NEW EDITION OF THE LOOP FESTIVAL BARCELONA

NEW EDITION OF THE LOOP FESTIVAL BARCELONA

The LOOP festival Barcelona is a unique platform dedicated exclusively to the study and promotion of contemporary artistic practices based on the moving image. This year the fair celebrates its 15th edition, from May 15 LOOP has transformed the center of Barcelona into a great showcase of video art. With the aim of making the Catalan city a space for discovering contemporary creative strategies and creating an occasion for interaction between the participants, the fair has presented an extensive program that had 150 art spaces, creative centers and reflection platforms. For the 10 days of the fair, the city brought together curators, artists, galleries, museum directors and other fairs, many collectors showed great interest in observing the audiovisual creations presented in LOOP. Under the commissariat of Eugeni Bonet and Antoni Mercader, 45 works belonging to artists from 28 different nationalities have been presented at the last edition of the fair. Also, three of the LOOP Fair artists are present at the current edition of the Venice Biennale, such as: Sasha Pirogova, with the Triangle GalleryMarcos Ávila Forero, with double premiere at LOOP, Galerie Dohyang Lee and ADN Gallery; And Mohau Modisakeng, with Ron Mandos.

This year the festival recovers great forgotten works due to the fast evolution of this format to be able to interpret the current audiovisual production. In this way there was an idea to highlight the protagonists of the great creators of the genre of the 60s, 70s and 80s of the 20th century. Among many, we can point out the monographic exhibitions of the key figures of the time, such as Andy Warhol with Silver Songs, a set of more than sixty covers that cover the history of popular music of the second half of the twentieth century and the most significant moments of the artist. Martha Rosler, Antoni Miralda, Robert Cahen or Tony Oursler will provide a broad overview of the multiple uses of video since its inception.

Apart from the exhibitions in different places of the city, that arrive until L’Hospitalet and occupy more than 80 spaces, also the projection of different films, documentaries and clips were highlighted. Projections have been made in the auditorium of MACBA, Zumzeig Cinema, as well as the space Diogenes-creative, or the auditorium of the CCCB, as is the case, the concert – screening of the Brothers Quay, it is a combination of avant-garde animation stop-motion, puppets and actors “The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka” that united great number of people.

Year by year, LOOP Festival and LOOP Talks are celebrated as a prelude to the fair. This edition included the workshops, as well as talks and discussions, and the most theoretical conferences were held within LOOP Studies. This edition is focused on the contemporary archeology of video through videotaped, a discussion forum that wants to offer a current reading of the early years of the creation of the video.

The event took place on 25 and 26 May at the Hotel Catalonia Ramblas. Perhaps the space of the fair is one of the elements that sets you apart from other similar events. The hotel rooms have been transformed into screening rooms, creating a relaxed and intimate atmosphere.

Marcos Ávila Forero - Un Pechiche para Benkos - 2017 Galeria-ADN LOOP-FAIR-2017

Marcos Ávila Forero, participant of the main exhibition of the Venice Biennale, “Viva Arte Viva”, this year was exhibited by two Galleries Dohyang Lee of Paris and one of the main halls of Barcelona ADN Gallery. The stand of the Catalan gallery like other years attracted great amount of passionate of the world of the visual art. Under the title Un pechiche para Benkos, Marcos Ávila Forero debuts one of his most recent projects, exploring the format and medium as a text, a platform to produce different historiographic accounts in a place where both postcolonialism and neo-imperialism coexist coexist, Colombia. Throughout the video we find different times, on the one hand, a clandestine modern migrant, Camara Mwa Abdallaye, hidden in a cayuco  –a fishing boat– trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea. On the other hand, Benkos Biohó, dead in 1622, a runaway slave, leader of the first Colombian emancipation movement, chained in a slave ship. Though it appears the words talk about music, soon we realize they talk about the boats’ framings. Said Abdallaye that, inside the boat, in quietude, the sound of the waves crashing transformed the boat into an enormous sound box; the sound that Biayenda’s tapping recreates. The strength of the pechiche is, precisely, to place its audience in a trance through the incessant tapping, and tell a story. And that trance, at the same time, responds to the story of these two characters, which are merged into a single narrative. In the stream where the self and the other dissolve in time and space, memory embraces us at the hypnotic sound of ten fingers.

