Last season the cycle in the Espai 13 was presented in the traditional manner, i.e. with one individual exhibition following another. This allowed the artists to make use of the whole space and gave the public a linear vision of the work of each one, avoiding any direct contact between them.
While it is true that different contexts can reveal the universe in which a work of art is situated and add meaning to meaning through cohabitation, the programme this year has been designed as a single exhibition in four phases – an exhibition with variable times and variable geometries.
The title, Psychodrome, denotes a tour or circuit in a defined space, where not only do the visitors change, alternating and sometimes remaining, but the whole context changes too.
Since the 1970s and the underground culture, the word “psychedelic” has become a familiar one, and generally speaking it means a disorder or disturbance of consciousness, often resulting from the use of illicit substances.
Disorders of vision, disorders of consciousness through images; disruption and interference between reality and illusion, fantasy and everyday life, sleep and wakefulness; the absence of linearity, of beginning and end; a burst of colours and forms, the creation of motifs obsessively repeated ad infinitum – artists have been working round all these ideas for a long time, since the end of the nineteenth century at least. There were the Symbolists, the Futurists and their obsession with representing movement on the canvas, the Surrealists with their delirious dream world, Marcel Duchamp and his rotor reliefs, Picabia, and later on the kinetic artists, the hyperrealists, and others who are difficult to pigeon-hole but have made their mark on contemporary art, such as the Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. All of them have confronted the disturbance of their consciousness and translated it into images.
The present generation of artists works from scratch on all aspects of disorder. Their art makes unreality real, converts into matter what is only visible in our consciousness, demolishes the frontiers between imagination and the presentation of the imaginary.
For most of these artists colour is paramount: it acts beyond visual perception and has a more or less direct influence on the psyche. Sometime this influence comes from the sound, or from a direct intervention in the space and the architecture. Often it comes from the works themselves, and consequently the general atmosphere of an exhibition creates a kind of “synaesthesia”, in other words the capacity for hearing colours, seeing sounds, tasting forms, etc.
Painting, sculpture, video, wallpaper, murals, objects and environments – the medium is of little importance. What matters is the radical effect, uninhibited creativity, tending increasingly towards the profound spheres of consciousness and unconsciousness – or the other way round, towards a decorative effect carried to the extreme.
The entire Espai 13 will be arranged around a basic module: like a maze or shooting target – both of which are figures with a strong hypnotic charge – it is a circular structure of concentric elements, dense or simplified according to the artists’ requirements and the context. Between two and four artists will inhabit the space together, with their work sometimes being distributed over two phases and their installations being altered if necessary.
While the list of artists taking part will form the structure of the cycle, each phase will enrich or modify the programme without changing it significantly. Other artists may join in on the way. The idea of cohabitation rather than confrontation, of dialogue and of revealing features in common, whether primary or secondary, is what guides the unusual conception of the cycle.
With the aim of presenting young artists of various nationalities who are already consolidated in their own countries, and are well-known though seldom seen here, the cycle will develop around a group whose work focuses on these principles. Other artists with parallel aims or at parallel periods in their careers will join them, with a strong but more discreet presence, in order to enhance the spirit of connection and dialogue.
This is the second phase of Psychodrome, our journey along the paths of disorder. Disorders of the imagination, disorders of consciousness through images; disruption and interference between reality and illusion, dreams and everyday life, sleep and wakefulness; the absence of linearity, of beginning and end; a burst of colours and forms, the creation of motifs obsessively repeated ad infinitum.
After hypnosis and vision, synaesthesia is the fundamental component of this third phase of “Psychodrome”.Synaesthesia is the capacity of any one of the senses to arouse a different sense, an ambiguous game that confuses our instruments of perception, allowing us to feel colours, see sounds, and taste forms.