Hell is a place where memory is dead
September 21 until October 21, 2009
Monday, September 21st Galleria Artra and PLAY_platform for film & video present the exhibition of the Spanish artist Alejandro Vidal. With the exhibition Hell is a place where memory is dead Vidal is back again in Milan after his exhibition Un tiro a todos los diablos that in 2004, has made him known to the Italian public.
With this exhibition Galleria Artra began a collaboration with PLAY that after years of activity in Berlin, is now based in Italy *.
Controversial for an aesthetic of violence, outrageous and stylish at the same time, Alejandro Vidal has produced in recent years, photographic series and videos that are now found in major international exhibitions. Rave and techno scenarios, the emotional punk-rock community, rituals of fight and self-defense, urban tribes with shaved heads and tattoos, black metal costumes and ambiguously sexual poses, are part of the visual spectrum of his work. A collection of fallen heroes comes to that challenge in a face to face with the viewer with hockey sticks in hand, leather gloves, guns, and swords between their teeth.
But if one believed to capture in these images fragments of life, reality or documents, it will be wrong. Everyone there is nothing but signs. Stereotypes rather than real characters. Codes of behavior rather than subversive actions. Nothing but rules instead of their transgression. Everything is carefully studied ,every detail is carefully calculated: pose, clothing, accessories, location, close-ups and out-of-focus. To Alejandro Vidal is a kind of theater within the theater. Manipulate only what has already been manipulated to reveal the artifice and bring the image to its limits. But the object of his research is not the "simulacrum" or, to put in Paul Virilio words, the media derealization of the experience as such.
The criticism of representation that Alejandro Vidal explores is not simply the commodification of information. What is new is that in recent years, terror has become a semiotic commodity. The quantity of images of terror and fear from which we are invested, so as to define a new aesthetic of violence, starting from 9 / 11, put the scene repeatedly in a dominant discourse that is functional under a political and military perspective. The development of a capitalist society of emergency and security - as the current one - based on the economy of information. Far from a speech on the innocence or an iconographic guilt, the "theater" of Vidal is pursuing a progressive disqualification of the image as such.
More than in his other works, the project presented at Artra, bring into the light signs that clearly reveal their abstract and convencional nature. Directly related to the contemporary decadence of modern democracy, the exhibition Hell is a place where memory is dead is focus on the relationship between the collapse of a sense of national belonging (as well as its language) and a claim and question mark about the rights for sovereignty of the state. A huge stinged Italian flag welcomes the audience into the first room and a series of photographs of a latin american popular protest ritual of hand washing a flag. In conclusion, the screening of a great fireworks display that is discovered to be a real bombardment.
Alejandro Vidal (Palma de Mallorca, Spain 1972) lives and works in Barcelona. He has exhibited his work at numerous internacional museums and centres such as Kunsthalle Winterthur in Switzerland, Fundació La Caixa in Barcelona, Palazzo delle Papesse, Sienna; Schrin Kunsthalle in Frankfurt ,The Museum of Contemporary Art of Taipei, MIS in Sao Paulo, Da2 in Salamanca, Kling & Bang in Reykiavik or Mambo in Bologna . He took part in the Biennial of Busan (South Korea) in 2006. Recently he has exhibited at Galeria Joan Prats in Barcelona, Elba Benitez in Madrid, Galerie Thomas Schulte and Play Platform for Film and Video in Berlin and Monitor in Rome. He is now preparing a solo exhibition at Participant Inc in New York among other upcoming projects.
* PLAY cease its activities in Berlin in 2008 with the exhibition of Alejandro Vidal "Dance like a fool, walk like a king." Play_platform for film & video is now active in Milan. Our collaborations with the Galleria Artra in Milan are dating from the time in Berlin.