Deserted festivals: the ghosts of current art


The Vault Room of the Conde Duque Cultural Center can be a favorable setting for reflection on the ghostly and that is the axis of the new collective exhibition that we can visit there until July, curated by the duo formed by Manuela Pedrón Nicolaú and Jaime González Cela : “The deserted festivals. Appearances and disappearances in contemporary art.

Based on nine works, by eight artists and one architect, different approaches of current creators to evanescent presences or absences are examined, which, as the philosopher Martin Hägglund explained, referring to the hauntology, it's no more either still not; It is easy to guess that light, sound and the treatment of matter are very important in this project, as are the references to forgotten episodes of the past (recovered in stones or images from other dimensions) and the projections of a future that does not exist. has come to materialize.

This exhibition is part of a program of this space, dependent on the Madrid City Council, dedicated to exploring the spectral concepts applied to politics, socioeconomics and culture by the cultural critic Mark Fisher, who precisely popularized the use of the concept hauntology by Jacques Derrida to refer to the sensation according to which contemporary culture is bewitched by what he called “lost futures” of modernity, once artists would have been deprived of the necessary resources to produce new proposals. The British handled that notion of hauntology as “refusal to renounce the desire for the future”, finding this, again in his words, “in the unactivated potentialities of the past.”

  The deserted festivals.  Appearances and disappearances in contemporary art.  Conde Duque, Madrid

The first job that will come to meet us in Conde Duque will be Guernica Filament, a lighting installation by Fernando Sánchez Castillo, very used to working with shadows and debris from previous decades. It consists of a thread of light that replicates on a large scale the filament of the light bulb in Picasso's work; That light reproduces in Morse code a list of names of those retaliated after the Civil War, in addition to the poem The woundedby Miguel Hernández, all of them evoked here as ghosts that have not gone away from a gesture that refers to reparation and the notion of a monument as a place of memory.

Elsa Paricio, who in parallel exhibits at 1MiraMadrid a proposal that combines geography and archives, has been working in recent years, with the collaboration of her family, on the project NINES: Novel Institute Noticing External Signals; That is the name of a fictional institution with real activity, and based in a garden in Guadalajara, destined to reveal the worlds that we are in places we do not know and to investigate psychography or automatic writing in relation to the grieving process. followed by the death of a family member very close to this Madrid artist. In the Vault Room we can see some formalizations of these studies: drawings composed of sedimentation layers of sun-dried seawater whose appearance is reminiscent of the earliest spatial photographs and cartographic maps of the seabed.

For her part, Ana Laura Aláez, who in turn has just opened the Es Baluard Museum, exhibits here part of her work during her recent stay at the Spanish Academy in Rome: three sculptures and a musical vinyl made together with Ascii Disco, in addition to texts by the artist, in which she proposes ways of approaching feminine roles present in Italian baroque sculpture, in her case not leaving aside nails, fists and traces of wounds, and therefore the hidden; Aláez believes that the history of art has a lot of mythology, of presences and ideas that disappear and reappear.

  The deserted festivals.  Appearances and disappearances in contemporary art.  Conde Duque, Madrid

From Paco Chavinet we will contemplate Interregnum, an installation that has been specifically adapted to this space and that alludes to the fear of the unknown based on literary readings that have to do with cosmic horror, such as Lovecraft's texts. The centerpiece of it is a machine inspired by ancient mechanical planetariums that is crowned with anatomical shapes, those of the bodily organs that allow us to think, reproduce and speak, distorted to the point of aberration; This invention, furthermore, orbits on its axis in a movement that is somewhat exasperating and alienated.

Clara Moreno Cela brings Conde Duque Backroom Seseñaa project that is nourished by fictions creepy typical of the Internet and its constructive dynamics based on repetition to give rise to a new story around the residential towers built in that Toledo town in the boom years and their subsequent abandonment until a few years ago. We could call its aesthetics: low cost cañí.

  The deserted festivals.  Appearances and disappearances in contemporary art.  Conde Duque, Madrid
  The deserted festivals.  Appearances and disappearances in contemporary art.  Conde Duque, Madrid

Back to sculpture, Carlos Monleón shows us five sound pieces belonging to his series The inevitability of the mouth. This author is interested in the links between body perception and digital patterns; He created these works from studies of the decomposition of non-linguistic human sounds and isolated forms of figure recognition patterns in visual systems, which is why they seem both familiar and strange to us. Sculpture, along with poetry and painting, is also integrated into Pere Llobera's proposal in Conde Duque: the recent installation The Kindness of the Clowns. He claims to walk through Barcelona like a ghost that dialogues with what no longer exists, attending to unusual, bohemian and, if possible, countercultural finds. A rare poem by Kenneth Patchen dated 1958, somewhere between tender and violent, was the starting point of a large painting that he decided to turn into a diorama for this exhibition: it represents a group of unkind clowns approaching him.

The tour closes with an unpublished and unrealized project by the late architect Luis Moya and with a proposal by Clara Montoya. Moya, initially linked to a certain architectural renewal in Spain, however opposed the modern movement and, during the Civil War, proposed the construction in Madrid of Architectural dream for national exaltation, a funerary complex of which here we will see documentation and a very original piece, halfway between animation and comics. From Montoya, finally, we will contemplate YOU, an installation made up of juxtaposed and synchronized light machines that evoke the reverberation of the sun on the water and, in turn, modify our perception of the Vault Room as a whole, revealing or hiding some of its parts. The water referred to here is that of New Zealand's Whanganui River, which was recently legally recognized as a person, calling into question our physical consideration of that concept.

  The deserted festivals.  Appearances and disappearances in contemporary art.  Conde Duque, Madrid

“The deserted festivals. Appearances and disappearances in contemporary art”


C/ Conde Duque, 11


From April 26 to July 21, 2024

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