Opening of the second part of 'Amikejo' with Iratxe Jaio & Klaas van Gorkum, Laboratorio 987, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León (MUSAC), León, Spain.

Opening: Saturday 9 April, 5pm. On view until 12 June 2011.


Iratxe Jaio & Klaas van Gorkum, 'Cigar Box', 2010. Courtesy of the artists.

Throughout 2011 Latitudes is the guest curator of the exhibition season at MUSAC's Laboratorio 987, titled 'Amikejo'. The series is structured around relational and spatial twinning and presents the work of four collaborative couples, involving various modes of binomial friendships – couples in life, dedicated duos, intermittent work partners, as well as new allies.

The series encompasses a further register of doubling prompted by the relation with a specific remote location: Amikejo. In 1908, the territory then known as Neutral Moresnet located between the Netherlands, Belgium and Prussia, proclaimed itself to be the world's first Esperanto state becoming 'Amikejo' ('place of great friendship' in Esperanto). The association of the exhibition series to 'Amikejo' not only implicates the spatial functions of the ‘neutral’ spaces of art and the special characteristics of museum project spaces, yet also establishes a similitude with the desire to institute a shared and effective means of communication, between participants and with the world.

The first exhibition presented a new production by the Neapolitan duo Pennacchio Argentato, which included a group of rough 'muscular' sculptures. Together with poster images of former bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger and a structure of metal bars, the space evoked an unreceptive gymnasium in which an abstract body was called upon to perform and exhibit itself.


Photo: Courtesy the artists

For the second chapter of the 'Amikejo' exhibition series, Rotterdam-based artists Iratxe Jaio and Klaas van Gorkum present a project around the changing values of labour and property, examining alternative personal and political readings of common cultural heritage. As the artists have explained, “Klaas’s grandfather belonged to a generation for whom ‘free time’ should be spent doing something productive. When he retired from work, he had his former colleagues at the factory weld together a lathe for him, so that he could take up woodturning. In old age, he was able to augment his modest pension by selling the products of his hobby to the community that formed his social network at that time. When he died, he left his son a cigar box filled with magazine clippings, sketches and blueprints of different objects made by turning wood, with the idea that it might come in handy some day.”


Photo: Courtesy the artists

Jaio and van Gorkum have taken the contents of this box as the point of departure for a conceptual and reflexive exploration of the notion of artistic production. During the previous year they have been tracing what is left of the legacy of Gorkum’s grandfather, Jos van Gorkum (1911–1996), locating almost eighty items in the homes of an extended network of family, friends and former neighbours across the Netherlands. A selection of around thirty of these handcrafted artefacts – including candlestick holders, bowls, lamp bases, stands for houseplants and gavels – have been borrowed from their owners to be displayed in the exhibition at MUSAC, and are shown alongside photographs of these objects in their original home environment. The artists were also able to recuperate the original machine on which they were made, and have put it back into operation. Documenting their steps on video as they went along, they have been carrying out a series of woodturning experiments, connecting their physical actions as artists (and professional dilettantes) to the productivity of the retired factory worker. The results of these experiments will be incorporated into the installation at the Laboratorio 987.


Photo: Courtesy the artists


Working collectively since 2001, Iratxe Jaio & Klaas van Gorkum have worked with film, actions, publications, and installations to create projects that explore the agency of individuals and communities in the context of particular social and political climates. Several of their projects have addressed the phenomena of planned housing and satellite towns in Spain. Marcha Zombi Barakaldo (2008) was an action in a shopping mall in such an urbanised area in the Basque country in which local residents dressed as zombies – emphatically soulless beings unable to integrate into the social fabric – and formed a parade that mingled with customers. For Plaatselijke verordening (Local ordinance) (2010) the artists located six of the wooden billboards which are erected by the city of Rotterdam each time there are local elections to be used as surfaces for political postering. Having replaced them with new structures, and transferred the old ones into an exhibition venue, they showed documentation of the territorial and pictorial struggle that had taken place as rival parties deployed their posters in a bid to win publicity.

Iratxe Jaio (born Markina-Xemein, Basque Country, 1976) & Klaas van Gorkum (born Delft, the Netherlands, 1975). Live and work in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Solo projects include Quédense dentro y cierren las ventanas / Stay inside. Close windows and doors, produced by consonni, Bilbao, and the municipality of Utrecht (2008); Let me hold your hand, Centre for Visual Introspection, Bucharest (2008) and Meanwhile, in the living room..., Centro Cultural Montehermoso, Vitoria-Gasteiz. Group exhibitions include The People United Will Never Be Defeated, TENT Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam (2010); Gure Artea 2008, Sala Rekalde, Bilbao (2008); Wij waren in Overvecht / We were in Overvecht, Centraal Museum, Utrecht (2008) and Radiodays, De Appel, Amsterdam (2005).

Forthcoming 'Amikejo' exhibitions: Uqbar Foundation (Mariana Castillo Deball & Irene Kopelman) (25 June–11 September), and Fermín Jiménez Landa & Lee Welch (24 September 2011–15 January 2012)


'Amikejo' is partly supported of the Mondriaan Foundation, Amsterdam.


Photo: Courtesy the artists


Read MUSAC's press release or download Press images.

For further information please contact Paula Álvarez at [email protected] or Izaskun Sebastián at [email protected]


MUSAC | Avenida de los Reyes Leoneses, 24 | 24008 León | SPAIN | MAP


About Latitudes

Latitudes is a Barcelona-based [41º23’ N, 2º 11’ E] independent curatorial office initiated in April 2005 by Max Andrews and Mariana Cánepa Luna. Latitudes collaborates with artists and institutions in the conception, organisation and production of exhibitions, public commissions, conferences, editorial and research initiatives across local, pan-European and international situations. Latitudes is part of Plataforma Curatorial and Hangar Programming Committee (2010–12). In 2010 Latitudes was awarded the inaugural curatorial prize GAC given by the Catalan gallery association. (+ info...)

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