Exhibition title: Anatomy of lightness (and its turbulences)
Curator: Marta Mantecón
Dates: 06.07.2017 to 01.10.2017
Place: CAAM – San Antonio Abad. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Spain.
Hours: Tuesday to Saturday from 10am to 9pm. and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Produce: Centro Atlántico de Arte Moderno. Cabildo de Gran Canaria
When Italo Calvino proposed lightness as the first of his Memos for the Next Millennium, he could never have imagined how much this concept would be echoed in the present day. In opposition to the heaviness and the gravity of the world, lightness and its numerous derivations (the ephemeral, the immaterial, the fluid, the superficial and the hedonistic) have taken over as a reaction to the weight of existence, at times crushing our sense of the real.
The effects of contemporary globalisation, neoliberalism and hyperindividualism have given way to a civilisation obsessed with immediacy of availability, idolatry of novelty, seduction of appearances, obsolescence of goods and, especially, the democratisation of consumption that is light, quick, disposable and easily exchanged. We are heading ever closer to Leonia, the invisible city Italo Calvino imagined, whose opulence was measured by the things thrown out each day to make room for the new. What has been termed “the revolution of lightness” has infiltrated into every part of our lives on which the global economy turns: renewable energies, light products, nanotechnology, mobile devices, online relationships… All of this has produced a new phenomenon similar to what is known in physics as a state of turbulence, characterised by increasing uncertainty, disorientation and restlessness. Gilles Lipovetsky explains that, paradoxically, lightness has ended up nurturing the spirit of heaviness of this era, which is suffused with a new sense of gravity despite our unceasing attempts to throw off our burdens and take flight.
In a world that has opted for lightness as a life essential, how can we give shape to lightness? How do we experience the weight of things? Has art lost its ability to make the durable in the transient visible? Can it still rebel against new forms of domination through lightness?
Problematising these questions is the starting point of this joint proposal of four multidisciplinary essays on lightness and some of its contradictions. The journey begins with the utopia suggested in “Axis Mundi”, a project by Tito Pérez Mora about the dematerialisation of flags as centres of gravity and identity icons on which the world is structured and ordered. Canary Islands artist Esther Aldaz addresses the oscillation of stability in Tallar la decepción (Sculpting disappointment), the tale of a journey on a boat anchored in the port of Las Palmas for 28 days. Antonio Díaz Grande takes an in-depth look at the reformative dimension of gender in Contrapose (Counterpose), an ironic study of how social behaviour is shaped by culture and choreographed from childhood. Zuhar Iruretagoiena, in Hebra (Thread), explains how we build or weave our imagination, in a reflection about the ability to create an image from certain structural elements which, a priori, have been conceived only to respond to formal requirements.