Matt Mullican, Julião Sarmento, Lawrence Weiner - Una colección privada




Una colección privada


Colective exhibition curated by David Barro

DIDAC, Santiago de Compostela

11.02.2023 - 29.04.2023

A private collection that is neither grandiloquent nor extravagant, that does not revolve around a single specific theme and that has remained unpublished until now. Its discreet condition is directly proportional to its level of exigency and complexity, being able to tell too much without telling too little.

Robert Musil says, in a note for an essay, that this sort of paradox was the basis for the two typical objections that were made to him. It is not difficult to think of his best-known novel The Man Without Attributes, in which too little is actually told. His protagonist is a man of science, intelligent, highly reflective and discreet, who, far from what we might suppose, is not only not lacking in qualities, but possesses a large number of attributes that he simply does not display gratuitously. The description is not far from the one we could make about the protagonist of this collection who, with his life partner, undertook an adventure in the form of a parallel action: to walk through the world of art with the complicity of those who are capable of placing him in one of the highest places on their scale of values.

It seems no coincidence that one of the works in this collection is a huge painting on canvas by Portuguese artist Joao Louro, which represents the cover of Musil's aforementioned book. Prior to this series of covers, Louro had presented his Blind Images where he offered a text to the viewer, who could not access the image, leaving the work open and available to the viewer. In The Man Without Qualities #3 it is the book, with its title and the author's name, but without the content. It is about unraveling the world and apprehending the conceptual intricacies of art and life, because what is truly interesting is not approaching the work of art to see the work itself, but the world through the work, being that nuance in which the raison d'être of this collection is based, in which there is no subject that has not been meditated, scrutinized or discussed with the thoroughness of the demanding amateur, in the words of Ana Jotta of the "professional lover".

It was with this attitude that this collection began in 1986, which became increasingly demanding over time. Without a precise direction at the beginning of the journey, like Musil's writing, it took a more singular and personal course in an instinctive way, questioning itself and always understanding itself as an unfinished work, with the courage of one who is not afraid of the unfathomable, of entering again and again into undiscovered worlds. Because the first thing to understand about a collection is that it is something constantly alive, an emotional extension of those who have structured and thought about it, of those who have worked and cultivated it and of those who continue to do so. I am thinking of Melik Ohanian's work, capable of meditating on the consequences of the world without specific indications, seeking to make the viewer speculate and reflect until he anticipates his relationship with the world: Tomorrow Was.

This work, one of the last to integrate this collection, speaks to us of fragments of life. Like Musil's writing, it is a story that creates itself, that never goes backwards, even if it moves forward looking in the rearview mirror, that will always be in suspense, like all those mysterious objects that, as suspensive points, appear in many of the works in this particular collection, from Vivian Maier to Carmen Calvo. A book, a shoe, a bag... The same could be said of the colors enunciated by Ignasi Aballí or the conceptual ideas of Lawrence Weiner. This collection is something like an open work, like trying to penetrate the mind of another, to enter into the life of others as an uncertain possibility, to transport oneself to the other side. Hence, many of the selected works are based on that logic, from Phil Collins to Nan Goldin, from Nobuyoshi Araki to Paul Graham, from Juliao Sarmento to Hilla Kurki. Because if some works lead us to contemplation, from Berta Cáccamo to Soledad Sevilla; others are more in the field of the gaze, such as Robert Mapplethorpe's photography or Merlin Carpenter's painting.

Trying to cover a particular collection in an exhibition is an impossible task, although we can apprehend some of its stories: those that speak to us of concepts; those that lead us to the mystery of objects; the landscapes that, as in the work of Cristina Garrido, are as many and as rich in nuances as we want to project; those that immerse us in abstract values; or those that lead us to the universe of otherness. Everything fits in the kaleidoscopic universe of a private collection, especially when it is the product of two attentive glances. Because that is how it happened.

David Barro

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