The MACBA, Museum of Contemporary art of Barcelona, is holding, until the 31 of January 2016 an exposition called species of spaces.
The exposition wants to achieve a visualization of the book of Georges Perec with the same name, as a free interpretation through a series of art pieces.
Observer la rue, de temps en temps, peut-être avec un souci un peu systématique.
S’appliquer. Prendre son temps.
Noter le lieu : la terrasse d’un café près du carrefour Bac-Saint-Germain
l’heure : sept heures du soir
la date 15 mai 1973
le temps : beau fixe
Noter ce que l’on voit. Ce qui se passe de notable. Sait-on voir ce qui est notable ? Y a-t-il quelque chose qui nous frappe ?
Rien ne nous frappe. Nous ne savons pas voir.
Extract of Georges Pérec, Espèces d’Espaces
Georges Pérec (Paris, 1936 – Ivry-sur-Seine, 1982) was a writer from the XXth century very well known for his experimental way of writing, mainly using classification as a leading subject of his work. One of his most famous, and impressing, writings is his 300 pages novel “La disparition”, which is completely narrated without using the letter e, the most common one in the French language. In “la vie mode d’emploi”, he explores the stories and ideas of the inhabitants of a Parisian block.
“Espèces d’Espaces”, published in 1974, is an exploration of the different spaces of the human life in every dimension, from the blank page to the sidereal space passing through the urban space. He dissects the different spaces where human life develops itself, from the most private and intimate to the most vast and public.
In this promotional video from the MACBA museum we can take a look to the general organization of the exposition and the character it wants to transmit to the visitor.
The exhibition is organized in two main conceptual blocks: the private space, which narrates our intimate life, and the public space, that goes from the city to the world and space. The exposition creates, in this way, a relation between art and city, between concept and reality, public and space. These two blocks are built through a combination of fragments, related in the visiting space but conceptually offering very different views which combined act as a whole transmitting an idea of the frame of our life.
The private space is organized in a sequence that starts with the page to after concentrate on the bed, the room, the apartment, building, the street and the neighbourhood in this order. The organisation of this part of the exposition is made though a series of small rooms, cubicles, connected at some points. The visitor can wander and relate different works displayed as a mirror to his real life and the place his private spaces would take in the exposition.
On the other hand, the public space area is characterized for having a single room instead of compartments. Therefore, it is displayed as a progression of pieces from different artists with the aim of translating the life of an individual in the public sphere from the field to the space.
The works displayed come from three main sources. Firstly, the ones created specifically for the exhibition, secondly, works coming from public and private collections and, finally, those coming directly from the MACBA collection.
The intention is not to create a narrative of the book of Georges Pérec but to take is as a guide, as an instructions manual from where to find the guidelines to build and assemble the exposition. More than 50 works of art are, therefore, put together to achieve a combination of artists, techniques, conceptions and formats. It is a blending and a contraposition at the same time that puts the visitor in a reflecting mood and observing disposition.
It is this frame of mind which becomes interesting for architects as, on one side, makes every regular person visiting the exhibition reflect about the space as an architect could or should do and, on the other side, makes the architect able to transport his regular reflexions to the field of art, more conceptual than the architecture practice. In any case, it forces everybody to put itself in another state of mind regarding the built, or not built, space and reflect about its characteristics, layers and conceptions.
Finally, it is also interesting to consider the implications of the separation made between private and public space, something architects tend to analyse quite often while designing in relation with the context. The blurry line that splits the two spatial blocks is never easy to place in a specific point. In some cultures, the separation between the public part of the house and its private one is very clear and affects directly the house main organisation and ground plan. At the same time, the house is a private location inside a building with a communitarian character, which is also more private than the street, at it is belonging to a group of inhabitants. This progressive scale from the most private to the most public could probably coninue endlessly, however, the main question still stands. When adressing architecture and urbanism, how could we distinguish what is public and private and for who in each case? And, of course, how can this distinction help us with our design process to achieve an architecture more attentive with the concept of space related with the individual?
Artists displayed: Ignasi Aballí, Lara Almarcegui, Serafín Álvarez, Martí Anson, Marcel Broodthaers, Luz Broto, stanley brouwn, Victor Burgin, Luis Camnitzer, Azahara Cerezo/Mario Santamaria, Joan Colom, Jordi Colomer, Guy Debord, Pep Duran, Andrés Fernández, León Ferrari, Lucio Fontana, Dora García, Gego, Joan Hernández Pijuan, Francisco Ibáñez, Marla Jacarilla, Adrià Julià, Emma Kay, Guillermo Kuitca, Manolo Laguillo, MAIO, Gordon Matta-Clark, Ester Partegàs, Lois Patiño, Gerhard Richter, Humberto Rivas, Pedro G. Romero, Gino Rubert, Francesc Ruiz, Edward Ruscha, Daniel Steegmann Mangrané, Saul Steinberg i Ignacio Uriarte.
Curator: Frederic Montornés
Production: Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona
Author: Glòria Serra Coch