GEMA ALAVA. FIND ME. By NIEVES SORIANO
Published by Nieves Soriano in DESDE PARIS A BUENOS AIRES.
Rome, November 24, 2009.
Perhaps the aura has disappeared from art as Walter Benjamin proposed? But we still insist on giving totemic value to the artwork itself. Those who have a Picasso, a Barcelo' or a Tapies seem to have knowledge of an occult path towards divinity's favors. Furthermore, if this Picasso, Barcelo' or Tapies was acquired in an auction or an art fair for an unaudited amount of money following the rituals of exhibition and sells, the power's hierarchy is increased by the collective unconscious. The important thing is that this power's hierarchy is perceived through the societal acts that the artist himself/herself is exalting, and that the consumers of his/her art are able to get closer to the artist's own "geniality" through money.
But, what would happen if we find a Picasso, a Barcelo' or a Tapies hidden among everyday objects? What would happen if we were to revolutionize the nature of the "exhibition space" and treat the artwork as the purely physical object that it is?
Gema Alava, with her project "Find Me," has managed to unite well known artists (Lars Chellberg, Barbara Holub, Paul Kos, Ester Partegas, Robert Ryman, Arne Svenson, Merrill Wagner, Lawrence Weiner and Maria Yoon) who have delivered to her, at her request, pieces specifically made to be shown--that is, hidden--among ordinary, everyday objects. Alava's project, presented in New York, aims specifically to reverse the social orders of current artistic rituals. The reverberations of "Find Me" are all the more significant because the artists themselves, successful and already well known, recognized at once what she was up to and did not hesitate to place their bets on her insight, aware that by doing so they were challenging the very art system that has brought them to notice in the first place.
Nieves Soriano, phD. (b. 1981, Albacete, Spain) is a thinker and philosopher fluent in English, French, Italian, Arab, Catalan, Japanese and Spanish. She has published five books, has been awarded numerous grants and lives currently in Rome.