Wednesday I had an email inviting me to a press conference for the major new IVAM exhibition CONFINES/FRONTIERS. I had heard about it several weeks ago when a lady from New York emailed me to tell me she was visiting Valencia with her family to witness the opening of which her son son was one of the artists in the Robert Wilson section. They all wanted to know what else they should see whilst visiting. I emailed the lady back with architectural and monumental information and asked her to expand a little on this exhibition. I got a very polite thanks and very little additional information on the show. It turns out that the exhibition is to celebrate 20 years of IVAM. It is a major undertaking as it fills four of the main galleries, in Consuelo Ciscar's words 'a risky undertaking' . Four exhibitions with one common theme, Frontiers , or the lack of them. There are a total of 76 contemporary artists in the exhibition(s), each 'chapter' is themed and has a separate curator. The present director of IVAM Consuelo Ciscar takes joint responsibility with Italian Vincenzo Trione for 'Stories of Confinement' and literally takes the line as a starting point, featuring works from artists such as Rothko, Sanleón and Tapies.
'Geography of Confinement - Powers of Ten', curated by Aaron Betsky takes its premise from the minute to the enormous and features some marvelous work from 31 artists including painting, sculpture, electronics and architecture. Stand outfor me were the enormous 'patchwork' of bottletops and the skeletal Huey , Duey and Louie.
'Wrinkles in time' is a video installations exhibition curated by art critics Robert Storr and Francesca Pettropaolo who previously worked together as curators at the Venice Biennial. They took as their theme 'what happens when you are deprived of control of time? I was convinced that there would be some reference to Vonnegut's Billy Pilgrim, but their wasn't. An amusing part of this was several screens of politicians NOT saying anything..
Finally the dazzling 'Visions of Confinement' curated by the multi-disciplinary artist Robert Wilson. His presentation to the press was a revelation, he is a natural and gifted storyteller who I could have listened to all day. He also solved the mystery of who my emailer was. Chris Knowles is an autistic poet and artist that Wilson befriended in the seventies and they have collaborated on several projects over the years. It is Chris's voice you here as you enter the blacked out entrance hall to the 'Visions' exhibition. Wilson arrived some days before the opening and decided the exhibition was a too tidy and ordered it to be messed up a little...It is certainly messed up a little, amazing to be able to walk on and over exhibits. This is like almost no other art exhibition you will have seen. My only worry is that it just will not survive the four months or so it is on intact.
Confines/Frontiers is on until November. It is a thought provoking and fascinating exhibition. A visual feast. There is something here for everyone.
STOP PRESS, STOP PRESS, STOP PRESS