Another video to highlight is Sasha Pirogova represented by Triangle Gallery of Moscow. Queue, 2014, is based on Vladimir Sorokin‘s novel “Queue” (1983), “a bizarrely funny saga of a quintessential Russian institution, the interminably long line” (NYT, 2011).

Creating an absurdist choreography of hysterics, dependence and clanship, Pirogova takes pains to replay the text through dance to identify the queue as not a physical but a contemporary psycho-social condition. The project occupies a special place within Pirogova’s practice: it is the first time she engages in a sort of screen adaptation of a novel and it is also the only film to use text. The flow of redundant chatter within the collective mind of the doomed is structured by the artist as a march with elements of tango. What is desired is void, and what is real is fragile, unstable. The Queue by Sasha Pirogova is a loop leaving no way to consciously get out and break up.

The text, though belonging to a particular epoch, is cleared from references to the historical circumstances. Recreating the fragments of Vladimir Sorokin’s novel of the same name that portrays the Soviet times of the scarce supplies of food and goods in the mid-eighties are accompanying the ritual movement within an infinite loop. We can say that Queue represents a whole time, based on a situation that, on the one hand, has been far in the past, on the other, always remains current, the artist criticizes mass consumption and according to Valentin Diaconov makes a metaphor of collective martyrdom where most mundane things come to be the symbols of passions.

A The great find for all was a beautiful and powerful video from Croatia made by Renata PoljakKranjčar Gallery (Zagreb). Renata is an artist with a great personality and an exceptional visual delicacy, in her works uses the most modern technology to approach sociopolitical issues and the problems of the new visuality, makes art socially committed that strives to be conceptual and radical has also appropriated the narration. Under the title Partenza premieres the video that represents the theme of the global insecurity of contemporary society and the fragility of human existence. Metaphorically tells a story about departure, anticipation and separation, dictated by migrations. The theme of the project is the story of the life of Renata’s great-grandmother who lived on the island of Brač and whose husband went to Chile to find work to secure the future of his family. Like many of the women on the island, she waited for her husband who, like many of those men, never returned. At the same time we can treat it as a tribute to the contemporary tragedies of migrants at sea. The artist uses this phenomenon as a thread and a reminder of the history of her city not so long ago, and even today, we are in the same boat.

At the beginning of the work women appear with typical of the Croatian islands clothing of the beginning of the last century. The very action happens in a loop of sorts, using repetitions that silently evoke permanence and the tension of anticipation. This is highlighted through the coexistence and juxtaposition of frames of Bol’s lunar-like seashore and the distant contours of mountains that encompass the dark and fearsome surface of the sea. The culmination of the film is the suicide by drowning of a woman who lost all hope, which the artist represented by shifting from black and white to color. The blackness of the sea bottom, which just a couple of scenes earlier was dappled by broken sun rays (like the Holy Spirit lights up St Theresa in Bernini’s Baroque sculptural group), is now bathed in an endless sea blue. From underneath the sea, fluttering like Baroque draperies, pieces of contemporary clothing emerge, gradually sinking. And so symbolically the Bol seashore becomes the undersea of Lesbos or Lampedusa. With this, the author leaves a mark of equivalence between the past and the present, and at the same time relativizes reality and illusion.

Finally, Galería Juana de Aizpuru presents this year the video of Cristina Lucas“Touch and go”, realized for the Biennial of Liverpool and carried out by old inhabitants of this city, that has touched to live the fall of the Industrial Society and Beginning of the Post Industrial Society.

The video represents the abandoned and ruined building, the act of claiming to throw stones was performed this time as the aesthetic gesture against construction. Through this intervention, his performance is already inscribed in the new system, that of “cultural production”. Touch and go, first, is a remembrance of activism against capitalism. Secondly, it integrates her protagonists into a new phase of global society; as she herself points out, this is the section of society that acts as a hinge into the new economic order: that of entertainment. Through this stylised rock-throwing, this generation links to and is integrated within the system of cultural production.

 

Polina Torbina

Specialist in contemporary art, graduated in History of Art by the Complutense University of Madrid and in Advertising and Public Relations by RANEPA of Moscow.

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