With Antoni Abad and Liron Shimoni
When the nominees for the renown Turner Prize 2015 were announced, murmurs of surprise could be heard coming not only from inside, as well as from outside the art world. The reason for this agitation was that, among famous contemporary artists, there was Assemble, a collective that merges design, architecture and art in order to develop projects with communities, focused on helping them satisfying some of their real-life needs.
In the end, the 2015th Turner Prize was indeed awarded to Assemble. This time, though, it was not only a matter of recognition, not even a simple matter of winning; it was a matter of shaking and reshaping the concept of art itself, especially when considering that this decision came from within of one of the most highly regarded official institutions of the art world, the Tate gallery.
Socially engaged art is not new. It has its roots in the sixties when this kind of art started to speak up in the art community. However, in a time when the art market is as fierce as ever before, turning the spotlight to a kind of “art that matters and makes a real difference”, that can hardly be bought and sold, requires from us some reflection on the matter.
The artist ceases to be by himself/herself, being the sole master of its own work, creating and using inanimate materials that can be easily manipulated. In this case, the artist becomes a real change-maker, the seed planter leader of what will be largely unpredictable, lasting outcomes which will affect real people’s lives and were created through a collective process.
Due to the reemergence of socially engaged art, its importance and intricacy, this month’s GlogauAIR Artist Talk invites you to explore the practical, conceptual and ethical inherent complexities of the challenge of setting up a project that deals with non-art related communities, defies the traditional role of the artist, the role of the art and ultimately of how art is presented to the public.
Antoni Abad – Born in Lérida, Spain in 1956, is currently based in Barcelona. Abad holds a degree in Art History (1979), having studied in Barcelona, Cuenca, London and Perugia. Inicially a sculptor, he later evolved towards video art, net.art and different forms of new media, usually engaging communities. His last project, BlindWiki, is an experimental citizen network where participants who are blind or visually impaired use smartphones to share their findings by posting geolocated audio recordings. This project will also be presented in Berlin Biennale 2016.
Liron Shimoni – Born in Tel Aviv, Israel in 1976 is currently based in Barcelona. Shimoni is a photojournalist and a visual anthropologist specialized in social conflicts. He is a regular contributor for Geo magazine, Asia Geographic, Lonely Planet and National Geographic Travel. White Shadows exhibition has been touring around the world since 2010, having been shown in places such as Sidney, Madrid, Barcelona, London, Israel, Granada, Belfast, Georgia (USA) and now Berlin, at GlogauAIR.