ana barriga - bailas - le bastart

Is the game over?

Even the most princely doll becomes a capable proletarian comrade in the children’s play commune (Walter Benjamin, “Old Toys” 1928) During our childhood, we have all eviscerated a stuffed animal or disemboweled a toy. Baudelaire interpreted this impulse as a “first metaphysical tendency”: the child looks for the soul of his doll, but when he does not find it, sadness or stupor ensues. What Walter Benjamin would reply to the French poet is that the soul […]

josep tornero - falena - le bastart

Josep Tornero, moths at night

Moths, those butterflies that have a tendency to get lost, that feel a fatal attraction by light to the point of being burned to death, seem to us disturbing creatures. Their scorched wings remind us of Icarus’ suicidal impulse. On the other hand, perhaps they look to us unsettlingly familiar because we do nothing but flit around blinding electronic lights. Moths have fascinated writers and poets. The glimmer of light they leave in their wake […]

bas jan ader - too sad caixaforum - le bastart

Semiotics of passions in CaixaForum Barcelona

Darwin considered that letting out one’s emotions was something inappropriate for “civilized” men. Instead, crying was proper for weak personalities, that is, women with a hysterical tendency, senile old men and children, as well as “primitive” people. But, in spite of his andro and Eurocentric blindness, Darwin study of the phylogenetic transmission of behaviors and expressions influenced a thinker who would revolutionize the way of reading images and approaching the history of art, Aby Warburg. […]

checas psicotecnicas - mnac - le bastart

Ornament and crime. Pyco-technic and avant-garde torture

When a subject carries such a devastating intensity as it was to turn modern art into a tool of torture, it is likely that any exposition about it will defraud us. But it can also happen that, as in Pedro G Romero‘s “Room”, the playful lightening of the weight of History predisposes us to more flexible and audacious readings, freed from moral servitudes and invented truths. During the Spanish civil war, the checas were centers of detention […]

coleccion ramon sarro - art brut - le bastart

Undisciplined art in disciplinary architecture

During the 19th century, panoptic architecture applied to prisons became gradually widespread in Europe, prisons in which the feeling of being watched by the eye that sees all would implant a sort of censoring chip inside each prisoner. When Barcelona hosted the Universal Exhibition, in 1888, it closed basements and dungeons and also opened its model prison. It is said that at the beginning it was known as hotel entença (the street name) because it was […]

cristina toledo - grief - le bastart

Cristina Toledo, hidden plots into the images

Historian Aby Warburg urged his contemporaries to read the images as symptoms, no longer as symbols or as signifiers. The symptomatic emerges when a choreographic substrate (gestures, emotions …) articulates unconscious relations between them. Today, in a world saturated with images without context or entity, transversal readings are even more necessary. Cristina Toledo, in her painting, strips the black and white surfaces of vintage photographs she finds on the internet, to rescue latencies captured in […]

lorenza bottner - venus de milo - le bastart

Lorenza Böttner: the fall, the flight

It happened returning from school, along the road so many times traveled. He walked beneath a power-line when he saw a feather falling, and before it reached the ground Ernst had already climbed to the top, searching the nest. He was fascinated by birds. There were the pigeons, but the sudden arrival of their mother frightened him. He grabbed the cables to avoid falling and the electric shock caused him an irreparable damage. He was […]

margaret harrison - guernica aleppo - le bastart

Margaret Harrison, humor and courage

London was a hotbed of dissent and underground activity at the end of the sixties, and when it came to surface it was like burning lava. Miss World 1970 will be remembered not so much for the award-winning beauties but for the rain of stink bombs and leaflets on the Royal Albert Hall stage, and for the banners with which young feminists expressed their rejection of that cattle market. Among the activists, there was one […]