Tangibles is a project that arises from two basic concerns: the importance of the context in the appreciation of an artwork and how to approach and understand the objects in a museum. This project takes place in a unique setting: the dismantling, removal and relocation of a museum collection (Museum of Design of Barcelona, 2013-2015). And it focuses on the moment in which the object goes out of the showroom and is manipulated by curators, scientists, restorers and staff from the museum. When this happens the reality of the object changes because its context changes as well. Tangibles intends to investigate this transient state in which the subject and the object interact with each other without distances or glass, and in which a new sense comes into place: touch. (From this idea derives the title of the work: Tangible/s). The value associated with all that is “untouchable” is reversed when the museum move forces a change, albeit temporarily, to the rules of the game. Thus, this project also aims to study the role of art conventions and to explore the way we inherently view art. Tangibles is composed of photographs, audiovisual works and interviews of people related to art and museums. The photographic series emphasizes the moment when the museum rooms are getting empty, and darkess invades everything in a museum that disappears. These images are about open exhibition windows, walls marked with silhouettes of antique pieces, art conservators who manipulate in the stillness and silence, massive acumulations of objects that are covered by plastics and await their relocation… Any removal process, as an episode of change, involves some loss or a small forget of what it is left behind. This series illustrates all this with a certain amount of mystery to allow multiple interpretations.
The installation in the Museum of Design of Barcelona is composed of a photographic series of twenty photographs, two video works and one audio work based on eleven interviews. (You can see the exhibition in Installation views).
1. Tangibles, impressions of a moving (2016, 8 min, Carlos Collado)
This audiovisual piece comprises a poetic tour that illustrates the relationship that art handlers, restorers and curators establish with artworks through their hands. Fingers – whether bare or covered by fabric or latex gloves – examine, carry, repair or touch a piece or a tool used to handle it.
These sequences take us into a generally rather inaccessible area, behind the scenes at the museum, to observe an unusual process, the transfer of several collections. A personal gaze at this setting, full of beauty, silence, history and curiosities.
2. Travelling through the reserves (2016, 5 min 17 s, Carlos Collado)
INTERVIEWS (AUDIO RECORDINGS)
Conversations (2016, 1h 9s, Carlos Collado)
This piece comprises a selection of audio excerpts from eleven interviews to artists, museum directors, art dealers, museologists, restorers and other professionals from the world of art and museums. In it, visitors of the exhibit can listen to reflections on two key themes behind the project Tangibles: the importance of the context in perceptions of the work (or the museum as container and window onto art); and the senses that we use to intimatewith the works in a museum. Although the interviews focus on shared interests, each focuses on specific subjects according to theinterviewee. For instance, a contemporary artist answers questions about the creation and exhibition of their works, and their sensory or physical aspects; an art handler or curator is asked about their direct, physical contact with the artworks in a collection; a poet and writer discusses aspects of beauty and our approach to art; a museologist and scientist discusses other issues, such as the space devoted to an object, the concept of the showcase and the possibility of introducing elements relating to the sense of touch into a museum; and a contemporary art dealer talks about the importance of direct knowledge of artworks for collectors when they purchase them, and about the differences in presenting the same piece at a fair, a gallery, amuseum or a private home.
The interviewees are:
01_Jorge Wagensberg (physicist, essayist and museologist)
02_Raquel Nériz (art restorer)
03_Frederic Amat (artist)
04_Joan Fontcuberta (artist, essayist and teacher)
05_Antoniodi Francesco (art handler)
06_Antoni Miralda (artist)
07_Rubén García (art handler)
08_Antoni Muntadas (artist and teacher)
09_Joan de Muga (art dealer)
11_Antoni Marí (poet, writer and teacher)
This project was possible with the support of the Museu del Disseny de Barcelona and the Government of Catalonia’s National Council for Culture and the Arts (CoNCA, 2013).
Exhibition design and production: Eva Goenaga.
Graphic design: Boixader & Go.
Boxes loaned by the firm SIT.