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What's on in Barcelona
It's not just about Sónar and Primavera Sound. For an unforgettable year of music, art and cultural experiences, follow Time Out's guide to festivals and events. The coming months promise an endless array of events showcasing the best in Catalan and international culture - from hip hop and documentary filmmaking to religious and traditional celebrations. Plan your year here.
This week and beyond
- Rated as: 4/5
When I heard about it for the first time, I frowned. Eight unemployed people choose an object from their everyday life and a piece of art in the permanent collection at the MACBA. The process is photographed in the people's homes by Francesc Torres, whose idea it was. When the same contributors get to the MACBA, film-maker Mercedes Álvarez is on hand to shoot the second phase. Finally everything is exhibited: photos of the unemployed, the object they chose, the art they chose from the museum, and the film of the process. Why '25%'? Because that's the percentage of unemployed. 'Again with the exploitation of social criticism,' I said to myself, 'an experiment using the disadvantaged and calling it art.' But lest we forget that Francesc Torres is behind all this, a man with exquisite taste and a background in the conceptual and a man of exquisite taste, less harsh than Muntadas and more incisive than Eugenia Balcells ... The conceptual finesse is extraordinary: it draws a parallel between concepts such as the labour market and the art market, job value and artistic value, the value of use and of change. We monetize everything, even affection. And this show, wrapped in a cold hard percentage, reveals the underlying humanity. Eight people tell their personal story, and we can identify with them. They choose a work of art from the same perspective that they have chosen an object from their home, for strictly personal and non-quantifiable reasons. It's art that goes beyond theories
His watercolors and paintings were branded as 'ethnographic' because of the degree of realism and truth they conveyed. Josep Tapiró was able to capture the characters and rituals of a disappearing Tangier. Thirty works of the artist who discovered Morocco at the hand of Fortuny, and who many consider one of the best Orientalists of the 19th century, are on exhibition at the MNAC to give Josep Tapiró th place in art history he deserves.
- Rated as: 4/5
An ocean of data ('Hello world!', an installation of 5,000 personal video diaries downloaded from the Internet), a sea of information ('Thingful.net', a system for discovering connected objects around us), rivers of references (basic vocabulary: algorithm, geolocation, prediction, pattern) and graphics ('Submarine Cable Map', marking the fibre-optic system that connects the world) attempt to explain what Big Data means. For some it's the new oil, a source of inexhaustible wealth; for others it's a tool of social control. What is certain is that the metaphor of the cloud, an ethereal place where all our tweets, passwords and photos go, is quite misleading: it's more like a tangle of wires and sensors that could literally encircle the globe, and large containers have been built to preserve the content._Big Bang Data is a dense and complex exhibition, in the amount of material presented. It's a panopticon on the storage of information (in 2009 alone as much data was produced as in the whole history of humankind leading up to then) that leaves us facing the abyss of a big question. We have created a technology ready for archiving information about ourselves and our surroundings, but we haven't been able (yet) to agree on certain uses, to establish rules for our own protection, as citizens and consumers, against the dangers of this creation.
- CCCB. Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona Montalegre, 5, El Raval, 08001
- Fri May 9 - Sun Oct 26
- Rated as: 4/5
Kerry James Marshall is an African American artist who's almost unheard of in Spain. But that's about to change now he's exhibiting a new retrospective at Madrid's Reina Sofía as well as his most recent paintings, videos, sculptures, drawings and installations at Barcelona's Tàpies Foundation. By the second half of the 1970s Marshall had a notion, through television series, of the Jewish Holocaust, the extermination of the American Indians, and the journeys of African slaves in America. So much invisible suffering. Then he began to extend the language of political correctness, which included women, sexual choices, and the powerless in the list of verbal amends to be made. Marshall joined the art world around when others were watching 'Holocaust' and 'Roots' on TV. When he went in for figurative painting, he found there was a lot of artists doing portraits of Western white cultures, but nothing to represent his background. His portraits are great composotions, epic narratives, and featuring black subjects, something many hadn't seen before. As a suppressed culture, African Americans don't have historical documents, and there's a lack of self-representation.Marshall has managed to achieve a balance between presence and invisibility with the use of dark backgrounds with no white lines highlighting figures, or with the use of ultraviolet photographs of African Americans, and installations where you have to look through a hole in a wall. But at the same time he creates black super
Film-makers, playwrights, artists, designers, comic book illustrators and architects all converge under one umbrella, in the first part of a triple exhibition dedicated to the most boundless, modern and wildly imaginative creativity produced in Catalonia in the new millennium.
- Rated as: 4/5
No matter how much we sleep as if the universe were a mistake, the climate in Barcelona during the summer bears no resemblance to Iceland. It’s near impossible to find a place to be alone. And silence is a luxury. But in the exhibition Roni Horn has brought to the Fundació Joan Miró, it is possible to isolate yourself and believe for a moment that you’re in an almost motionless, unsettling universe sewn up with literary fragments that dance to the impatient rhythm of glaciers. Roni Horn (New York, 1955) is unclassifiable. So much so that she plays with indefinition. Her name, her appearance... She has said, ‘It seems to me, retrospectively, that my entire identity formed around [growing up androgynous], around not being this or that: a man or a woman. I don't fit in with these kinds of singular identities.’ She also doesn’t have a favourite style or technique. She starts her work with process drawings – which deserve two rooms on their own – and these could end up taking shape as photographs, objects, installations or other forms. It can be said that her work deals with themes such as identity, landscape, light, words, faces, glass, water and weather. And most have been conceived in Iceland. The titles act as an introduction. Some are so long that including them in a review practically fills up the word count, such as ‘Untitled (My name is Mary Katherine ...)’, which is the centrepiece of this exhibition. The work is made of ten cylindrical elements of greenish glass that c
Formal austerity and emotional depth are two constants in Wolfgang Laib's work. The German minimalist artist, known for his rituals and introspective works made from natural materials such as milk, beeswax, or pollen from walnuts, which he uses to create mountains and evanescent carpets, touches down at the Blueproject Foundation.