Young Curators Residency Programme
Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao, Seville and Málaga
The Young Curators Residency Programme (YCRP) from the Sandretto Re Rebaudengo’s Foundation consists of an intensive research residency in Spain that has the dual objective of developing the professional and critical skills of the young curators selected, while aiming at spreading knowledge of the Spanish art scene on an international level.
The residency provides the opportunity for the three selected candidates to get in contact and work with Spanish artists. The in-depth research process, which sees the curators visiting numerous artists’ studios, museums and art institutions across Spain, culminates in an exhibition that in this edition is titled Desengaño and can be visited at the gallery Anselma of the Ateneo of Madrid from the 8th of June to the 6th of July.
Gabriel Alonso, Álvaro Chior, Paula García-Masedo, Mónica Mays, Sergio Pradana, Víctor Santamarina
Desengaño is a Spanish word lacking a direct, one-word equivalent in English. It points to a state of disillusionment where one finds the ability to control one’s hopes and fears, by overcoming deceitful appearances and vanity. Departing from the idea of the Spanish baroque writer Baltasar Gracián, it encourages us to seek a form of enlightenment, an awareness of our own surroundings, but also the in-between areas of society at large.
In El Criticón, Gracián takes us to desengaño through the discourse of the two opposing characters Critilo (the man of reason) and Andreino (the man of nature). The dialogue between the two protagonists paints a satirical picture of society specific to Gracián’s present; the hypocrisy of the Spanish State, the church and the monarchy, but within this play on words we also find timeless critique: our neglect of nature, egoism, and the immense class differences that seem inevitable in any society. Revealed to us is a vital pessimistic approach that resonates now, just as much, if not even more than 17th century Spain. In a time where we are constantly faced with crisis, we find ourselves in a place of disappointment and fatigue; where do we even begin if we are to mend this detrimental system?
Just as the conversations between Critilo and Andreino, the works presented in Desengaño engage in an exchange of thoughts that extend beyond interpersonal relationships. Exhausted by excess and violence inherent in class, nature or language, the invited artists twist symbols of power through materialities that they decompose, merge or temporarily capture.Their process is timid, slow, and silent, and serves as a contrast to common (mis)conceptions of progress and growth. When faced with a bleak future, we might not aim forward but shift our focus towards other directions. Is it possible to move backwards without regressing?
Starting from small yet significant gestures, the works of the six invited artists all embody a will to (re)vitalise vernacular stories and narratives related to materialities. We delve into different crevices, tangible absences that speak of neglected or peripheral areas of knowledge production. What we encounter is robust but fragile, just as the materials of the works of the exhibition – from rosin, that can survive a million years, to espejuelo (specular stone) that despite its appearance will crack under gentle pressure.
In their works, Mónica Mays and Víctor Santamarina embrace cracks and decompositions as tactical tools. They both use discarded domestic objects, silent witnesses of class and decadent social rituals, turned into shape shifting hybrids. Retracing histories that affirm places of absence is equally relevant to the works of Sergio Pradana and Paula García-Masedo. Here, materials specific to areas near Madrid are transformed by intimate gestures of foraging and accumulating as a way to revisit childhood landscapes, marked by the passage of time. Similarly, an awareness but also reconsideration of our relationship with the natural realm is specific to the practice of Gabriel Alonso. His work aims to demystify and emancipate the natural world from the connotations given by humans through language. This interest is shared by Álvaro Chior, who questions linguistic excess and constant textualization of life, bypassing one-directional storytelling. He redirects our focus towards whispers, soft and slippery sounds that liberate desires.
Collectively, the works in the exhibition offer a polyphony directed towards given truths, while remaining attentive to their porous nature. In this manner they, like Gracian’s novel, offer us a detour, or a retour, an invitation to think beyond the immediate; not only criticize the unfairness we perceive, but also to affirm the potentiality of uncertainty.
The three participating curators are:
Lovro Japundžić is a curator and producer based in Zagreb, Croatia. He currently works as a co-director at Miroslav Kraljevic Gallery (GMK), an independent and non-profit art platform and gallery.
Una Mathiesen Gjerde is a producer, editor, and curator based in Oslo, Norway. She is currently the director of the artist association and exhibition space BO, The Association of Visual Artists Oslo.
Mijoo Park is an independent curator and researcher based in Seoul, South Korea. She’s been organizing the discursive platform the Bul-teok. Previously she managed the RAT school of ART, a self-directed artist-run school (2014-2021).
hablarenarte’s team has been selected to mediate this programme, coordinate the exhibition, and work alongside the three curators while in Spain.