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Itinerarios XXV


Ferran Barenblit

Curator, Director of Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA)

Fragment of the text published in the catalogue of the exhibition Itinerarios XXV, Centro Botín (Santander, 2019), which showed the results of the Fundación Botín Visual Arts Grant´s recipients of the 2017-2018 edition [pages 29-30]. His text alludes to the project The (Invisible) Art of Documenting Art, resulting in a book and a video-installation.



It is in the expanded field of institutional critique that the work of Cristina Garrido should be situated. The artist investigates, often with a veiled humour, the conditions in which many of the processes that affect the creation, critical reception, circulation and commercialization of the works of art take place. Sometimes she does this by scrutinizing the methods of the agents involved in all of these: the artist, the curator, the gallerist, the press officer, the technician.
In the project she developed for the grant, she uses the experience and viewpoints of a series of professional photographers who document works of art to reflect on the way that many people receive information, and this, experience the work, on the basis of these pieces. She focuses on one of those interstices produced by the `assumed normalities´ with which we coexist within institutional practice, that which is occupied by these image-making professionals. In a linear progression of the thought of Walter Benjamin, she evokes a phenomenological study of the conditions in which these images are conceived, produced and distributed. Critically she posits the existence of a new formalism that seems to resemble the supposedly outdated formalism of Clement Greenberg and Michael Fried: it is not about the work itself, but how this is described visually through the work of another.

Tracing a great hyperbole, she also alludes to the question of authorship. Who is really the owner of the image that we are looking at? The artist or the photographer entrusted with its reproduction? She questions many other axioms: the mantra of originality, contemporary loyalty to the idea of creativity and even postmodern appropriationism. She thus reveals a paradox by reminding us that we rarely see the image in a catalogue as an appropriation of a piece, but merely as a document. The emotions involved in any artwork also emerge, by giving a voice to those that don´t usually have one.