El devenir de las estructuras
25 Sept – 06 Nov 2020, Tuesday to Friday
In each concrete historical moment the economic, political and social structures manifest fundamental aspects of the Zeitgeist. Meanwhile, to what extent are these structures historical contingencies or, rather, reflections of our anthropological composition? Two great conceptions of history stand before us: either a more or less regular line that, despite abrupt shocks, advances forward; either a circle, an ouroboros condemned to the fatality of repetition. Progress or eternal return.
Regardless of which one we choose, the truth is that technique has been the common thread of the hectic human existence. From the same antiquity we find in the myth of Prometheus the image of the Titan who stole fire from the gods to deliver it to human beings. Fire, a symbol of technique, contains the two dimensions by which it is characterized: producing and destroying; both media- ted by reason, logos. That is why the reference to the burning construction of the film The White Ribbon by Michael Haneke (2009) in Alex Gambín’s project is not merely accidental. This scene from the film, which explores the genealogy of Nazism, serves to explain how the Final Solution, far from being a monstrous deviation from the Enlightenment project, is in a way its culmination, the most sophisticated hypertechnification of death. Technical rationality not only leads to the massive extermination of human beings, but also to the very institutions created by them. However, destruction brings with it the production of new structures. The success of the clip of the fire is therefore twofold: on the one hand, it manages to objectify the synthesis of the historical dynamics in a single building, the eternal struggle and inseparable interrelation between the Apollonian and Dionysian principles; on the other, the very format of the clip – with all its connotations of the intertwining between art and technology – and the mechanics of the loop manage to unite form and content in a dialectic that is a sign of all significant art. At the same time, as in any well-constituted dialectical process, the success of the artist’s vision is simultaneously its failure, since the summit of the collusion between ratio and technique is the annihilation of its own offspring. And the other way around, failure that engenders a new path that, with increasing force since the last century, we have agreed to call “progress”.
“All that is solid melts into air,” said Marx and Engels in the Manifesto of the Communist Party. The evolution of human structures, their reduction to ashes and what is born from their remains, is played out in the dialectic between the material and the immaterial, in which space plays a crucial role. The distribution and relationship of the works in and with the space in this project manages to establish multilateral dialogues between the material elements, synthesized in an immaterial, phantasmatic projection.
The confrontation between the static and movement, production and destruction, takes place on three fronts: the content of the works, their form and the space where they are located. Such are the complexities suggested by Gambín’s project, which, far from limiting itself to a retrospective look that questions the logic of social structures, generates a series of open questions about both our present and the future.