ETAC’s Dynamic Form of Expression
This digital catalogue will contain the results of the first two editions of the ETAC Crossborder Contemporary Art Space artist residency project, led by Bòlit, Contemporary Art Centre. Girona in partnership with Addaya Contemporary Art Centre, Le LAIT Art Centre, La Panacée Contemporary Culture Centre in Montpellier and the Museu de l’Empordà in Figueres, with backing from the Pyrenees-Mediterranean Euroregion.
The ETAC network of centres and museums was set up in 2014 and the artist residency project is being carried out in 2015 and 2016 (etac-eu.org). This network aims to bring together a series of art centres with shared goals linked to contemporary creation and to forge ties between them by carrying out joint projects. By backing the artist residency project, the ETAC group seeks to increase the mobility flows of visual art professionals and their public across this crossborder space and to promote this region and the participating art centres worldwide.
The first edition of the ETAC residencies took place between October 2014 and May 2015, and the second edition is due to take place in February and March 2016. The catalogue will be published in two parts. This edition contains a general introduction and the results of the first artists-in-residence. The second edition will cover the residencies held in the first quarter of 2016.
The participating artists in both editions of the ETAC residencies were selected through international calls for projects, which attracted 290 entries from all over the world. In the first edition, the selected artists—Javier Chozas (Madrid), Raphaël Emine (France), Jennis Li Cheng Tien (Berlin), Edith Medina (Mexico) and Mireia c. Saladrigues (Catalonia)―each did a two-month residency split between two ETAC centres, spending six weeks at each centre. In the second edition, three solo artists and two pairs of artists will do a two-month residency at one ETAC centre: Amanda Gutiérrez (Mexico) at Bòlit in Girona, Maria Tsagkari (Greece) at Le LAIT in Albi, Daniel Gasol (Catalonia) at Addaya, Francesca Gatello & Zeno Franchini (Italy) at La Panacée and Delfina Margulis & Martín Heredia (Argentina) at the Museu de l’Empordà.
The idea is that the artists should produce original pieces of creative work, and each edition has had a theme for reflection and analysis as a common denominator across the different contexts of the ETAC centres and museums. The subject for exploration in the first edition was the dichotomy between repetition and difference, taking a line by Gilles Deleuze as its framework of reference. The leitmotif of the second edition is the (increasingly stale) concept of cultural tourism, and the artists are invited to question the city and its urban, economic and cultural development. In both cases, the subject serves as a springboard for free thought, guided by each artist’s own interests and professional career. The aim is to facilitate research work that engages with contemporary artistic practice from social, conceptual and intermediary perspectives, among others. At the same time, it also encourages the artists to pay particular attention to aspects of the ETAC crossborder region as a geographical and conceptual space and a framework for study, analysis and reflection. We also suggest that the artists consider the five participating cities’ acclaimed heritage and status as tourist destinations as a space for exploring the social and cultural ties between past, present and future, thus constituting a space for shared work and reflection on contemporary artistic practices.
In addition, the project methodology for each period of residencies also envisages a meeting to bring together the artists and the directors of the centres where participants can pool ideas and discuss their art projects. At these meetings, sharing knowledge, comparing experiences and contrasting work processes and creative approaches are very much at the fore.
The ETAC project also aims to boost recognition of artistic practice and artists’ intellectual work as powerful tools for social and cultural research, in the same way that experimental and scientific methods are used in other fields of knowledge. Likewise, this publication contains the results of research work by artists from different parts of the world eager to work in unfamiliar surroundings in order to stimulate conceptual, critical and reflective work.
The artists-in-residence were selected on the basis of the project they submitted, which serves as the blueprint for their work, although they are free to carry out further research and expand, confirm, alter, adapt or even rule out their initial idea. The residency space becomes a laboratory for research and study where time may stand still or speed up to enable the artists to reflect and create. Their approach is that of a researcher, meticulously squeezing out every last possibility from their surroundings.
ETAC’s interest stretches beyond the material piece of contemporary art, back to the creative work that went before, which can underpin the piece and, above all, foster reflection. In this project, we stress the importance of the thought process and regard it as a result in itself, without further ado. In order to present these largely intangible yet observable results, we decided to design a tool that would span different formats (website, exhibition and book) and which we have defined as a dynamic catalogue. This publication lets us try out a new way of bringing the artists’ creative processes closer to the public: a catalogue that aims to hold up the creative process as a unique, intriguing and revealing process by exploring its communicative and thought-provoking potential.
This publication includes three kinds of content: reflection, description and creation. First of all you will find different reflective texts by specialists in contemporary creation and culture. Next there is a description of the profiles of the participating artists and the projects they carried out during their residency. Finally, the artists themselves describe their own creative process in the best way they see fit, documented through images, videos, texts and sounds, which makes this section a means of creation itself.
The contents of this open, extendable, digital publication are set out in a visual, interactive, narrative fashion. Each reader or visitor becomes a navigator, revealing fresh ways of accessing the digital contents and making it possible for the user-navigator to choose how far and fast they venture into the dynamic, modular maze before them.
Director. Bòlit, Contemporary Art Centre. Girona