An exhibition with:Adrià Julià (1974, lives in Barcelona and Bergen), Annette Kelm (1975, lives in Berlin), James N. Kienitz Wilkins (1983, lives in New York), Sarah Ortmeyer (1980, lives in Vienna), Eulàlia Rovira (1985, lives in Barcelona), Francesc Serra i Dimas (1877–1967, Barcelona), Stuart Whipps (1979, lives in Birmingham), Haegue Yang (1971, lives in Berlin and Seoul), as well as meaningful things from the Friends of Fabra i Coats Association archive. Do you trust things to write human history? Do things’ lives matter? Can you fabricate creation? Can a pebble destroy an empire if the emperor chokes at dinner? Would the pebble stand accused? Does the act of buying bread not encompass a far wider system of the whole world’s grain markets? Do you really think that if you stare at something long enough, it will reveal its secrets? Have you ever wondered why there is a hole in a donut? Did you ever own a pair of dungarees? Does a desire to write about a small car indicate some fear of its inadequacy? Does popcorn hold firm opinions? Is the key key? Are you familiar with the Luddites? Have you heard the expressions “how long is a piece of string?”, or “exceptional typical”? ‘Things Things Say’ springs from the past of Fabra i Coats as a industrial complex once dedicated to the manufacturing of cotton thread. The factory represented the first merger between a Catalan company and a foreign multinational, and the first in Spain to offer its workers paid holidays. The exhibition evokes this novel and curious kind of place, a place comprised of many places and people, vastly different scales, temporalities, and values. Things, and spectres of things, that might at first seem exceptionally normal, apparently obsolete, or inert, each bring often-extraordinary stories or offer telling evidence, temporarily becoming new protagonists in the art centre community.
In the setting of the bygone factory, the works in the exhibition introduce a perspective on how the modern world has been shaped through complex and contentious relationships between humans and the web of life. Taking on the popular XVIII century genre of the ‘it-narrative’ in English literature and the approach of ‘object journalism’ against a background of world history and ecology, ‘Things Things Say’ and the exhibition ‘4.543 billion. The Matter of Matter’ (CAPC musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux, 2017–18) are imagined as a diptych: two folds with the same hinge that tacks back-and-forth between deep time and microhistory, natural history and the history of capitalism.
Fabra i Coats: Contemporary Art Centre of Barcelona c/ Sant Adrià, 20 08030 Barcelona barcelona.cat/fabraicoats @fabraicoats_fic #thingsthingssay