reviews/ essays

Pedro Lapa, Disseminações, 2001
Culturgest – 23 of January to 22 of April 2001
Exhibition comissioned by Pedro Lapa

Ana Pérez-Quiroga’s work, whose caracteristics seem highly diverse but which summon up the status of artistic objects for reflection, challenges or subverts the systems of security and classification and organisation of the visible. In Foucault’s vision of the visible and enunciable, they become two sides of a continent where knowledge presupposes a complex web of power relations. When all a prioiri aesthetic criteria are bankrupt, the artistic object as a knowledge object is subject to a field of forces that implies an act of power and a search for legitimacy. Thus, the relationship of energies forming the rhetoric which defines an identity for the visible and represses the procedures of enunciation lies between the visible and the enunciable. The act of scraping away the levels of relationships that establish a rhetoric around an artistic object becomes a productive task in terms of appreciating the circuits that produce a specific identity. Property is one of the contents of identity that promote value. Ana Pérez-Quiroga started from that point with Breviário do Quotidiano #2 (1998)[1], stealing a vast number of everyday objects from several art institutions and then exhibiting them in display cabinets at the Museu do Chiado. The captions provided information on the objects’ provenance and the day and time they where removed, as if they were pieces from some historical collection, while the museum’s security systems reinforced the intentionality twisted nature of the status that these pieces aspired to. Recognition of their functional role, as shown by their visibility, was here countered by the process of enunciation where the objects value as the property of one cultural institution was appropriated by another and turned into a monument. The artist thus copied a structurally recurrent situation in the monumental presentation of history whereby the museum appears as the producing institution. In Breviário do Quotidiano #1 (Excuse me, could I have a blanket?) (1999)[2], Ana Pérez_quiroga exhibited seven diferent blankets that were stolen from diferent airlines. Folded and presented in line on the floor, an ironic vision of minimalism, each blanket has an anti-theft tag attached to it, while the space was also surrounded by an anti-theft detector. The security systems here act as the external border defining artistic identity, and the fact that that blankets came from transgressing the act of security reveals the impropriety that governs building identity as a territory. Breviário do Quotidiano #6 (2000)[3], consists of a series of billboards that seem like the ones museums and institutions use for large interior or exterior spaces to advertise their exhibitions. In addition to the title of the event, these also show images of the works, logos and the name of the organisers and sponsors, all of which are aspiring towards visibility within an intended bi-univocity of the relation that is established. This meeting between the artistic object – Balthus’ painting from the Berardo collection – and the systems of complex relations that make it visible, are mirrored in the billboard, which shows the security system’s monitors. This becomes a gauge for the value of visibility, a statement that is claimed to be legitimised according to commercial criteria. The fact that this is the only means of legitimmisation seems to give the lie to the photograph of the work exhibited in the museum showing the artist observing it. The established relationship of desire hangs between the mechanisms of exhibition and the security system, revealing an inescapable difference.

Extract from the catalogue by Pedro Lapa

[1] Breviário do Quotidiano #2, Museu do Chiado, Lisbon, July 1999.

[2] Graduate’s Exhibition, Faculdade de Belas Artes de Lisboa, May 1999.

[3] This was exhibited in Olhar da Contemporaniedade, Palácio Pancas-Palha, June 2000. Organised by Ilídio Nunes.
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