Marta Galindo, Add to Wishlist
30 April – 11 June 2021, Tuesday to Friday
It is very complicated to be an active artist with the actual life standards ruled by the neoliberal logics of hiper-performance, self-exploitation, speculation and precariousness. But it is even harder to be an emergent artist. We, who were born in the 90s, have bumped into a laboral situation incompatible with professional prosperity and everything it implies. To produce art is a decision closer to an ascetic exercise of faith than to a professional one; it is a position of constant resistance and battle: in the mornings you work, in the afternoon you produce. Leisure and rest -a time where to recover energy to get back to work afterwards- are far away from the actual artistic equation.
The dynamics of nomadism required by some artistic calls are incompatible with personal and economic stability; not to mention that it is not recognised as a professional activity since it usually does not repay. Also, grants demand exclusive and unreleased proposals which haven’t been presented to other calls, multiplying the work and, often, fees are not even covered. Indeed, artistic production needs a place where to be materialised, meaning the rent of a studio, in addition to a home. Even, making artistic projects needs the prior disposal of an exhibition space, precisely, to be projected. Often, in its absence, this place is substituted by a visual hypothesis that recreates the exhibition space: a desired space. Now that I have one, I find it very appropriate to talk about those desires.
When facing this extremely precariousness -if it sounds excessive it may be because of its normalisation- it makes more sense than ever the saying desperate times call for desperate measures; or as Fisher puts it regarding his capitalist realism “[…] Every action is superfluous from the beginning: only nonsense hope seems to gain sense. This is when superstition and religion proliferate, the first resources of the forsaken”. Add to Wishlist is an ironic exercise of superstition where I invoke magic places to formulate those frustrated desires, which is to say, the basic lacks of a generation. Thus, the supernatural, the fabled and the superstitious traverses the exhibition.
It is important to discern here between these desires -related to basic needs- and depressive hedonia -the incapacity to do anything but to satiate normative pleasure, the imposed libido. The technocapital fosters and defines opportunistically our desire, as it is the combustible that guarantees its perdurability, imposing from social expectations -incompatible with the system itself- like having children at the right age or marrying, to material (in)necessities as having a turned-up nose or the latest season clothes. And if you can’t afford it, we can offer you egg freezing for a monthly mortgage. Nothing is exonerated from being monetised. Precisely, the digital environment -pierced shamelessly by these capitalist logics- is the perfect soil to feed the normative libido, pushing into the background the basic needs. On this basis, Add to Wishlist pays special attention to the fusion between capital and technology, to underline this dissolute relation and to separate its naturalised union.
It is no coincidence that, in this toxic environment of insatiability and fierce competitiveness, some experiences inherent to the system -specially in art- are invisibilized, such as failure or depression and their consequent somatizations. Even from a critical approach it is difficult not to execute this self-censorship. Will an exhibition on precariousness, failure and anxiety work commercially? Just in case, this that you are reading is edible (1): if my work doesn’t pay my food, at least my statement will do so.
(1) Hoja de sala, one of the pieces displayed in Add to Wishlist, consists of a wall-display case that offers the visitor the archetypal exhibition brochure, only that this one is a confectionary edible print; to be eaten if desired.