In Search of TerritoryIn the framework of Swab Barcelona Art Fair
Balcony and Residence Space
This project showcases several videos through which we become aware of our relationship with territories. Those which are demarcated surfaces, an administrative area, an animal’s habitat or ultimately a field of action, that can reveal the characteristics or nature of something.
In the selected videos, we see how the idea of territory can also be handled by artists in terms of genres, geographical spaces, and in the recovery of space on a metaphysical level. Often times, territories are established according to our own perception or will.
In Search of Territory is a project curated by collector Alfredo Hertzog, which showcases three video pieces by Brazilian artists who are representative of the emerging scene of this South American country.
When searching for the word “territory” in the dictionary, we find one of the following definitions: area of land; region or district. As precise as these may be, we think about the term using different references and meaning.
In school we learn about how many battles were fought in certain regions; Conquer to have power. It is a never ending story with new battles on the horizon.
Regardless of state affairs, we have our own territories to speak of. It is our intimate personal space or, more abstract still, in the psychic realm. These are unexplored territories that need to be. As explorers in search of new lands.
Artists tend to approach their artwork by exploring new territories to reflect current or past realities. They can impress the public in many different ways.
Current disputes and events displace people, fighting for their own identity. Battles are carried out to recover past claims. The word territory is as simple as is attractive its complexity.
The exhibition consists of a selection of 3 videos / artists. The first is by artist Deborah Engel, titled Devir, where one sees two people picking off flower petals as if playing the children’s game to find out if someone loves you. In a way, the identity of a man and a woman seems obviou; each with different colors picking their own petals. The same flowers in different colors, just like the people. At that exact moment they perform the same action and could exchange colors, flowers or location. But each one, in their own imaginary, created a reality, a desire, an culmination for that game that finally ends like it was at the beginning, without us knowing what happened in their minds, a territory of mental abstraction.
The second video, by the artist Joao Castilho, titled Barca Aberta, shows a van full of objects and people moving through arid territories. In a way, it immediately reminds us of current issues related to refugees leaving their habitual territories in search of new places to live. Stories of human lives and migrations in which often times the identity of people as humans is lost as they become in a sense like animals that guard their territories in a van, a boat or any other form of relocation of place or territory, at times politically defined with political or socio-economic problems that exile and attract.
The last video, A Casa da Torre by the artist Ayrton Heraclitus, we witness what is perhaps the recovery of territory in a way that isn’t necessarily physical but psychic in some respects. In an abandoned house, men begin to perform cleansing rituals of afro-religious origin. With their large leaves they sweep the space, the walls, doors, etc. Perhaps it is because the place held slaves in its past and must be cleansed of that past. It is a search for spiritual ideals in a supernatural territory in which mankind through its actions changes and reclaims a new territory.
We see, therefore, that the idea of territory in itself, or in a dictionary, can have several interpretations, be it masculine or femenine activities, in search of another territory as an undisputed necessity, the creation of a territory we imagine or call ours, as well as spiritual activities that may be occur in an invisible realm.
Swab Barcelona with Alfredo Hertzog
Consulate of Culture of Brasil in Barcelona
Blau Projects Gallery
Portas Vilaseca Gallery