Don Quijote: tristes figuras
Universidad de Murcia, Sala de Exposiciones, Facultad de Bellas Artes
October 15, 2019 - January 18, 2020
Murcia: the city in the South of Spain which was my entrance into Spanish culture and language. Invited for a lecture by my since-then close friend Miguel Á. Hernández Navarro, I overcame my inhibition to speak my faltering Spanish, and never looked back. Many friends I met then and since have participated in the conception, making and now, exhibiting of Don Quijote: tristes figuras.
Murcia: the first city the Captive saw when after his escape, he finally came back on Spanish ground. Viviana Moin, who plays Sancho Panza in our project, made this photo of a narrow entrance into the city, with a symbolic shadow figuring as the encounter of present and past.
In the image gallery are the two people who made it all possible. On the left, Jesús Segura, vice-dean of culture at the university of Murcia, in the Facultad de Bellas artes. Jesús is a brilliant artist who did 75% of the camera work for the project. And in his capacity of vice-dean he was able to host the exhibition. Next to him is Luz Bañón, who is doing a practice-based PhD under Jesús’s and my guidance. She worked in innumerable capacities: translating the texts, subtitling the videos, capturing the sound in the reading scene, and documenting the exhibition and its opening. And always smiling.
The following photo shows a part of the gallery without people in it. Luz captured the busy quality, and the mix of moving and still images seems to come across in spite of the “still” quality of the photo.
For an interview, which was published in MurciaPlaza the first weekend after the opening, you may download this article (in Spanish): murciaplaza.pdf
The photographs above were all taken by Luz Bañón, unless otherwise indicated.
The video, also made by Luz Bañón, shows, first, the gallery after installation, still empty of people, but with the cacophony of the videos’ open sound; then an interview by curator and Vice Dean of Culture, followed by images of people roaming around the gallery during opening night.
In the next photo you see Jesús enthusiastically talking about the work in front of him to his partner and her friend Paz. On the right, smiling and taking a photograph, stands another of these generous people: Isabel Durante who, without us knowing each other at all,had volunteered to be co-producer, organizing the entire shoot in Murcia, which made it possible to film seven scenes in five days.
The two young men in the following photograph, watching in concentration demonstrate the effect of my “artistic activism”: to provide seating in exhibitions. This allows visitors to devote the amount of time they choose to what they see, instead of being compelled to move on to avoid fatigue.
During the opening I had the pleasure of seeing quite a few of the participants again. Here you see, against the background of their scene, the three stars of the episode “The Failure of Listening”. On the left, Jessica Cerán González, who plays a deeply sad Luscinda, who becomes hysterical when her true love Cardenio tries to first murder his rival, then cut his own throat. On my right is Ramón González Palazón, who plays the treacherous “best friend” and after seducing her, against his wish marries Luscinda. And next to him, Theor Román, whose enactment of traumatic madness is very impressive. All three are students (Theor for a PhD) and volunteered to do this performance, which was quite intense. Here they smile. In the video, there is a lot of anxiety and violence. There, Cardenio tries to tell the story of the traumatic betrayal, first to the Priest and then to Don Quijote and Sancho, but cannot achieve it because the interlocutors interrupt him, despite his insistence that they should not. The scene stands for the difficulty of the psychoanalysis of psychosis, as I have learned from the books of Françoise Davoine.
The “talking cure” must be mostly talk by the freely-associating analysand, whereas the analyst must talk minimally. Cardenio’s scene demonstrates why, in the typically Don-Quijotish hyperbole.
The exhibition looks wonderful, the visitors do pay the attention I hoped to solicit by the installation of seating, and within a few days, the faculty decided to prolongate the exhibition until January 18. The book appeared before the show ended, and looks terrific. It is bilingual (English and Spanish), is 188 pages long and has numerous photographs. Is appeared in the series “ad litteram” published by the centre Cendeac (Centro de Documentación y Estudios Avanzados de Arte Contemporáneo), which earlier published my book on travelling concepts, Conceptos Viageros en las Humanidades.