Photo: 'Amikejo' advert in Extra Babelia, El País, 19 March 2011
'Amikejo' exhibition season: Pennacchio Argentato: 29 January–3 April Iratxe Jaio & Klaas van Gorkum: 9 April–12 June Uqbar Foundation: 25 June–11 September Fermin Jiménez Landa & Lee Welch: 24 September–15 January 2012
Throughout 2011 Latitudes is the guest curator of the exhibition season at the 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 and 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.
Above: Installation views exhibition 'Amikejo: Pennacchio Argentato' at Laboratorio 987. Courtesy the artists. Photos: Latitudes | www.lttds.org
For the second chapter of the 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, 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.”
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. (+ info...)