Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León
Dates: June 17, 2017 – January 7, 2018
Artists: Basurama, Luna Bengoechea Peña, Joseph Beuys, Juanli Carrión, Jacobo Castellano, Carma Casula, Agnes Denes, Nicole Dextras, Bárbara Fluxa, Regina José Galindo, Nilo Gallego / Felipe Quintana, Fernando García-Dory, Andy Goldsworthy, Newton & Helen Mayer Harrison, Basia Irland, Patricia Johanson, Maider López, Lucia Loren, Ana Mendieta, Pablo Milicua, Fina Miralles, Santiago Morilla, Vik Muniz, Amor Muñoz, Xavi Muñoz, Teresa Murak, Katie Paterson, Herman Prigann, Vegonha Rodríguez, Adolfo Schlosser, Alan Sonfist, Hiroshi Sunairi, Juan Zamora
Curatorship: Blanca de la Torre
Hybris, wishes to encourage a rethinking on the potential of art as a tool for action as well as for subjectification in relation to the environmental concerns of today. The show creates a landscape that speaks to political, economic and social ecology based on the gazes of around forty international, national and local artists, all of them contributing, in one way or another, to a rethinking on how to maintain the balance of the ecosystem, whether by working with nature through gestures that have more to do with the symbolic or else by searching for some kind of more tangible impact. In their works, both the content as well as the form speak of ecology from an eco-aesthetic approach that goes beyond a simple critique of the well-known consequences caused by climate change. The exhibition adopts a respectful attitude to the environment, in a response to the hubris characterising the present, with the goal of seeking alternatives that will help to bring about a paradigm shift and to collaborate towards a more habitable future for everybody.
The primary focus of Hybris is to adopt a different approach to art’s relationship with ecology and sustainability, two highly questionable concepts due to the increasingly more prevalent greenwashing techniques used by many corporations and businesses. Having said that, the exhibition engages with the approaches of Felix Guattari, for whom ecology questions the overall subjectivity and formations of capitalist power. In the foundation of his ecosophical theory, with The Three Ecologies, the French philosopher introduced the inextricable interconnection and articulation of three areas: the environment, the social, and human subjectivity.
To this end, and with the purpose of undertaking a project coherent with this approach, the methodology for the curatorial selection was deliberately conditioned by the ways of working, with the goal of reinforcing the solidness of the project and to open a door to a search for other more ethical ways of consuming. A number of guidelines were decided on, such as criteria of closeness in the selection and ecological footprint in the transport of the works, the use of environmental materials and processes, recycling of exhibition materials and mechanisms, a refusal to build walls, etc. Hybris wishes to rethink possible alternatives to tackle the destruction of the environment, and proposes an approach to art as a way of adopting
A POSSIBLE APPROACH TO ECOAESTHETICS
a position towards a reality, as a means of protest and awareness-raising that opens a path towards a possible ecological aesthetic. Art must contribute to the public debate on politics of sustainability, developing creative proposals that—both in form and content—put forward alternative forms of working with the environment fairly and sustainably, ranging from the symbolic to the practical.
The exhibition is divided into three chapters, each one of which is further divided into two thematic sections that rather than being designed to act in parallel, are continuously intertwined, against an overall backdrop that wishes to recover the relationship between ethics and aesthetics. These formal divisions are conceived to bring to the table some of the most pressing environmental concerns: the destruction of the environment, deforestation, pollution, how to manage consumer habits and residues, the use of genetically modified organisms and food sovereignty, the importance of preserving indigenous cultures, contamination of water and the extinction of autochthonous species, and so on.
The first chapter, called SOLUTIONS, has two sections: the first one addresses what we could call “practices of recovery”, for instance Restorationist Aesthetics, Remediation Art or Land Reclamation, but at once is intrinsically related with the second section, Ecovention, two categories that are characterized by offering practical solutions to environmental problems. In the first case, the artists usually work with specific contexts, generally contaminated spaces, degraded areas or abandoned industries, while the second showcases creations not necessarily associated with a specific place.
The following chapter, REUTILIZATIONS, includes, on one hand, artists who work with found, recycled and waste materials as well as those who use natural materials as the basis for their artistic creations. Found materials, both from urban settings as well as from nature, speak to an attitude in consonance with non-consumerism, degrowth, and the importance of working with “what is already there”. Finally, the third chapter, ACTIONS, exhibits works related with performance and other collaborative practices.
It is important to underscore the permeability of the boundaries between the different chapters outlined here and rethink the idea of nature and the environment in a more holistic and inclusive fashion, where natural and urban landscapes meet and mix and where the spheres mentioned in relation to Guattari are taken into account.