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The undisciplined: Art’s position on the borders of design


11 July 2003 - 19 October 2003
Ground floor
Tuesdays to Sundays (including public holidays): 11 am to 8 pm. Fridays 11 am to 11 pm.
MARCO, Museo de Arte Contemporánea de Vigo
Nuria Gual Solé

Works on exhibition

Sculptures 10              Net-art 2
Photographs 19          Video-projections 3
Installations 18           DVD 2
Interior design project 1



A home-produced group exhibition about the creative languages that have emerged in Spain on the border between art and design at the close of the 20th, start of the 21st centuries. Unique in Spain, the show is part of a series of activities programmed for El Año del Diseño 2003.

Recent years have seen the emergence of a new generation of artists and designers working in areas where art, design and architecture mutually contaminate one another and fuse to create pieces that question the concept of authorship, the artist's style and the work's ‘aura'. These pieces are often group-creations and may be made in collaboration with designers and architects or following industrial manufacturing processes. They are often mass-produced.

Creative experiments in the 20th century used a wide range of technologies that opened the way for the hybridization of languages, thus blurring disciplinary frontiers. Once more, we are witnessing how the conventions of traditional art are being sifted through atypical strategies and productions borrowed from other fields.

This is a time when any medium is useful: editable art / non-producible design, mechanised art / manufactured design. It's about indiscipline, as watertight compartments no longer bring us closer to any truth. Perhaps hybridizing helps us to tap into today's pulse. This discourse resists conventions of genre, uses multiple resources and fits uncomforatably into traditional classifications.

The hybrids between the visual arts and design are a well-known tradition, especially since Andy Warhol. This shift in artists' concerns towards apparently more formal and banal issues is neither accidental nor anecdotal. Behind it lies an approach to subjects and issues that until now had been relegated to the fields of investigation of other diciplines such as sociology, psychology, town-planning and marketing. It contains references to the phenomenon of designer-labels (in sociology, seen as the influence of designer-labels on consumer habits, especially among teenagers); the ‘culture club' and its presence in the formation of urban tribes; graphic and industrial design, and logos as elements of ‘recognition', commerical marketing and the control of social behavioural patterns and, lastly, the notion of fashion as the medium for exteriorizing and staging certain social values.

Hence the show's title: "Undisciplined". The reason for it is not only because these artists are hard to classify within the preestablished artistic disciplines or movements, but also because they are tampering in areas which they have been traditionally excluded from.

In the words of Martí Perán, advisor to this show, "Today, few people are bothered about what might or might not be the pure and strict definition of culture or any of its disciplines, and so the disobedience towards certain suppositions is not motivated by belligerence but, for better or for worse, by the sympathy that characterises the post-modern age".

All this invites us to approach the works displayed in this exhibition with the intelligence, open-mindedness and good humour they deserve.



    Alicia Framis
    Ana Laura Alaez
    Ana MIR y Emili Padrós
    Ángeles Agrela
    Bene Bergado
    Carles Congost
    Chus García-Fraile
    CUL De Sac
    EL Perro
    Héctor Serrano y Lola Llorca
    Jaume Plensa
    Joan Morey
    José Antonio Hernández-Díez
    Juan Carlos Román
    Maider López
    Mapi Rivera
    Martí Guixé
    Martín Ruiz De Azúa
    Miguel Ángel Gaüeca
    Mónica Alonso
    Naia Del Castillo
    Núria Marqués
    Rafael G. Bianchi
    Sofía Jack
    Suso Fandiño
    Tete Álvarez
    Xoan Anleo

Curatorial text

UNDISCIPLINED is a journey which cannot be understood from a sedentary position, while missing the comforts of everyday objects and things taken for granted.

The soul of a nomad is necessary, capable of packing, apart from the essentials, only that which can be carried throughout the whole journey.

UNDISCIPLINED is a journey along paths that help to identify the possible routes contemporary art is taking in our country.

For this journey we will leave behind the great stories, and with them the grandoliquent and blinding illusions about art.

These creators shift the territory constantly and voluntarily. They have abandoned the romantic vision of the ‘writer as a hero', as the genius responsible for his creation, in favour of active participation in created objects. It is no longer possible to believe that only a few have been given the task of creating.

A visa to enter transversal zones is vital for this journey, as more often than not we will find ourselves being dragged from one state to another without our perceiving the frontiers. To embark on this journey is to penetrate the diffuse places of creative experimentation where the most diverse technologies co-habit with the hybridization of languages.

We will also need all the tools that can help us: a quickened spirit, a high level of curiosity and a willing heart, because it will not be enough to merely contemplate; we shall also have to act.

