4 JULY – 20 OCTOBER 2019
CURATED BY JUAN DE NIEVES
Paloma Polo (Madrid, 1983) builds her practice around relationships between power and knowledge and between knowledge and emancipation. Her early works engaged with grand scientific enterprises which prospered during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries thanks to their reliance on the colonialist and imperialist expansion of Western economies. Since then she has gradually shifted her attention to movements of struggle, resistance and social transformation that try to do away with forms of domination and exploitation, exploring the knowledge that emerges in this context. To this end she has focused on specific political conflicts. Following an immersive analysis of imperialist politics and territorial control in the Philippines (where she has lived and worked for the last three years), Polo studied forms of social organization that came about as the result of the struggle for national liberation in this country over the last fifty years. The Philippines project ties in with another process of research the artist started over a year ago which reflexively explores the lesser known side of the clandestine anti-Franco struggle, the anonymous grassroots militancy. When questioning specific struggles (by means of conversations, study and archive work) the artist discovered forms of life in common that were socially, politically and culturally shaped during the struggle and which were not conceived or created from the formal institutions of the production of knowledge. Her work involves a necessary revision and rewriting of history as a way of actively understanding and reacting to the present.
Polo was recently invited by Les Laboratoires d’Aubervilliers in Paris to undertake a one-year residency (2016-17) to develop her research project on the Spanish exile following the Civil War in the banlieu rouge in Paris, critically reconstructing this decisive period in recent Spanish history.
The project at CA2M surveys some of Polo’s most important projects to date, primarily focused on her cinematographic pieces made in the Philippines, while at once featuring the result of her research in Paris, a new piece that will be presented for the first time in the form of a film and/or other mediums. This exhibition is not just a mere pause between some of her more recent projects, and instead aspires to build an experience that questions the audience on the role of art as a tool for social and political transformation.
The project for CA2M includes a publication which compiles some of the previously unpublished texts on her activity in the Philippines, as well as other critical examinations of her project in France.