Paratext #27 by Sergi Botella

Paratext n#27
June 20th 2018
by Sergi Bottlella

Birde Vanheerswynghel (Exchange Grant Sala d’Art jove-HISK)
Liv Schulman (International Residence)
Andrea Ganuza (Hangar-Workshop 7 Exchange Grant)
Mercedes Mangrané (Long-term residence)

There’s no time for negativity

One would like to know absolutely nothing about the artists that presented, nor about the Paratext itself. And thus to be able to approach with absolute impartiality this text. But working in the Hangar team and being directly responsible for the Paratext gives me a certain advantage. Okay, I’ll have it, but that’s the second thing I’ve thought about. And the not presumed absolute impartiality was the first thing, and it reminds me that many times we rely on a certain negativity to embrace a goal and thus have an alibi in case it goes wrong. Reading an online comment from Diplo, (yes, the one that put Daddy Yankee’s Gasoline on Saturday night on the Sonar main stage), said that there is no time for negativity. And in these times, I think, this is essential.

We started something late and I nervous as always. When the light closed Luciana presented the activity and Birde Vanheerswynghel who has been in Hangar for a month via Sala d’Art jove and HISK, began to tell us how his drawings work, sometimes monochrome in different tonalities and others in strict black and white, they look like treated photographs and in a way they are. What’s a photo if not that? An instant captured from the manipulation of light and that is what she generates with her drawings, originally invoiced in small sheets to then enlarge them into large formats and process them already with a structure and direction. To do this, she uses natural oxidation processes or adds layers of paint and redraws them.
Birde starts from basic shapes that then modifies to represent invented landscapes. And this is what most calls my attention in her work; that capability to generate nature as if it had an algorithm that allows infinite results, a generator of natural environments. Something appealing is the point of view, in each of its representations there is no place for the subject. The perspectives and the place from which the drawing is constructed do not seem human and I would say neither animals. Sometimes it gives the feeling that it is a camera that remained lost and with autonomy to be able to shoot photos and move among lush forests, jungles, and invented vegetation. If J.G. Ballard is anywhere, surely it is in one of these impossible gardens.
Birde added that this work process also responds to her vision problems that don’t allow her to work comfortably directly in large formats, and that’s what I mean when I say “there’s no time for negativity”.
She ended with a stereoscopic video and Birde as the main actress, placing us in a somewhat dark fiction, with a language halfway between punk comedy and science fiction series b, all very English. I saw Hitchcock and he reminded me of Bigas Luna’s fabulous “Angustia”, all with careful post-production and a fantastic sound. The script somehow refers to the precariousness, not only of the artist, but also to the problem of property prices. A very well produced work.

Liv Schulman started, Argentinian artist with an in international residence with her proposal of something I would like to call Linguistic Performance. With total control of the audience, defying the gaze, walking around the chairs or questioning one of the attendees supposedly located at the end of the room with coffee in hand, she told us ideas about economy, about capital and its relationship with the birth of states, as well as the erotic that he purposely sometimes stressed with her body and voice. Above a table he arranged some plasticized images, there was Spinoza portrayed, and as he released sentences he also dropped the images that somehow reinforced the understanding of the concepts. Liv’s Work is situated halfway between theoretical talks and induced performance, all very psychoanalytic. Exercises that serve her to navigate through concepts linking ideas, using lexical formulas to overcome problems that she herself raises and solves.
Returning to the idea of “There is no time for Diplo’s negativity” what was told was strong, threatening but real, very emotional, global and personal at the same time, matters that we all know, but we park to be able to live something more peaceful. And she launched them with total naturalness as giving a class of economy and emotion to older children.
The piece called Formal Economy, can take different forms as it happened in May 2018 at Alt_Cph in Copenhagen, so we saw something in process, under construction, what she was working on during her stay in Hangar and will continue to shape.

