17 MAR - 04 JUN 2017
49 NORD 6 EST - FRAC LORRAINE - METZ (57)
The Shyness of the Crowns
Curator: Beatriz Alonso, laureate of the Award 2016 for Young Curators MARCO/Frac Lorraine/SFKM
Opening: March 16, 7–9pm, at 7.30 “484 Pulsations”, performance of Marta Fernández Calvo
Outbursts of solidarity, spontaneous mobilizations, and virtual micro-communities springing to life: now is the time to rethink the collective. Beatriz Alonso, the winner of the 2016 MARCO/49 Nord 6 Est/SFKM Award reminds us about the urgent need to reinvent oneself, to collectively imagine alternative forms of ‘living together’. Starting with ‘crown shyness’— a phenomenon observed in tree canopies— the Spanish curator uses this group exhibition to suggest artistic pathways leading to new participatory scenarios. Let’s enrich each other by respecting others and their differences.
Trees come together in the canopy to protect the ecosystem. They maintain common harmony even while preserving their individuality thanks to ‘crown shyness’. Transposed into our present societies, these interstices represent a space full of potential. This exhibition draws inspiration from this natural intelligence, as well as its limitations, to envision new modes of cohabitation. Beatriz Alonso invites us to explore alterity and reflect together on a society where everyone would have their place… without ever denying conflict, instability, or fragility. Participatory performances (Jiří Kovanda, Amalia Pica, Marta Fernández Calvo), exchange of popular lore (Lara Almarcegui, Jeremy Deller), invisible resistance (Cecilia Vicuña, Kader Attia), encounters with communities (Alex Reynolds, Dora García), shared intimate moments (Rita Ponce de León, Helena Almeida)… are a boarding call to a journey of otherness. A poetic and eminently intuitive approach to nature.
By participating in workshops, meetings, experiments, and other «round-the-world tables», you too are part in the collective. Get involved with 49 Nord 6 Est and help create a new future!
Coproduction: 49 Nord 6 Est, MARCO Museo de Arte Contemporánea de Vigo et SFKM-Sogn og Fjordane Kunstmuseum.
MARCO, Vigo (ES) : June 17 – January 18
SFKM, Førde (NO) : February – June 18
Beatriz Alonso (Madrid, 1981) is an independent curator and researcher based in Madrid. Upcoming projects include a cycle of specific proposals at Casa Museo Lope de Vega, Museo Casa Natal de Cervantes, Centro de interpretación de Nuevo Baztán and Museo Picasso Colección Eugenio Arias (Madrid). She has curated projects of different nature at independent and institutional spaces: Salón, CA2M, Sala de Arte Joven, La Casa Encendida (Madrid), MACBA (Barcelona), La Regenta (Las Palmas de Gran Canaria). She has been curator in residence at Lugar a dudas (Cali, CO), and researcher at Centre Pompidou and Musée du Louvre (Paris, FR).
A word from the curator
The Shyness of the Crowns
Is it feasible to promote new forms of living together beyond individualism and global competition, even if this objective seems almost unattainable? Are we capable of establishing links based on compromise, mutual commitment and cooperation without necessarily relinquishing our differences? What practical implementation, theoretical and symbolic positioning may we imagine in the midst of the current socio-political context governed as it by antagonism and division?
The shyness of the crowns is a botanical phenomenon in which trees define the limit of their growth, thereby allowing their harmonious coexistence in the canopy. Among the large body of research conducted on such awareness in trees, our point of departure is a study focused on their internal communication system. Through the exchange of chemical signals, they guard against the occurrence of diseases, of environmental stress, or simply delimit their own breathing space in harmony with other trees. These infrastructures within the vegetation create ‘shyness gaps’ which allow the trees to agree, for instance, on letting the light through, while preventing the intrusion of elements that are harmful to group living: such channel-like gaps might be construed in this context as spaces of possibility.
The poetical observation of this phenomenon challenges some of the modern views according to which nature is hegemonic and the fittest prevails in the fight for survival. To bring it into the human domain, this collective intelligence, this concern for the common good, could be put into perspective with our contemporaneous existence and remind us of the urgent need to take action — as members of a society — with a view to creating an ecosystem in which relationships, encounters and exchanges can always emerge from synergies. In doing so, it challenges the justification of wild competition within our current socio-economic framework.
Bearing in mind the potential of such metaphor, this exhibition engages with artistic practices that promote or make visible new scenarios devoted to living together and learning from one another while still accepting our otherness and our differences. To review the concept of community, through works of art that contribute to a broader understanding of what it entails (yet without denying the existence of conflict, instability or fragility). To set out on a quest for new horizons, building on our complexities, contradictions and weaknesses to live side by side and produce more subtle and flexible bonds with others in order to become stronger together. To this end, the exhibition highlights a stronger sense of connection with nature, coupled with more intuitive and poetic learning methodologies.
The works presented include, among others, actions which invite the public to participate both in and outside of 49 Nord 6 Est – Frac Lorraine, videos showing daily forms of sharing in existing communities and photographs that evidence the exchange of popular knowledge as well as relationships concerning and directly with nature. The whole forms a ‘social sculpture’, which may remind us of the feeling of solidarity that can be found during grassroots sit-ins and marches, where communication with others goes beyond words and finds its fullest expression in the union of bodies. We now face the challenge of dreaming and building, in a joint effort, genuine spaces of critique, desire and transformation, while taking into account not only what brings us together but also what separates us. Why not start from a radical imaginary, or even a tale, if it provides a means to our end?