Installation: Public Absence



4 minutos de lectura
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As a way of hooking people, a large window. Behind it, a mysterious show. In front of it, an astounded audience. Using these ingredients, Javier Peñafiel (Zaragoza, 1964) presents in CaixaForum's auditorium Public Absence, an installation piece that takes place inside a space behind closed doors and without an audience present. Peñafiel is helped by his large open window attracting great curiosity in the CaixaForum entrance hall, with its view into the auditorium summoning spectators before it and intriguingly inviting them to get to the bottom of the play of images, light and colour that is occurring inside the theatre, which is made up of completely empty seats. The aim: to think about the role of the audience based on its absence. "My main concern is to produce a different sort of time in order to invert, together with spectators, regulated time and the hierarchies that operate during the waiting times involved in all shows," concludes Peñafiel. Public Absence is a part of Espacios Abiertos (Open Spaces), the season of interventions by contemporary artists in CaixaForum that has so far included work by Chema Alvargonzalez, Soledad Sevilla and Jeppe Hein. The installation Public Absence by Javier Peñafiel can be seen in the CaixaForum auditorium (Av. del Marquès de Comillas, 6-8) between 13 May and 3 October 2004, providing it does not clash with any other programmed activities. Public Absence is based on the dichotomy of audience-empty: CaixaForum as a public space whose influx of people have made it one of the most visited centres in Barcelona; the large window that invites spectators to discover what is inside its large auditorium only when its is empty; the public is called upon to question its own role as audience; a mysterious spectacle that paradoxically takes place inside an empty space without an audience.Javier Peñafiel's intervention can only be seen when the auditorium is closed; that is, when there is no programmed concert or show taking place. It is then when the large window that looks onto the CaixaForum entrance hall is discovered. Inside this space, there is a closed door, a mechanised projector the projects images at intervals of various seconds onto the screen on the stage, while at the same time multiple rays of light create different coloured forms on the empty seats and other interior spaces. Outside the auditorium area, spectators are simply invited to contemplate Peñafiel's piece through a glass window, as if they were spies. Curiously, the images projected onto screen on the stage present a negative image of the visitors, like an allusion to the ghosts of absent spectators. The spectators' attention is drawn to one place or the other, following the norms of waiting and the expectation created by all shows. Based on an interest in philosophy and modern thought, the ideas of Javier Peñafiel involve critical thought and occasionally irony about the loss of an individual's innocence in modern times. Based on this, he started his work entitled Agencia de intervención en la sentimentalidad (Sentimentality Intervention Agency) in 1997, which explored the difficulties of personal communication. In his video installation Maltrato (Abuse), which Peñafiel created for the Sala Montcada of the Fundación ”la Caixa” and which currently forms a part of its Modem Art Collection, and in his project Tragedia de las corporaciones. Ignorancia (TCI) (Tragedy of Corporations: Ignorance), the artist attempted to express how our imaginary world is not protected by personal intimacy but is subjugated to laws of surveillance and desire.Public Absence 13 May to 3 October 2004 Place: CaixaForum AuditoriumAv. Marquès de Comillas, 6-808038 BarcelonaHours: Tuesday to Sunday, including holidays: 10 am to 8 pmClosed Mondays, except public holidays(Javier Peñafiel's installation piece can be seen providing it does not clash with any other programmed activities.)Free Entrance