has been divided into four sections, four speculations on the complexities of the present around memory.

Structure of memory. The nature of memory is questioned among the various layers of meaning of many of the works in the Collection. A complex present, an obsession with the past, the implicit palimpsest of history, discourses of identity or our anguish over a collapsing future are approaches that bring the concept of memory to the forefront. The simultaneousness of these various layers of memory, their physical and philosophical complexity, comprises the first part of the exhibition. Based on this perspective, works are presented that allude to the depths of memory, its rhizomatic capacity and its connection to a domestic emotional space linked to the daily management of memories.

Political memory. Narrations of history. Based on its link to the present, the debate on historical memory and the so-called “battle for the narrative” in our most immediate context have once again brought the concept of social political memory to the forefront, often leading to the imposition of a narrative in which none of us is able to see ourselves reflected. A dual approach is used to deal with this situation. On the one hand, using installations, with striking iconic correspondences of various memories in conflict, with the aim of underlining that which has often been kept hidden. On the other hand, with works whose meanings are open to multiple interpretations and using them to tackle the problematics of how ideologies shape our present.

Anti / Monuments and commemorations. The political uses of memory are varied and often tied to an official version of history that legitimises a specific power, community, nation or state. Monument, memorial and commemoration use a specific fact from the past and institutionalise it, establishing its interpretation so that it becomes unquestionable truth. This attitude would be subverted by the world of art through the creation of micro-histories or anti monuments, fragmented and unbalanced works. The proliferation of institutional spaces dedicated to exalting memory would find a response in distorted images and discordant sounds, works describing the present as an era of crumbling symbols and broken icons. These pieces are self-introductory, questioning social symbolic representations and demanding intimate spaces of interpellation and encounter because of their fragility, open to questioning, barely heroic, clearly anti monumental. Intimate memory as related to the museum, a temple of memory, is tackled in one of the main works of the exhibition by activating places of barter and exchange.

Melancholy vs nostalgia. Projecting potentialities. Mario Perniola establishes various periods in the West that depend on our relationship with the past, present and future. He points to three periods. One, until the French Revolution, which based its capacity to understand the present and future on a knowledge of the past. Another, from the capture of the Bastille to the 1960s, pre-eminently futuristic and leading to a dependence on both the past and our present of a future to come, always understood as a better time. And a final model, the now, in which the present acquires its hegemony, with simultaneousness and immediacy playing a predominant role. In it, the future collapses into uncertainty and an apocalyptic, uncritical and nostalgic view of the past is imposed, leading to re-enactments, copies, emulations, reinterpretations, tribute bands and fake patinas. As opposed to nostalgia, this section identifies a series of attitudes that find a state of consciousness in melancholy, critical of conventions and the current status quo, on standby, but with enormous potential in the search for new ways of being in the world. In these, various sensory discourses address values such as science or philosophy, ecology or sustainability.

As Albert Schultz pointed out, if history is information, memory is communication, which is completed in our relationship with the other, something that helps us to talk about experiences. A living, complex memory in the present and absolutely vital for constructing various future spaces.


Artists: Ignasi Aballí, Elena Aitzkoa, Vicente Ameztoy, José Ramón Amondarain, Guido Anderloni, Cecilia Andersson, Ibon Aranberri, Judas Arrieta, Txomin Badiola, Jordi Bernadó, Ramón Bilbao, Elena Blasco, Bleda y Rosa, Jacobo Castellano, Colectivo Cambalache, José Dávila, Jiri Georg Dokoupil, Pep Durán, Mirari Echávarri, Joan Fontcuberta, Susy Gómez, Abian González Francés, Eduardo Hurtado, Aldo Iacobelli, Carlos Irijalba, Iñaki Larrimbe, Abigail Lazkoz, Miki Leal, Mateo López, Isidro López Aparicio, Rogelio López Cuenca, Cristina Lucas, Mateo Maté, Asier Mendizabal, Elena Mendizabal, Haroon Mirza, Pedro Mora, Juan Luis Moraza, Moris, Antoni Muntadas, Jorge Oteiza, Benjamín Palencia, Alberto Peral, Javier Pérez, Txuspo Poyo, Concha Prada, Sergio Prego, Gonzalo Puch, Miguel Ángel Ríos, Pedro G. Romero, Francisco Ruiz de Infante, Ixone Sádaba, Ignacio Sáez, Avelino Sala, Fernando Sánchez Castillo, Olve Sande, Richard Serra, Adolfo Schlosser, José María Sicilia, Fernando Sinaga, Antoni Tàpies, Francesc Torres, Darío Urzay, Javier Vallhonrat, Joana Vasconcelos, Azucena Vieites, Darío Villalba, Robert Waters, B. Wurtz.

Works in exhibition  Leaflet  Opening programme  Listen to the exhibition's playlist at Spotify 

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