We are going to visit provinces located on borders, that don't belong to anyone and have no history. As explorers of this new world, we will open the door to the latest technologies and we will witness a new materiality of the work, a new relationship between art and science, and a new realtionship between the artist and the observer. They are no longer objects of aesthetic contemplation but agitators of creation.

In this milieu, the fruitful and recent relationship between Art and Design is established, and art is publishable while design questions its link with production. Art flirting with the machine and design returning to the single piece. Validating thus its authorship, trying to inject into his work a marked ‘auratic' element.

The parallelisms and fields of mutual interest accumulate, languages come closer together, creating a common body so that new meanings and a framework for invention can emerge. Strategies converge.

This exhibition aims to present all works just as they are, without carving up their contents into conventional categories or putting them in an order defined by historicist parametres. To get our bearings and find ourselves on the route, we are offered a quadrant of five conceptual angles upon which the works are situated.

1. The codes
The works twist and betray languages, creating confusion in anyone who tries to decipher the impossible code, disturbing all sense of safety. Doubts are raised about the capacity of languages and codes to transmit knowledge, thoughts, values and beliefs.

Perhaps language is just a play of symbols, gestures and syntax, a set of legal rules, systematic and empty, that bravely try to regulate an impossible? Or perhaps languages have ceased to be ways of representing things and have begun to substitute them...

Works by: Naia del Castillo, Rafael G. Bianchi, Tete Álvarez, Juan Carlos Román, Suso Fandiño, Jaume Plensa.

2. The settings
Productions that reflect on alternative habitats, parallely to interior design but with none of their pressing functional needs. Impossible universes appear before our eyes like a crushing reality. A settings works as a great modifying gadget of perceptions or of the subject's relationship with his or her surroundings.

Works by: Ana Mir and Emili Padrós, Mónica Alonso, Sofía Jack, Martín Ruiz de Azúa, Vasava, Diego Santomé, Xoan Anleo.

3. The simulacrum
Appropriation, camouflage and recombination. Confused in the play of mirrors the media have drawn us into, we navigate in the surplus of reality. This territory is crossed with the world of publicity where objects have ceased to be consumed as a product or a sign and have come to exert a symbolic power (prestige, quality of life, comfort, happiness...). Our adoration of the masterpiece is parallel to our fetichistic adoration of merchandise.

"Simulacrum objects", in which the artist has a specific importance, appear in design, losing their link with their utility and becoming what they are not, treading and crossing spaces.

Works by: Ángeles Agrela, Mapi Rivera, Alicia Framis, Naia del Castillo, El Perro, Joan Morey, Cul de Sac, Maider López.

4. The surface
Pop brought about a profound reflection on the banal and the everyday, relocating this category. These works exist inside this new re-location.

That which was a synomym of perishable, fleeting and momentaneous-contemptible for an eternal art-has come to constitute it voluntarily, assuming thus the discussion between art and merchandise which, in turn, is an essential part of the discourse of modernity and mass culture. Trade marks, catchwords, logos, pictograms, typographies, fashion, videogames, publicity, film, design, videoclips are inserted into the works and condition them. They are works that question the usual systems of distribution and display.

Works by: Chus García-Fraile, José Antonio Hernández-Díez, Miguel Ángel Gaüeca, Ana Laura Aláez, Xoan Anleo, Suso Fandiño.

5. Innocence
Proposals of an apparently innocent discourse which, disguised, makes use of the double edge of innocence-perversity as the creative motor. Humour and laughter are incorporated as an essential element of the work. They are good-humoured, not cynical, pieces, that only use lies as construction material.
‘Utopian objects' appear whose function is implicit; the project goes beyond engineering, in the conviction that technology will make them work.

Works by: Núria Marqués, Héctor Serrano and Lola Llorca, Carles Congost, Bene Bergado, Martí Guixé.




Nuria Gual Solé

Doctor in Fine Arts (1995), associate professor (1988) and full professor (1995) in the Department of Painting of the University of Barcelona where she gives classes for specialisation and doctorate courses. Has participated as guest artist in a number of solo and group shows both inside Spain and abroad, and has written texts for artists' catalogues. Member of the scientific committee of Pasión. Diseño español (sponsored by DDI and SEACEX in Berlín 2002 and Salamanca 2002; currently travelling), and chief documentalist for La Ciutat Nova (sponsored by Incasol in the College of Architects of Catalonia, 2003; currently travelling). Curator of the competition Synergies Art-Disseny in the FAD, Barcelona; Barcelona City Council, May 2003.