In his visit to the Córdoba Art Market last year, Elián Chali says he was followed closely by a policeman. A few months later, the artist received the proposal to be the next general curator of the event.
In this double movement, the dissident aura and the central weight in the local culture that Elián embodies are defined: a young reference of international projection with his abstract and colorful hand Street art -The invitation of the City Council was born between the opening of his first solo exhibition in Berlin and a trip to the United States-, the artist has moved from introducing a local booklet to road graffiti for build a stamp on the walls of the world, always with a virtuous aesthetic-political action that ponders self-management and self-learning.
Today Elián takes on the challenge of committing itself to the environment by leading the state, intervening in the curation of the sixth Art Market (now abbreviated MAC) from the "Gender, Territory and Production" axes.
With the notion of "cross germination" as a premise, Elián horizontally delegates his criteria to different people responsible for the "zones" of the fair (Crespo, Bonino, Liberada y Editada as well as Ágora, Cineclub, Collections Dialogue, Artistic Mediation, Public Prize Art and the catalog of books), at the same time puts the emphasis on the combination of spaces and agents that usually do not touch in a mega space where you will insert luxury galleries and radical activists.
The activities of content, among which the actions and the dissertations stand out are Elián's strong commitment to the commercial dimension. "You can not cure what has no life, so I suggest that instead of trying to heal the dead, it injects us with existence," he proposes in his curatorial text.
A different method
"For me it was important to understand that I am working in a specific context and for a specific mission, they call me to be the general curator of a contemporary art fair, which marks an archetype, a typology. or a cut that can be useful for the socio-political context, not only for that of the art scene, which is why I accept the work ", recognizes Elián. I developed an artistic curation and a different method. It is not a vertical vision in which it is made and says what I propose but also a logic of nurturing the parties with a team that knows a lot. The idea is to generate a dialogue so that the crosses take place. The goal is a kneaded fair, homogeneous, with a strong and equal attitude ".
And it completes: "Last year, Carina Cagnolo did an extraordinary job as a curator, she raised the level of the fair and paved a stony ground, ordered specific situations of cultural operators involved and left a much more comfortable interior scenario with On the other hand, my curation works as a contrast, she is an academic reference and I somehow go out of the institutional setting, I try to stay strictly aloof. That there is this vibration and oscillation among the proposals is positive ".
-How to reconcile your micropolitical position ideologically with state curatorship?
-I always tried to go alone, it's my way. What I want to do now is to mix two worlds that are rejected, which are contemporary art and independent circles. Taking out that the crossing under the umbrella of the state does not imply a cooptation, I go as a spaceship, it is not a prolonged task. This relaxes me. I do not think the end justifies the means, the means in our practice are everything, but in this case I am willing to take the risk, I burn a leg because I feel that what has repercussions is greater.
– How much is there artist Elián in the curator?
-There is nothing in the curation related to my work, what is there is a reading, a positioning. It is I who speak with the world, witnessing the emotions and uncertainties that cross the circuits and see what to propose in front of the economic situation. A curatorial does not have to show the personal characteristics of the author, I do not want there to be a signature, the author is built from other places. It is an Elian that is not seen in a painting or a photograph, even if I see it. In the end, the artist and the curator of Elián are the same, even if curating is incredible for me, I will never stop thinking of myself as an artist.
– Can you develop the concepts of gender, territory and production of this edition?
– I place these three axes as an exercise that goes from the micro to the macro, from the inside to the outside and from the outside towards the inside. It is a kind of fractal, of rhizome, of coral structure. Gender as a form of personal interrogation, territory as a genre inserted in context and production as ways of dialogue with that context. I propose to think of each term from its polysemic power. It addresses the genre not only from feminism, but also looks at what happens with black feminism and villain, trans, fat activism. Territories go beyond geography, or the relationship between capital and province. It is to claim a way of generating community and thinking in the mental territories or in the confinement of prisons, schools or private property. And the production aims at the artistic production methods of Cordoba or other places. What we do, why, for what purpose, what do we reproduce? There is only one line, but different approaches, but thinking about production and exchange from post-Marxism seems interesting to me in an Argentina where the art market is bizarre, unstable or incipient and c & # 39; it is a greater supply of demand. Move a tree and the artists fall, you lift a stone and we fly away. I raised these axes so that the comrades of the fair could interpret them for each area.
