From December 17, 2022 to January 31, 2023
WHOSE LANGUAGE IS IT?
FOUR FOOTNOTES ON A VIDEO BY AMANDA BAGGS
A Manu Blázquez, Fermín Jiménez Landa, Xisco Mensua and Luisa Pastor exhibition, curated by Pilar Ortí del Toro
It is only when I write something in your language, that you refer to me as someone who communicates (…) Amanda Baggs
Those who were seen dancing, were considered mad by those who could not hear the music. Henri Bergson (more or less)
With very little time to react, a number of artists were invited to watch the well-known and controversial video In My Language by Amanda or Amelia Baggs, who answers to both names. They had to produce some work, or search through that already done to answer, annotate or applaud the complex question she asks us, or perhaps better, the report she makes very clearly: whose language is it? why are some forms of approach or participation in the world (yours) useful and mine are not? am I not also a thinking being?
Not all the artists resisted the challenge, lack of time or subject distance made it difficult for them; some stayed and some other daring one joined in at the last minute. Perhaps the most foolish, the most imprudent, the most clever or the most dutiful followed. Or those who, through their work, question the canonical, the normative, the dominant discourses. Or those who have simply felt misunderstood or unknown or puzzled in front of the world. I don’t know, it doesn’t matter, it was simply an invitation, and there were four who kindly and cleverly set to work and made this project a reality.
Manu Blázquez: Linia d’argento, 2022. Etching P/A, 16 x 25 cm
Manu Blázquez set the rules that brought order to his creative system to oscillate. Squares like a cuckoo clock. The unstable order. And in the air of a fan he invented a new cinematograph. Prodigy of a world in search of new similarities. Fermín Jiménez Landa set a machine to listen to a poet, Miguel Hernández, to a painter, Frida Kahlo, and to a haughty and elusive old god, Don Ramón de las barbas de chivo – as he called Valle-Inclán, Rubén Darío. And the machine told him what it knew about that, and he told us. And the discourse, which dreamed itself to be true, which wanted to be faithfully reproduced, gradually was adapted. It became something else. Perhaps more of each of us. Perhaps nobody’s, perhaps everybody’s. Or just a nonsense. And Luisa Pastor who goes and builds, from account books, fragile paper architectures, senseless geometries, of an illegible writing, (as she says us Roland Barthes said). Poetic transformation, of the countable, of the measurable, of the practical, towards the useless. (As if useless were useless). To Xisco Mensua on the school blackboard and with the volatile knowledge of chalk, everything said starts to dissolve. A written sentence, an erased sentence. A written sentence, an erased sentence. And so it seems that knowledge is carried away by time (or words by the wind). And what was said to us, and what we said, which belongs to its author and you and me, to everyone and no one, will be said again, not to forget it, to keep it «in mind», as we would say in this market-world. Like a photograph taken against time. And then he shows us four drawings, four dancers in an eccentric posture, a dull body, a language of its own. I refer to the quote attributed to Bergson at the head of this text: Those who were seen dancing…
Luisa Pastor: Trazos #1 y #2, 2022, deconstruction of handwritten accounting sheets from 1895, on «Museum» Ultra Smooth Matte paper 310 gr, 43 x 31 cm
All of them, I believe, have been poetically discussing the canonical, the dominant and the normative, which in bodies, in knowledge, in language, must be questioned. «Normality is the problem» could have been a subtitle for this project. Fortunately the contemporary art language, often understood as distant from «real», works to open up new paths in expression, understanding or communication. That’s why Whose language is it? is going to continue in the gallery’s showcase, as a space of openness between art and life, where we will be exhibiting the result of successive re-readings of Manu Blázquez, Fermín Jiménez Landa, Xisco Mensua and Luisa Pastor works by others, who belong to a collective unfairly grouped around the debatable concept of «functional diversity». Just as they reacted to Amanda Baggs’ video. We thus close a circle, or rather we simply continue walking the infinite freedom path that blurred limits of art language open up for a diverse understanding of the world.
Fermín Jiménez Landa: El esposo soldado, El telar y la alondra, Bocabúdica, 2022. Marker on Fabriano Tiziano paper 160 gr, 50 x 65 cm
Amanda Baggs asked her question from the strangeness and discrimination that someone diagnosed with autism can feel, but her radical questioning is something that concerns us all. Maurice Blanchot said it with his usual poetic clarity:
Language, in the world, is, par excellence, power. Who speaks is the powerful and the violent. Naming is this violence that sets aside what is named in order to have it under the comfortable form of a name.
Xisco Mensua: Nadie puede saber como es la noche, 2022. Edition 1/3 + P/A. 21-piece polyptych of 30 x 22 cm each one.
Gallery pictures: Raúl Belinchón
CV Manu Blázquez CV Fermín Jiménez Landa