press release

What is happening with and within the interrelational space of contemporary societies? What mechanisms, that very often operate covertly, are being used to arrange it? Which values must we question, build, agree and guarantee, in order to create the basis for a better coexistence in the 21st century?

Living Together deals with a number of social, political, economical and emotional conflicts that characterise the beginning of this century, and demonstrates that these spheres are intimately related. Invoking the conflicts that bring the broad gamut of present subjects into confrontation with one another, the show sets out to question how narratives, that inform and regulate the idea of living together in our societies, are constructed and negotiated. The exhibition examines various long, medium and short term narratives, such as those governing social values, or the freedom of the individual and their social and/or state control, to migratory flows, sexual or ethnic difference, work, unemployment, poverty, human rights, etc, that are either perpetuated or re-built on a daily basis. The exhibition has been constructed as an analytical device that seeks to reveal the web of ideologies feeding these narratives and producing these conflicts, as well as showing the part that representational systems play in the processes of negotiation or the imposition of coexistence.

Living Together brings 14 artists from a variety of contexts together, presenting recent and specially commissoned work in painting, sculpture, installation, text, performance, photography and video. In these works, while taking very different positions, the artists propose multiple and open explorations of the questions outlined above, offering a series of contemporary strategies for cohabitation that are an alternative to the hegemonic ones. In an age that celebrates individuality, the works show how groups and communities form themselves into alternative structures for mutual support and advancement, and how hope resides in activism, agency, and DIY action, against a background of general political apathy.

Gardar Eide Einarsson's austere signs and flags express a strongly critical view of governmental authority, power and control exercised over individuals and groups, while Nicole Eisenman's paintings explore the very nature of the human condition - using bleak humour she reveals society as groups of isolated individuals struggling to cope, existing not being. The artist group Claire Fontaine's customised coins, neons and other apparently innocuous objects function at the interface between art and activism, exposing the aggression and violence inherent in hyper-capitalism, while Société Réaliste's EU Green Card Lottery: The Lagos File project explores the migration industry and how Europe manages its borders and workforce. Paula Trope's photographic series Sem Simpatia depicts Rio's favela-dwelling young men and boys – the images created by the marginalized subjects themselves using homemade tin-can pinhole cameras, distributed by the artist. Dora García's video Cellule Cité Lénine examines the dystopian legacy of the perceived failure of modernist experimental architecture, while Eulàlia Valldosera's photographs map the hidden dramas, structures and politics of contemporary social groups and situations. Josephine Meckseper's sculptures and installations probe the interface between high fashion, commodity fetishism and political activism, and the symbolic realm occupied by objects of desire or ideological aspiration. Mai-Thu Perret has created a meta-narrative of an all female community who have turned their backs upon society: her giant teapot a possible relic of US South Western Desert alternative cultural fantasy. Daniel Baker's installation creates a disorientating labyrinth of ambiguous and contradictory signs and messages, his mirrored surfaces creating multi-layered works referencing culture, history, authorship and agency. Marcus Coates' brand of poetic conceptualism holds out hope for the continuance of social cohesion and community by deploying beauty and spirituality to combat isolation and decay, while Delaine Le Bas's delicately embroidered and collaged installations conceal bitter anger in the face of continuing hypocrisy and prejudice expressed against marginalized communities. Artur Żmijewski's videos, which often make uncomfortable viewing, are experiments designed to reflect the conflicts inherent in society; in Them, the artist deliberately engineers a confrontational meeting of radically different but equally polarized groups – the result is simultaneously hilarious and depressing. Lynette Yiadom-Boakye's paintings always focus upon an imaginary subject – here she explores a single individual as they evolve in different moods and ages; her oeuvre explores the enigma of the self in relation to surroundings and the context of a community of others.

The show will be accompanied by a number of activities: a programme of lectures examining the conceptual axis of the project by social and human sciences theoreticians and by artists participating in the exhibition; a documentary film programme with debates around the topic of human rights; and a variety of educational programmes aimed at promoting both reflection on, and participation in, the debate concerning the problematics of contemporary coexistence.

LECTURE SERIES. February 25th - April 22nd February 25th Société Réaliste. Live and work in Paris. March 4th: Marcus Steinweg. Lives and works in Berlin. March 11th: Paula Trope. Lives and works in Rio de Janeiro. March 18th: Isidoro Moreno. Lives and works in Sevilla. March 25th: Mª Xosé Agra Romero. Lives and works in Santiago de Compostela. April 1st: Sophie Bessis. Lives and works in Paris. April 22nd: Thomas Acton. Lives and works in London. May 8th: Eva Illouz. Lives and works in Jerusalem.

Daniel Baker, Marcus Coates, Gardar Eide Einarsson, Nicole Eisenman, Claire Fontaine, Dora García, Delaine Le Bas, Josephine Meckseper, Mai-Thu Perret, Société Réaliste, Paula Trope, Eulàlia Valldosera, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye and Artur Żmijewski.

Curated by Xabier Arakistain and Emma Dexter

only in german

Estrategias para la convivencia / Elkarbizitzarako estrategiak

Künstler: Daniel Baker, Marcus Coates, Gardar Eide Einarsson, Nicole Eisenman, CLAIRE FONTAINE , Dora Garcia, Delaine Le Bas, Josephine Meckseper, Mai-Thu Perret, Société Réaliste , Paula Trope, Eulalia Valldosera, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, Artur Zmijewski

Kuratoren: Xabier Arakistain, Emma Dexter