Title : ’Desire Lines’ installation view Benítez, Gaillard, de Miguel.
Credit : All installation images by Edmund Cook, courtesy of the artists and Espai Cultural Caja Madrid.
The Espai Cultural Caja Madrid is delighted to present Desire Lines, an exhibition that gathers works by twelve international artists that – through video installation, drawing, photography and performance– propose alternative ways of navigating the urbanlandscapes, by integrating poetics, playfulness, irrationality, oneirism and disruption into our experience of the city.
Artists: Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Mark Aerial Waller, Francis Alÿs, Francisca Benítez, Mircea Cantor, Filipa César, Cyprien Gaillard, Regina de Miguel, Laura Oldfield Ford, Alejandra Salinas & Aeron Bergman, John Smith.
Curated by: Lorena Muñoz-Alonso & Bárbara Rodríguez Muñoz
The term ‘desire lines’ refers to the paths carved on the ground as we walk due to the surface’s continuous erosion. They appear spontaneously, from our own volition and evading the official routes designed by town planners and politicians. These improvised lines materialise the latent desire, both physical and psychological, to find more subjective routes to negotiate pre-established urban fabrics.
Taking this anthropological concept as a starting point, Desire Lines brings together twelve international artists who explore alternative and subversive ways of navigating urban conventions and social realms and how all these ‘tactics’ generate new spaces for dialogue and creativity within power structures.
Mircea Cantor’s photographic triptych Shortcuts (2004) illustrates most graphically the exhibition’s concept, depicting three actual desire lines that suggest a metaphor for the unpredictability and agency of these paths, full of emotional and political potential.
The videos Looking Up (2001) by Francis Alÿs, Paris FRANPRIX (2003) by Mark Aerial Waller, and Allee Der Kosmonauten(2007) by Filipa César explore different models of ludic coexistence that transform the cities of México DF, Paris and Berlin into improvised playgrounds. Cyprien Gaillard’s Pruitt-Igoe Falls (2009) or John Smith’s The Black Tower (1985-87) delve in irrational feelings and sensations such as conflict, frustration and other dark fantasies that throb collectively and unconsciously within communities.
El Mapa del Futuro Abandonado (2006) by Regina de Miguel charts the liminal space between “terrain vagues”- disused urban spaces– and human emotions, linking both realms by means of psychogreography and the concept of endless potential. The series of drawings Property Lines (2008), rubbings in graphite and paper that Francisca Benítez made during her drifts around New York of certain building’s property plaques, highlight the tension between the weight of capitalism and the ephemeral nature of daily life.
Marches (2008) by Lawrence Abu Hamdan and Gigantes y cabezudos (2012) by Alejandra Salinas & Aeron Bergman are two aural pieces in which everyday and popular sounds, like the steps that shoes make on the pavement or popular street parties, are taken out of context, drawing attention to the small pleasures of daily life and collective participation.
Desire Lines is also proud to present a site specific project commissioned for this exhibition: Laura Oldfield Ford will cover the huge windows of the Espai Cultural Caja Madrid that face the Plaza de Catalunya with a series of life-size posters of drawings inspired by her drifts around the Raval area and the recent protests and demonstrations that have taken place in the streets of Barcelona.