Halfway through the session Andrea Ganuza, who obtained the exchange grant between Hangar and Medellín in Taller 7, asked us to go outside, sitting in the middle of the square and quickly arranged some objects and drawings in a letter format as well as a bottle of liquor to finish.
She told us about her experience in Medellín, elusive with the objective of her residence, she went directly to the experiential and personal. In this way, she focused on the memories of what she had lived during her stay in the city and later invoiced the drawings that the attendees passed from hand to hand. She assured us that the experience has changed her life to such an extent that she is returning to Medellín to stay. And that is also modifying one’s life through artistic practice.
Thus, the letter-drawings of The Moon, the crack, the blue cat, workshop 7 or libido, work as illustrated memories almost like souvenirs of oneself.
Her vision of a patched city where the disposition of the different districts is totally classist, is also very positive (as Diplo told us) whether we like it or not. And in another aspect where Andrea focused is the cure of negativity that Medellín offers. The legacy of violence and the looting of Colombia has been and is of such a magnitude that the people there LIVE with capital letters and value life even in the tiny.
Thus the vital implication and the not wanting to give up the need of that city made Andrea still keep a third of a bottle of liquor that she offered us to drink among all, to close that circle and I suppose to be able to open new ones.

We returned to the Ricson room, Mercedes Mangrané artist in long-term residence in Hangar reviewed her trajectory starting from watercolors on industrial pieces, quoted Settai Komura, designer, illustrator as well as Japanese painter key figure of the Shin-Hanga movement of the early 20th century. She told us why she attends to her needs in small format, focusing on detail.
Like Birde, she sometimes paints in a single color and sometimes combines the tones in a very balanced way, achieving palettes similar to those of the textile industry. Mercedes Mangrané’s paintings illustrate details of details and over time these have been extruded into a figuration that has been transformed into a kind of abstract expressionism soft, an example of this are the set of works under the name of Roof started in 2017 and currently still in process. Matter gives volume to windows, lights, beams or parts of things that obsess, interest or simply need to be represented. And that, the obsession for parts of domestic architecture is what the Shin-Hangha movement proposed among other things.
Those of us who are lucky enough to be able to see the evolution of their work up close now find pictorial solutions where large quantities of oil paint already structure, images closer to the installation or, if I may, to three-dimensional painting.

Mercedes was the artist who worked on the project for the Nit dels museus 2018 (Museum nights 2018), in collaboration with the Botanic Garden of Barcelona and Hangar, for which she prepared a tour called Flirteo, altering the guided tour of the space. A soprano singing live next to the frog choir of the pond, illuminated posters on the floor with historical information about nature and its relationship with the romantic or courtship among other aspects. She also had a video in the installation of the Botanical Garden that happened to us at the end of the session. In it, a mixture of progressive audio (music by Rayo-60/Ander Agudo) and images of flowers and nature as well as modernist grilles and other allusions to private property, structure a work that uses tools from video clips or advertising language to find a solution for documentary video, which forgives the insistence but reminds us of what Diplo said; there is no time for negativity.

Answers from the artists on the following sentence:

“There is no time for negativity”

Liv Schulman

I believe it is a slogan of capitalism as a productive form of positivism. We are in a context where somehow we are not allowed to lament too much the loss of something without it becoming the loss of productive and reproductive capacity. Since work is based on the exploitation of the self as a service or comfort, negativity would generate an excess of lack in a world where only adding and proposing is possible.

Andrea Ganuza

Life spits at me, luck deceives me, glory dodges me, death grabs me!!!!

Mercedes Mangrané

Well, the following comes to my mind: we are in an era where false enthusiasm and the narcissistic complex abound. Through achievement, success, coaching, and a thousand and one pro-common practices, fears are suppressed or hidden, and so we become overly sensitive to negative criticism-practically non-existent in the artistic field.
The negativity also reminds me of the difficulty I have for NO, and its implementation to take care of me and look for the space I want in life.
Sometimes it is associated with being a hater, or with individualism or something potentially harmful. You can also channel the negativity of the world and transform it into a worthy rage or poetry, or into new worlds that are inevitably in it (painting, video…) can be a driving force.

Categories: Paratext report | Tags: ,

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