-How did you deal with the spaces of the Crespo and Bonino galleries and the commercial dimension of the MAC?
-This was limping for me, I have a gallery in Paris, Berlin and New York but not in Argentina. This is shocking. Last year I saw a too crowded show, symptomatic of a desperation to sell, a kiosk full of chocolates, so I proposed a discount or an economic benefit for individual projects for the exhibition tour. If a gallery has submitted an application with a single project had a 20% discount on the cost of standing and, in the case of Bonino, a standing Free. This allows me to go against last year's price inflation and put the gallerist in a case of curatorial debate, it's an inconvenient and positive situation, there will be a fair stripped of information. At the same time, as we come from a good and big fair, the multiplier effect has led to many more galleries, recognized and self-managed spaces.
-In 2017 a group of emerging spaces claimed their place at the fair. Do you anticipate that conflict?
-I am claiming the spaces of resistance. Córdoba needs more than what happened last year, it is typical of a scene that begins to diversify its audience and offer, including its position in the territory. Today there are moves in San Vicente, Alberdi and north and south that will never be touched. The growth breaks the skin and generates pains that give rise to new discussions that should never end, if they end it would be more conflictual. Most of the participants this year are my colleagues on both sides and what I have proposed is to find a link through the dialogue because there will be a huge flow of people and we must exploit all the moves for the public to access at all. At the same time, we must accept that many projects do not want to enter official circles, that autonomy is desirable, art is everywhere. We must remove the fanaticism that supports the market and understand that the rest of the year produces art in an intense manner without commercial pretensions. The MAC is a look, a situation that lasts four days.
-As a MAC currency in the imminence of its sixth edition?
-The phenomenon of fairs in the world works as a platform for institutional purchases. The MAC serves the context in which it operates. Buenos Aires is a vector of the world and Córdoba is a carrier of Mercosur and, although the proposals are of high level, the price range falls within the capabilities of collectors. This year there are awards that try to promote, Bonino's proposals have an accessible offer and there is a gigantic collection program and another mediation. My intention is to reach the non-specific audience with whom I dialogue with my work, that's why the performance and art-action program and the auditorium work in the square. It will be an open fair, a real party that will overflow contemporary art.
What will the art market fair be like?
From Thursday 16 to Sunday 19 August. From this Friday 17 will be held the sixth edition of the Contemporary Art Market (MAC), from 14 to 21, in the Cabildo de Córdoba and Plaza San Martín, with free admission.
Organized by the Municipality of Córdoba together with the Pro Arte Córdoba Foundation, with the support of the Ministry of Culture of the Nation, the Cultural Agency of Córdoba and the National University of Córdoba.
Spaces that integrate the MAC:
curly. It brings together 43 selected galleries, the most consolidated in the field of the national art market.
Bonino. It brings together 22 galleries, self-managed spaces, experimental and emerging projects in the region.
agora. Discuss and debate with the protagonists of the scene in the new Auditorium or Agora, in an area outside the Cabildo.
projections. The films related to the theme will be screened at the Municipal Cineclub (Bv. San Juan 49).
Modified area. Speeches and activities around the edition and publication of the arts.
Free area. Space for performances, audiovisual production and live music.
Awards. The Argentine Public Art Award 2018 is for "Listen floating around a city or to write as long as life itself" by Daniela Rodi. In addition, the Municipality of Córdoba will assign the Acquisition Award to one of the works exhibited at Crespo. The Neuquén Museum of Fine Arts will also offer an award, through the Fundación Telefónica, for a work selected by Crespo. The En Obra award is incorporated for a work by Bonino. More information, here.