"For a world where we are socially equal, humanly different and totally free." Rosa LUXEMBURG
Why a project like RE-ACTION? It is now quite common place to speak of the absence of women in the history of art. In the world of Academia, structural sexism, akin to the type of sexism that has always obtained in every domain of culture, is often evoked. Artistic genealogies contemplate filiations and masculine names interlaced within an unending dance which, thanks to patriarchal habitus, seemingly blinds us to the absence of any feminine presence. As well, the outstanding figures of the so-called western artistic cannons are overwhelmingly male, white and heterosexual. In its concerted effort to create a counter-current, RE-ACTION proposes a feminine genealogy that offers a response to such a cannon, through a counter-cannon comprising exclusively feminine artists. It is, therefore, a symbolic way of redirecting history and placing female artists where they rightfully belong. Conceived as an interplay of appropriation, virtual and infinite, RE-ACTION takes as a pretext the work of four fétiche photographers: Duchenne de de Boulogne, Eugène Atget, August Sander and Maurice Guibert. Alonso and Marful have reterritorialized and brought new significance to these icons and generated from them eight works in which feminine faces caught in an new iconosphere are inserted, and where symbolic partitions give strong voice to the need to reinforce the feminine within the asphyxiating stiffness and rigidity of the outer bodily trappings in which the entire cultural cortex is trapped, clamped down vice-like. From these 8 re-makes, the project is developed into 8 simultaneous dérives: each work by AyM is handed over to a new artist so she can appropriate it as she pleases and generate a new work. From there, that new artist generates her work from the previous one, providing the point of entry for the intervention of the following artist. The structural elaboration of the project is thus developed in eight simultaneous dérives, in keeping with the networks of filiations and influences that underpin the cultural tissue. The result the project spawns, as it progresses, allows us to visualize the presence of the work of an artist in the work that comes after it and brings us, in short, before a gripping domino of aesthetic interventions that regulate and expand eight-fold, like an exquisite corpse.
RE-ACTION on the road: how the artists came on board Thanks to diligent curatorial effort, RE-ACTION has managed to bring together an ever-increasing group of renowned artists of international prestige. We have, thus far, roped in over fifty women, who are now participating in the project, in no way driven by economic gain. They selflessly donate their works and in so doing further boost a collection, taking it beyond commercial parameters, whose value is not to be measured in terms of economic viability, but by the desire espoused by all participants to reach the public and offer it a constant, ever-growing, living body, aesthetically solvent and thought-provoking. The body of artists of obligatory reference within the realm of contemporary art who are already part of this fertile production belt of aesthetic ideas that is RE-ACTION, is just one of the values driving the project. It is also informed by its capacity to generate multiple and fertile interpretations on a micro and macro scale. The poetics of feminine solidarity and interrelation that inspires it and informs its zeal to construct amongst us all - male and female - a new history of equality, the value of witnessing the convergence of the work of a given artist, preceded then succeeded by another, or the way each work is intrinsically linked to a personal artistic trajectory in each case, are further motives to cast a rich, plural gaze upon the project.
Backing for the exhibitions RE-ACTION has received backing from the University of Oviedo, The Cultural Division of the Government of the Principality of Asturias through the Museo Barjola, the Institut d’Estudis Baleárics and the Fundación Palma Espai d’Art. We have also received the institutional backing of the Department of Visual Arts of the University of Bologna, Biblioteca delle Donne and Asocciazione Orlando. The project opened simultaneously at the University of Oviedo/Museo Barjola (Oviedo/Gijón 2015), and was staged for a second time at Planta Noble del Casal Solleric (Palma, 2016). Each new exhibition/catalogue is different and bigger than the one previous to it, since it includes the newly incorporated artists. For the two catalogues edited to date, we have been able to include essays by Clélia Barbut (Université Paris 3/Sorbonne Nouvelle), Lucia Corrain (Università di Bologna), Katy Deepwell (Middlesex University) and Maria Antonietta Trasforini, (Università di Ferrara).