Guest curator and Maria Fusco takes master works from ”la Caixa” Collection of Contemporary Art as inspiration for ‘NINE QWERTY BELLS. Fiction for ‘Live Voice’, a short story in which each work of art gives a presentation at a conference. This is the second of four displays from the collection, which was established in 1985 to foster dialogue between Spanish and international art.
Invited by Whitechapel Gallery to select works from La Caixa Collection of Contemporary Art and write an accompanying work of fiction, Fusco presents film, photography and sculpture by influential British painter Alan Charlton (b. 1948, UK), pioneering Spanish performance artist Esther Ferrer (b. 1937, Spain) and internationally-renowned artist Cindy Sherman (b. 1954, US).
Fusco was intrigued by themes of sound, muteness and the body she found in the collection and these are central to both the display and new text. Esther Ferrer’s silent film Astonishment, Disdain, Pain and So On (2013) portrays a range of intense emotions through gesture and expression. Nearby can be heard the ‘clack clack’ of typewriter keys. Ignacio Uriarte’s (b. 1972, Germany) film The History of the Typewriter Recited by Michael Winslow (2009) presents Michael Winslow, an American actor with extraordinary vocal skills, recreating the sounds of 32 different typewriters using only his voice and two microphones to conjure an aural history of analogue writing.
Cindy Sherman’s Untitled #102 (1981) is a dramatically staged photographic self-portrait of a young woman poised on her haunches, here gazing inquisitively at the encounter between Ferrer and Uriarte’s protagonists. A concrete arch by Cristina Iglesias (b. 1956, Spain) provides an architectural portal into the display’s exploration of language, silence and space, whilst Alan Charlton’s mute grey monochromes entitled Painting in Ten Parts (1990) are intended to articulate the white wall through seriality and repetition.
The display marks the second in a four-part series in which internationally acclaimed authors explore Spain’s leading collection of contemporary art taking place over the course of a year. Founded in Barcelona in 1985, as the country emerged from a period of dictatorship, ”la Caixa” was the first institutional Spanish collection to focus on postwar contemporary art, with an aim to foster dialogue between Spanish and international art. It now includes more than 1,000 works by international artists across the mediums of painting, sculpture, photography, installation and film.
The short story ‘NINE QWERTY BELLS. Fiction for Live Voice (2019)’ imagines the artworks speaking at a conference in distinctive voices. It is published in the exhibition catalogue and available to read in the gallery or to purchase.
Whitechapel Gallery will present four exhibitions drawn from the ”la Caixa” Collection of Contemporary Art from 2019 – 2020, curated by Lydia Yee, Chief Curator, Whitechapel Gallery and Nimfa Bisbe, Head of the Contemporary Art Collection ”la Caixa”, with Candy Stobbs, Assistant Curator and Inês Costa, Exhibitions Assistant, Whitechapel Gallery. The second in a series of bilingual publications accompanying each display, an illustrated book will include a specially commissioned new piece of writing by Maria Fusco. An additional text by Spanish art critic and curator Neus Miró introduces readers to the history of video art in ” la Caixa Collecton”.
The second in a series of bilingual publications accompanying each display, anillustrated bookwill include a specially commissioned new piece of writing by Maria Fusco. An additional text by Spanish art critic and curator Neus Miró introduces readers to the history of video art in ” la Caixa Collecton”.
Maria Fusco Site: www.mariafusco.net/
”la Caixa” Collection of Contemporary Art Selected by Maria Fusco
8 May 2019 – 1 September 2019
Whitechapel Gallery, Gallery 7, Free Entry
Content & image © Whitechapelgallery / Ignacio Uriarte, The History of the Typewriter Recited by Michael Winslow, 2009 (detail), Video projection, colour, sound, 20:52 mins © DACS 2019