Museo de Arte El Salvador
MARTE Contemporáneo Program
April 15th to June 13th 2010
Semántica is a multinational collective project involving emerging/contemporary artists from Costa Rica, Cuba, El Salvador, the United States and Mexico. This exhibit originates as an idea from a conversation between six artist friends, in October 2008. The group came up with an investigative proposal that would attempt to find out if a multinational art exhibit could do without a curator, high production costs and burocratic paperwork regarding exports and imports of art as a good.
This proposal consists in creating an artist selection chain in which each artist, from an initial list, would choose the next individual, and this person would select a third individual. Each participant is given an identical blank book that he/she will work on. There are no rules to this game, or any limitations, and each artist can determine what his/her book contains or how his/her book is manipulated. These books were completed in September 2009 and started their journey around various countries, native to the artists, in April 2010.
Semántica interprets the concept of “the artist’s book” from 18 different perspectives. For some of the participating artists, this is their first artistic book; meanwhile, for others, this is one of the many art books they’ve created throughout their artistic life. The exhibit portrays books that have turned into diaries revealing the daily life of the artists, and others that have been transformed into art objects. Even if artists are strangers between themselves, they will come together through an intimate dialogue that leads to a collaboration representing the similarities and differences between the participating countries.
Semántica questions the separation that innovative media technology creates between the creator and his/her work of art, in this way, erasing implicit rules that separate the public from its experience at a conventional art gallery. As a consequence, this exhibit makes use of the traditional medium – “the artist’s book” – to express the need that is still present in various artists: to maintain a direct contact with the creation. The books are tangible objects with which the participants coexist for numerous months; turning them into valuable objects. This significance and worthiness of the object is what makes the artist not want the public to come into contact with the creation. Then again, Semántica is complete, as a work of art, only when the public, does actually, come into contact with the books. The public stops being a mere spectator to convert him/herself into an active participant of this sensorial experience.
Ironically, the exhibit takes advantage of the same media it questions in order to convert itself in a reality. All the communication between the participants takes place through digital media that shortens the distance, frontiers and political complications between countries. However, this first exhibit is still affected by shipping complications and the financial limitations some of the artists face. As a consequence, 6 books that were intervened by the participants from the Habana, Cuba, are still there; we certainly hope that they can be present in the upcoming exhibit.