After years of accumulating, compiling and personalising phrases, quotations and the ideas of others jotted down on bits of paper, on 23 October 2003 Manel Clot became aware of the archive that this simple, private act had given rise to over time: a timeless ‘museum of phrases’ without hierarchy or end wherein are contained, in a chaotic and expansive manner, many of his emotional and experiential interests related to contemporary art; a way of thinking and feeling artistic practice closely linked with a way of thinking and feeling reality; in short, a working methodology based on affective connections and collaborative structures.
RéserVoir generates two complementary levels of intensity. Firstly, and as a kind of curatorial thesis, it reclaims Clot’s collection of phrases; and secondly, the archive is the origin of a group exhibition featuring an entire series of artists connected with him professionally and emotionally: artists who, over the course of their careers, have had specific experiences with Clot, as a result of which they share a particular sensibility and approach to the artistic deed; artists who, from various points of view, also share the processual method of the archive and its distribution possibilities in ways other than the exhibition format.
Consequently, RéserVoir shows recent works and new pieces by a number of artists followed and curated by Clot in the 1990s who played a prominent part in the shaping of a particular Catalan art scene. These artists have made a name for themselves internationally and are now engaging in a dialogue with emerging artists also linked to the particular narrative of Clot’s thinking.
As a result, the recent past and present co-exist in RéserVoir through the exhibition projects, which are notable for their many presentation formats and layers of meaning. The new video pieces by Carles Congost (The Artist Behind The Aura , in which Congost explores his position as an artist in a parodic manner) and Javier Peñafiel (Auditoría de proximidad , an animated film in which drawing and text return to some of the concerns shared by the artist and the curator) enter into a dialogue with Joan Morey’s new updating of El Gir. Guió tancat per a performance col·lectiva (2014), a research project centred on language and translation exercises deriving from the artistic message, and with Luz Broto’s proposal in Right Cube_04. Dar paso a lo desconocido (2011), a performative piece in which the artist makes natural light enter the constantly dark space of La Capella. In the realm of photography, Paco and Manolo’s series Preludio (2014), which deals with the illusory transience of experience, converses with Ester Partegàs’s images of rubbish bags in What You Are, The World Is (2007). In addition, Francesc Ruiz presents a new version of The Yaois (2011), a large installation of drawings and images of homoerotic portrayals which proposes, in keeping with the artist’s usual practice, a specific approach to the notion of sexual identity. This exercise in individual and collective activism is related to Un afán incómodo (2011), by Raimond Chaves and Gilda Mantilla, a documentary video stemming from their travels around the Amazon jungle, in which the artists explore the role of images in the shaping of the identity of a territory.
Lastly, RéserVoir features a second skin, a series of display cases in which each artist resurrects earlier projects especially defined by the need to try out complementary or alternative channels of presentation to the exhibition room: publications, vinyl wall texts and images, leaflets and other systems of graphic documentation.