Objects in the rear view mirror are closer than they appear Curator: Montse Badia
One of the principal features of present-day artistic proposals is that they raise more questions than they answer when it comes to the mechanisms needed to make us change, or at least question, our perception of things, our perception of the world in which we live and our perception of our own selves.
If we consider art as a complex form of knowledge, we cannot but agree with Harald Szeemann and define the work of artists as a seismograph of the changes taking place in society.
These considerations form the starting point for this season's cycle of exhibitions in the Espai 13 at the Joan Miró Foundation. The cycle consists of five works that, although very different from each other, share a similar approach to reality that disconcerts the viewer and raises a number of questions for him or her to reflect upon. The title, Angle of vision: 143º, refers to a highly unusual viewpoint that is far removed from any standard point of reference and tries to offer a very much broader vision. The subtitle, Objects in the rear view mirror are closer than they appear, is a warning that is often attached to rear-view mirrors in cars and refers to the optical distortion that drivers need to take into account in order to drive safely. In the context of this cycle, this small distortion serves as a metaphor for how the perception of reality can have different filters or perspectives.
All the artists taking part in the cycle work in the territory of this change of perspective. They approach things from unfamiliar, or at least unconventional, viewpoints. Their position is that they believe in difference; in other words, they accept the possibility of doubt. Through these works they demonstrate how, on the basis of a predetermined scale of values, we structure our surroundings in such a way as to give them meaning and authority. At the same time they show that these values can be altered, or at least challenged, and need not be taken as absolutes. Employing irony, political commitment, ingenuity or a taste for the absurd, the artists taking part - Luis Bisbe, Jens Haaning, Antonio Ortega, Claude Closky and Simon Starling - invite us to become aware of the need to question assumed parameters and values.
The work of Antonio Ortega (Sant Celoni, 1968) deals with social behaviour and social dynamics. He often creates "records", employing a strategy similar to that of a fable, with easily recognisable reference points to exemplify or illustrate different situations.
Claude Closky (Paris, 1963) likes to question the use of signs and make a play on their appearance. The issue of identity and the conventions of representation constitute the central thread of his artistic explorations.
Simon Starling (Epson, England, 1967) bases his work on thorough investigation, which includes constant travel, meticulous research and establishing connections between places, objects and historical and cultural circumstances.