Juegos reunidos, 2022. Gamebox board with a watercolour and gouasche intervention, 37 x 58 cm
MANUEL ANTONIO DOMÍNGUEZ: JUEGOS REUNIDOS
From February 11 to April 14, 2023
Juegos reunidos. Instruction manual.
1. We have always needed a gathering place, where we can meet, feel, touch, share… and play.
2. When we get together with other people to play, we create a collective entity, a place to unleash our imagination, have fun and take refuge. It is about escaping in different ways from realities and everyday routines that oppress us and anchor us to society, hence the question of focusing on playfulness, something that avoids the boring, the repetitive and the hegemonic. That is to say, game implies the creation of moments breaking the established obligatory nature and create another space, a different one.
3. Collective or gathering games (which are the ones we are concerned with here) also function as initiation rites. The first time we face a game we have to learn how to play, learn the rules, know how to use them and how far we can stretch them. We can learn them by ourselves or have them explained by others (at this point you will have realised that this instruction manual will be of little use to you), but in most cases it is always better to learn the rules by playing, by throwing ourselves into practice, seeing and assimilating strategies and codes as well as the other players, winning or losing, seeing if it compensates or not, if it is fun or boring for us, but always gaining experience and creating and sharing, because at the end of the day, that is the objective of group games, the fact of sharing, of creating community.
4. These games also work on several metaphorical levels. Games always teach us something, either about ourselves or about others. Team games tell us about confrontations, battles (a clear example of this is the level of confrontation that some of these sports, such as football, reach), but also about cooperation and support among team members. They are also a reflection of society mechanisms, Monopoly shows how capitalism works, but we can also read Goose, Snakes and Ladders or Parcheesi as a reflection of decisions we have to make, of ascents and falls, of advances and setbacks, of death and life, of losing and winning and the arbitrariness of chance.
5. The collected games presented here by Manuel Antonio Domínguez are inserted in all of the above. They are based on a series of encounters both with people and with the games themselves that shape the shown works. These boards from Juegos Reunidos, which are part of the pieces, were found through a random search (in that dichotomy of search and luck) in the Madrid flea market and, as in previous works by the artist, Manuel Antonio decided to use and intervene them to speak to us about his current situation. He decided this way to place himself at the centre of these games, initiating a search but, at the same time, letting himself be carried away.
6. In the works, the games themselves operate on different levels, starting from metaphor and irony and multiplicity of readings, the artist twists the question of the game and its signifier and meaning into multiple layers. This is how the whole poetics and the particular imaginary present in Manuel Antonio’s artistic production takes shape. We can intuit encounters and failed meetings, love and disaffection, substances, sex, absences, travels, Huelva, Madrid and Valencia, questioning, failures and learning…
7. As in the game of the Lynx, we have to search among all the objects and characters in his precious watercolours, but unlike in this game, here we are not required to be quick, but on the contrary, we are invited to get lost, to try to learn the rules that govern the work.
8. In the end it’s all about a game and finding ourselves in it…