Report from the 2013 congress of the International Association of Curators of Contemporary Art (IKT) in Madrid, 18–21 April
"Curating Value", the topic of this year's symposium organised by Brussels-based independent curator Zoë Gray, included the participation of Barnabás Bencsik (the recently forced-out director of the Ludwig Museum in Budapest), French artist Pierre Bismuth, Spanish curator and consultant María de Corral, London-based curator and theorist Dr. Simon Sheikh and Greek artist and Athens Biennial co-director, Poka-Yio.
Following is our photo diary documenting a few moments of these five days in Madrid alongside the organisers' schedule, starting the Pre-Congress programme on Thursday afternoon with a first meeting at Espacio Trapézio at the Mercado de San Antón and ending on Monday morning with the Post-Congress programme which included studio visits to Fernando Sánchez Castillo and Cristina Lucas.
Friday, 19th April 2013
Buses depart from Plaza del Emperador Carlos V/ Atocha (opposite the renowned El Brillante bar) for Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo (CA2M) in Móstoles.
IKT Members Forum. Opening of the congress, welcome and greetings.
Exhibition visits: Pop Politics: Activismos a 33 revoluciones curated by Iván López Munuera and Hailil Altindere curated by CA2M Director, Ferran Barenblit.
Buses depart for Fundación Banco Santander (Boadilla del Monte) to visit the exhibition "Out of the House. Contemporary Art Cranford Collection", curated by Anne Pontégnie and Muriel Salem.
Buses depart for Ivory Press. Exhibition visit: Ilya & Emilia Kabakov.
Walk to Galería Liebre. Exhibition visit: Ideas y presupuestos. Curator: Martí Manen.
Ideas and budgets for possible artworks by artists Sebastian Beyro, Black Tulip, Bonus Extra, Kalle Brolin, Priscila Fernandes, Guillem Juan Sancho, Sandra Paula Fernández, Ana García Pineda, Luis Pérez Calvo, Iratxe Jaio & Klaas van Gorkum, Laramascoto, Connie Mendoza, Carlos Motta, Carl Palm, Pepo Salazar, Yes.
Visit to the Tabacalera Espacio Promoción del Arte. Exhibition visit: José Manuel Ballester “Bosques de Luz”. Curators: María de Corral and Lorena Martínez de Corral.
Saturday, 20th April 2013
Caixaforum. Exhibition: 'Maestros del Caos. Artistas y Chamanes'.
Walk to Medialab Prado, Calle Alameda 15, which officially opened its doors a day before our visit.
Exhibitions: Generaciones 2013. Proyectos de Arte Caja Madrid.
Albert Oehlen, Moderne Farbkonzepte. Curator: Christian Domínguez.
Lunch offered by La Casa Encendida in their terrace.
Buses depart for Matadero Madrid, Plaza de Legazpi 1, 28045 Madrid.
Archivo de Creadores de Madrid, offering "physical and online documentation on 150 young artists or collectives of 17 different nationalities with links to the city of Madrid."
IKT Symposium “Curating Value” at the Cineteca.
IKT General Assembly in the Auditorio 200, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (MNCARS).
One of the issues to discuss during the General Assembly was to decide on the next venue/city to host the IKT Congress 2014 and 2015. The members voted that CCA Derry-Londonderry would host the 2014 event (the bid included visiting the biennial Eva International in Limerick) and that Vienna's Kunsthalle Wien to host the following year.
Here Johan Lundh co-director of CCA Derry-Londonderry during his presentation for Derry-Londonderry to host the 2014 IKT Congress.
Exhibition visits: Colección I. 1900-1945; Colección II. 1945-1968; Colección III. 1962-1982; Cristina Iglesias; Robert Adams. el lugar donde vivimos. Una selección retrospectiva de fotografías; La invención concreta. Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros; and Azucena Vieites. (Programa Fisuras).
Afternoon gallery visits around c/ Doctor Fourquet:
NoguerasBlanchard, with the exhibition "Can’t Hear My Eyes" curated by Niekolaas Johannes Lekkerkerk.
MaisterraValbuena, with the exhibition "Entre lo fugitivo y lo infinito" curated by Anja Isabel Schneider.
García Galería with the exhibition "En la zona gris" curated by Virginia Torrente.
Helga de Alvear with an exhibition of works by Prudencio Irazabal.
Fúcares, with the exhibition "Escópico-Esconder(se)-Escaparcurated" by Juan Francisco Rueda.
Visit to artists studios at Rampa in the Carabanchel neighbourhood, Madrid.
Bus departs for Colección Inelcom at the Ciudad de la Imagen, Pozuelo de Alarcón, Madrid. Artistic direction of the collection: Vicente Todolí.
The circa 3,000m2 headquarters at Ciudad de la Imagen, hold 72 works by 24 artists, including Pavel Büchler, Anthony McCall, Markus Schinwald, Ernesto Neto, Sophie Calle, Kader Attia, Candice Breitz, Ceal Floyer, Fiona Tan and Fernando Bryce's 'Work in Progress' (2006) a suite of 80 ink drawings (below).
