Punk. Its traces in Contemporary Art by CA2M

WEB_002Image courtesy of CA2M

Punk. Its traces in Contemporary Art by CA2M

CA2M Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo of the Madrid Regional Government presented  the exhibition “Punk. Its Traces  in Contemporary Art“, curated by David G. Torres. The show, with over fifty local and international artists, is an itinerary through the influence of punk in contemporary art, and echoes the importance of its presence as an attitude and as a reference for many artists. It includes installations, documentary traces, unique pieces, multiples, photography, video, and painting; it also includes a diagram of the origins of punk and its traces up until the present.
WEB_004Image courtesy of CA2M

Punk originated in London and New York between 1976 and 1978, as an explosion of malaise and dissatisfaction with a “no future” situation, which immediately caught on and expanded geographically. A fury whose echo is still present today. The American journalist and critic Greil Marcus traced out, for the first time in 1989, in Lipstick Traces. A Secret History of the 20th Century, an itinerary through the precedents of the movement, all the way back to Dada and Situationism. “Punk. Its Traces in Contemporary Art” takes up Marcus’ book as a reference, and effects the process in reverse: it is a prospection in search of the traces of punk in contemporary artists.

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Dissatisfaction, non-conformism, loss of faith in progress, or fierce critique of the icons of the economic and social system appear in the work of many of these artists. The most evident place where punk manifests itself is on the surface. In this exhibition at the CA2M, we can see it in cut-out typography (Juan Pérez Agirreikoa); in the recuperation of punk songs, characters or slogans (Jordi Colomer, Iñaki Garmendia, Aïda Ruilova, Gavin Turk…); in intentional ugliness and the reference to bad design (Fabienne Audeoud, Gelitin); in the use of noise and punk music (Christian Marclay, Tim Reinecke or Joao Onofre); or in turning the context of New York punk into an object of analysis, as in Dan Graham’s legendary documentary Rock My Religion.

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Punk slogans and music, as well as the Situationists’ publications (Claire Fontaine), are weapons. Violence is present in the body, a real battleground, where hits are received (Nan Goldin, Jordi Mitja, Jimmie Durham)  and  where  fury  and  opposition  are  manifested  (Jean-Michel Basquiat, Chris Burden). One of the iconic punk songs is Anarchy In The U.K. by The Sex Pistols. Anarchism is one of the most characteristic elements of punk, and an attitude that is present in contemporary art, built on a will to question the economic and political system, and to mock it (Bill Balaskas, Claire Fontaine, Federico Solmi); or to resort to the scatological (Gelitin), to deviate from the norm and to reclaim the importance of leaving behind the maximum amount of dependencies  and  conventions  (Martín  Rico,  Tere  Recarens, Itziar Okariz).Punk stands against an oppressive society that leaves few ways out.

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Against this, it reclaims a space for otherness and difference. Artists such as Martin Kippenberger, Raymond Pettibon, Mike Kelley and Paul McCarthy, who took part in the punk scene of the 80’s, have taken up alienation as one of the central themes in their work.The context in which punk appeared in the decade of the seventies is touched by terrorism and violent actions. In Mabel Palacín’s Sniper, the bullets in a gun cartridge have been replaced by terrorist attacks and disasters.

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Chiara Fumai focuses on the figure of Valerie Solanas (whose Dirección General de Medios. Oficina de Comunicación and R. Uthco and Ant Farm reconstruct the assassination of JFK in the very same streets of Dallas. The libertarian impulse implied by punkhad to, necessarily, involve the esclamation of anti-normative sexuality, and if the body was the battleground, sex had to occupy the front line of concern. The reference to sex appears entwined with protest (VALIE EXPORT, Guerrilla Girls, Tracey Emin), and also with reclamation and, even, as a weapon with which to once again reclaim attitude and sarcasm.

more. www.ca2m.org

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