Invitation for 'Amikejo' exhibition. Photo: Fermín Jiménez Landa & Lee Welch.
Fermín Jiménez Landa (1979, Pamplona, Spain. Lives in Valencia/Pamplona, Spain) & Lee Welch (1975, Louisville, USA. Lives in Rotterdam, The Netherlands) did not know each other before the invitation to participate in Amikejo. As if engaged in international diplomacy, the artists have had to understand each other personally and artistically before issuing what might be regarded as a joint statement based on what they have agreed and negotiated, in the form of an exhibition. Jiménez Landa and Welch have chosen to establish their collaboration in relation to the notion of the micronation and devices which delineate sovereignty – borders, stamps, anthems, and so on. Their project refers to other historical episodes in addition to Amikejo itself as well as taking inspiration from methodologies which combine fixed parameters with improvisation, such as the directing technique of filmmaker John Cassavetes.
Their works in MUSAC comprise a constellation of diverse performative, discursive, interactive and displayed elements, some of which are directly apparent in the Laboratorio 987, while others document occurrances at remote locations, or exist only in the imagination.
A platform-like structure and sculptures that take the form of portals or border markers constitute spaces and tools for assembly and discussion as well as hosting further two-dimensional and video works. A marching band from León was recruited to compose and perform a national anthem for a new autonomous island state and the founding of this micronation has been documented in video and photography. Companioning this, a series of letters have been sent by the artists using stamps from Moresnet, the republic which anteceded Amijeko. Jiménez Landa’s and Welch’s joint endeavour considers how art can produce new understanding, memories and communicative possibilities together with an audience.
A catalogue by Mousse Publishing companioning the 'Amikejo' series will be launched in early 2012,following the conclusion of the exhibition cycle. _
Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León (MUSAC) Avenida de los Reyes Leoneses, 24 24008 León, SPAIN www.musac.es
In the third instalment of the Amikejo exhibition cycle, uqbar (Irene Kopelman & Mariana Castillo Deball) explore the idea of working together as a subject in itself. The “interchanges, mutations, transmutations, metamorphosis and contaminations that working together entails ... the hybrids we create together, not belonging to one or the other but rather creating an in between zone”, as the artists have described.
The exhibition at the Laboratorio 987 is based on the principal of chirality or ‘handedness’. Chirality is a property of an object that is not superimposable on its mirror image. Human hands are perhaps the most recognizable example of chirality: the left hand is a non-superimposable mirror image of the right hand. Cases of chirality can be found in many different organisms in nature, such as in the twisted petals of certain orchids, shells and fish scales.
General view of the exhibition. Photo: Imagen MAS. Courtesy: the artists and MUSAC, León.
The exhibition is composed of a spiral staircase, which serves as a viewpoint for other artifacts and objects. Uqbar creates a psychedelic chiral ecosystem, featuring hanging papier-mâché epiphyte sculptures and enlarged stone microfossils, as well as “Banyan tree drawings, a video of a chemical reaction, fables among non-humans and drawings of hybrid creatures”.
Uqbar is an occasional collaboration between artists Mariana Castillo Deball &Irene Kopelman initiated in 2005. Its practice has led to sculptural installations, seminars and publications, and frequently involves the cooperation of individuals outside the artistic field, including scientists and writers. Uqbar’s projects are often sparked by an oblique investigation into a particular repository of knowledge, and following Jorge Luis Borges (whose fictional place Uqbar lends its name to the foundation) they approach a world through an abundance of possible of meanings and possible histories. Fuga di Un Piano (2009) for Manifesta 7, Rovereto, Italy, for example, took the International Center for the study of Futurism as its point of departure, by presenting in part a future archive of some imagined sculptural creations of a speculative creative automaton.
Uqbar projects include Principle of Hope, Manifesta 7, Rovereto, Italy; Zeno Reminder, Cabinet Magazine Space / Performa 09, New York (2009); Principle of Hope, Manifesta 7, Rovereto, Italia (2008); Transacciones Filosóficas, Museo Astronómico de Córdoba, Argentina (2007); Blackmarket for Useful Knowledge and Non-Knowledge, 10th International Istanbul Biennial (2007); A for Alibi, Utrecht University Museum, Utrecht & De Appel, Amsterdam (2006–8).
'Amikejo' is an exhibition cycle of four exhibitions guest curated by Latitudes, taking place in January, April, June and September 2011 at the Laboratorio 987, MUSAC. A catalogue by Mousse Publishing companioning the exhibition series will be launched in 2012 following the conclusion of the cycle.
21 October 2010: Presentation of 'Vic Cambrils Barcelona...' project at the Midway Contemporary Art's library, Minneapolis. A selection of 50 self- and micro-published books and paper editions by Catalan artists, designers, curators... (+ images) 22 October 2010: Yves Klein gala dinner at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis.
24 November 2010: Issue #8 'The Last Journal' delivered! Won-der-ful cover by Fernando Bryce.
late November 2010: Checking the headlines of 'The Last Times' (#9) featuring Peter Piller, Robert Gober, Andrea Bowers, Angel Nevarez & Valerie Tevere amongst others. Late November: The board is almost filled with the weekly mini-posters with 'The Last...' headlines. Underneath pictures of the team that made TLN possible.
10 December 2010: This is how 10 weeks of full-time work look like when you pile them up. 10 December 2010: Packaging the 10 newspapers + cover/index with New Museum's Daniel Thiem and the ever helpful Irina Chernyakova.
Roman & Christina installing 'End of Life - Contribution to the inefficiency of poetry' (2010). They know what they are doing! 21 January 2011: Leaving our cozy temporary homes before the opening of the exhibition.
2 March 2011: Klaas van Gorkum grandfather's lathe in action in the artists' studio (+ info) 2 March 2011: Trying out different displays and selecting the objects made by Klaas van Gorkum's grandfather for the exhibition, would they all fit in the platform?
5 April 2011: Installation day 1 of Iratxe Jaio & Klaas van Gorkum show at the Laboratorio 987. Tricky part: placing the platform on the wooden legs manufactured by the artists using Jos van Gorkum's lathe.
Klaas discussing with über-fabulous 'Amikejo' coordinator Carlos Ordás, 'Amikejo' helpers Pilar and Maria and the technicians from Artefacto how to install the photographs on the wall.
8 April 2011: Press conference at the Laboratorio 987 (+ info) 9–13 May 2011: Week-long seminar with A-Study participants discussing curatorial practices. Photo: Gerda Kochanska. 20 May 2011: Studio visit with Lee Welch at Piet Zwart in Rotterdam, to discuss his ideas for the final Amikejo show (opening 24 September) at the Laboratorio 987 in collaboration with Fermín Jiménez Landa.
18–22 July 2011: Mariana invited by the Mondriaan visitors programme to tour Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Utrecht's galleries, museums, art centers and artist studios. Above poster campaign signed by 'Disgruntled Dutch Artists' posted in several institutions in relation to the HUGE change Dutch arts will suffer due to unprecedented cuts. (+ images)
29 July 2011, 19.30h: Display of the projects and ideas-in-the-making developed during 'Campus'. After 5 weeks of group talks, video screenings, tutorials and production, a one-month exhibition opens at Espai Cultural Caja Madrid, the same space occupied by 'Campus' during the last five weeks.
All photos: Latitudes | www.lttds.org (except when noted in the photo caption).