From questions such as what it means to be an emerging artist and what it is to be an artist and to grow old, I’ll show you everything that I’ve seen presents a dialogue between the works of Alba García i Allué (1997, Barcelona) and Ana Gallardo (1958, Rosario, Argentina). The exhibition relates two seemingly distant artists in times and places, who identify themselves as artists but also as living matter that matures, ages, rots and dries up. From two very different perspectives, the works share the awareness of the artists’ social role and awareness of the working, economic and physical difficulties of being an artist; through encounters, they feature the connections that they create with other people from whom they learn, and break the fourth wall by making the public participate with their pieces.
How does a young artist imagine her future in this age of eco-social crisis when there seems to be no tomorrow? Alba García i Allué uses different Gen-Z tools, such as social media or autotuned songs, to reflect on the social-professional role of the contemporary artist. My body is mere matter welcomes the audience with a pop song that contemplates how it will be perceived as an artwork if it does not meet the viewer’s expectations when entering an art gallery. The bottles of organic matter undergoing fermentation and surrounded by cables, anticipate the inevitable rot as time passes, both in the artistic materials and in their own creators. Inside the room, on a suspended screen, is the piece that gives title to the exhibition. It is a TikTok style video in which the artist expresses her doubts about the possible paths to follow after having made a journey of self-discovery to the origins of Western civilization. In her reasoning she resorts to all kinds of signs to guide her future steps before the heavenly mission of being an artist. On the floor, as part of the same piece, a mountain of raw clay that will dry up throughout the exhibition, refers to the landscape that the artist evokes in the video. Additionally, I just want to sit here and take in the view presents two videos in scroll format of the Instagram account @broken.artist 64, in which the user, played by Garcia i Allué, comments on posts of artistic open calls and consulting projects, congratulates other artists on their achievements and stops before the dances of another account, in this case @successful.artistt, also performed by the artist, made to satisfy her audience and to sell.
This awareness of the role of the artist in the practice itself as a metalanguage was the fundamental axis for inviting a dialogue with Ana Gallardo. The Argentine artist is at the opposite end of her career: in 2022, she received the National Award for Artistic Trajectory from the Ministry of Culture of Argentina. Throughout her career, Gallardo has incorporated into her practice an intimate worry linked to what she defines as the violence of aging, from a feminist and anti-productivism perspective. Gallardo began a collaboration with Mariani Bauman, who began working in ceramics after retiring, while progressively losing her vision. The work, titled Mariani Bauman: Action to paint a clay mural with closed eyes, is part of School of Ageing; a series of meetings with older women to talk about past and future desires.The work consists of a video documenting the collaboration between Bauman and Gallardo, instructions and an invitation to the public to paint a mural with clay with their eyes closed. The audience must read the instructions before starting their intervention, feel the material, close their eyes and imagine a landscape, and then paint it.