Curated by Marco Scotini
On Friday, September 22, on the occasion of Start-Milano, prometeogallery di Ida Pisani once again opens the exhibition season with work from the Guatemalan art scene. After the success of Regina José Galindo’s show “Perra”, this time it is the turn of A-1 53167 (b. Guatemala 1964) who returns with a new and extensive project three years after his last one-man show at the gallery.
“Colectiva” is neither a group show as the title seems to suggest, nor a series of works chosen by A-1 53167 in the guise of curator. Quite the opposite: the author of the show is solo, but at the same time multiple and various. Up till now, A-1 53167 has always presented himself under a codename – his passport number – but this time, spelling out all his names – Anibal Asdrubal Lopez Juárez – he presents the same number of characters with different roles and activities: from simple ones like sleeping and eating, to drawing or playing sport.
Famous for his acts of risk taking, for his public forays and urban interventionist actions in Ciudad de Guatemala, what A-1 53167 has actually tried to do each time is to pinpoint the cultural, economic, behavioural and politico-social codes and regulations that order our society. Or better still, the power tactics – in the Foucaultian sense – that are so well-hidden in social contexts they are not even challenged, yet which order our space without any any external force being necessary.
In this sense, A-1 53167 has chosen public space as his workplace, or any space that allows him to create a dialogue that starts from his own specific codes and languages: from those of the street or museum to those of communication. In “30 de Junio” – which won him the Special Prize for young artists at the 2001 Venice Biennial – A-1 53167 unloaded coal in the Avenida where a military parade was due to pass. A-1 53167 knows all too well the “burned earth” significance this material has for the Guatemalan army, who on this occasion became both public and actor in his work.
As a commercial space, the gallery has been A-1 53167’s scene of action more than once. In an extreme act during his one-man show “Contexto” in 2000, A-1 53167 pointed a pistol at a passer-by and asked to borrow money to finance the show. At the opening of his Berlin exhibition in 2004, six sworn guards prevented the public from any contact with things and people under a prohibition sign that said “Do it right”. But underlying all of A-1 53167’s work, more than a criticism of the apparatus of power, there is always an acute economic awareness of it. This is also clear in “Colectiva” where he wants to present a de-specialization of the artist and his resulting materialization. In “Colectiva” the division of work is what is at work.