Monday, 22th April 2013
Visit artists studios: Fernando Sánchez Castillo and Cristina Lucas.
Espacio Valverde group show included a work by Antonio R. Montesinos, one of the members of Rampa.
AVE back to Barcelona... end of journey.
All photos: Latitudes | www.lttds.org (except when noted otherwise in the photo caption)
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
‘This will be an ICSID Congress only 10 metres from the sea,’ read the welcoming Bulletin of the Seventh Congress of the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design in 1971. ‘The environment, the climate and the sea bathing will act as a stimulant to the general business of the Congress.’ As 1,500 delegates registered at the ziggurat-like hotel venue in northern Ibiza, the more adventurous made their way to Instant City, an inflatable camp below on Sant Miquel bay. Three days of meetings, debates, performances and partying were to follow –a professional design conference that was also a beach-side experiment in leisure and the creative potential of industrial plastic. The exhibition ‘Utopia is Possible’ was not only significant as an exercise in advocating the pioneering importance of an interdisciplinary festival that predated the better-known Encuentros de Pamplona’ (Pamplona Meetings) the following year – both all the more astonishing as Spain remained under the grip of dictatorship until 1975 – but also (and following a sprawling exhibition about the latter at Madrid’s Museo Reina Sofía in 2009) as a corollary of the emergence of curatorial and exhibition history as legitimate fields of study, as exhibition.
‘Utopia is Possible’ remembered and celebrated an event that evoked a meltdown of academia, inflatable architecture, cinema, Catalan artistic vanguardism and countercultural ceremonies – part ‘Exploding Plastic Inevitable’, part technology enthusiast craft convention. Through teeming type and handwritten correspondence arranged in vitrines, hundreds of photographs, technical notes and newspaper reports – as well as four projections showing archival footage and a dozen monitors presenting newsreels and newly-made interviews with those involved – it revealed a project that clearly had a life-changing impact on those who experienced it. ICSID 1971 championed liberal social innovation and user-generated content. ‘This is an “open” congress’, declared its introductory statement, ‘a new experience […] for the first time the congress members will be able to participate to the utmost […] this is YOUR congress.’ The proceedings in the hotel comprised ‘Speaking Rooms’ with themes proposed by delegates, 65 talks including ‘The House Style of the Netherlands railway’,‘What We Are Doing in the Belgrade School of Design’, and ‘Basic Design with Computers’ – the latter led by the pioneering Centro de Cálculo (Computing Centre), a collaboration between Madrid’s Complutense University and IBM.
Down by the beach, meanwhile, the participation was of a somewhat different order – kinetic sculptural events with air, water, fire and food. Josep Ponsatí collaborated with members of the Grup Obert de Disseny Urquinaona (Urquinaona Open Design Group), who themselves collaborated in the pop-style signage of the congress, which was replicated in the show’s exhibition design. They tethered together 12 pairs of huge air-filled white plastic pillows that floated out over and on the bay like a giant flower. Vacuflex-3 (1971) by Antoni Muntadas and Gonzalo Mezza is a portable sculpture in the form of a 150-metre flexible plastic pipe which, with teamwork, can be variously carried around, used to spell out words on the sand (‘LOVE’, ‘LAND’, ‘HERE’) or floated on the sea. The opening dinner took the form of a multi-colour ritual orchestrated by Antoni Miralda, Jaume Xifra and Dorothée Selz; masked performers and diners wore green, red, blue and yellow cloaks, and feasted on similarly coloured paella and wine.
Yet Instant City took such multi-coloured experiences to architectonic dimensions, and it remains the ideological and pictorial emblem of the congress. Architecture students Carlos Ferrater and Fernando Bendito had persuaded architecture professor José Miguel de Prada Poole to transform their idea of inflatable student accommodation into reality. What resulted was a global manifesto for a new way of living intended to embrace the ‘nomadic and mobile’ values of impermanence and flexibility. Following publicity in colleges and magazines around the world, scores of volunteers came in the weeks before the congress to collaborate in stapling together a pop-up plastic community. Instant City was the backdrop to some of the exhibition’s most striking images, of bemused locals in traditional dress watching bearded design hippies building something between Hélio Oiticica’s ‘Penetrables’ and Maurice Agis’s ill-fated Dreamspace V (an inflatable environment that killed two women when it broke free from moorings in 2006). And although the taste of Utopian living was evidently challenged by the whiff of residing in sweltering polytunnel tentacles with too few toilets, it also inspired some soaring prog rock poetry that, perhaps more succinctly than any other words in the exhibition, gave a blast ofthe elaborate techno-paganism which must have blown minds at this extraordinary Congress. ‘Green cornfields alongside Instant City / Awaken to Ibizan sunrise’, read a typewritten sheet alongside module construction diagrams. ‘We are children of the future / Born into the paleo-cybernetic age / our minds extended electrically through the video sphere.’
‘Utopia is Possible’ offered a timely pre-history of participatory practice from a Spanish perspective and, against the backdrop of contemporary funding cuts, an object lesson in artistic solidarity and internationalism against the odds.
– Max Andrews
(Originally published in Frieze, October 2012, Issue 150)