ANA GALLARDO. HERE TREMBLED A DELIRIUM
Still from the film "La Cumbre", 2023. Authored by Ana Gallardo. Image courtesy of the artist.
Curated by Alfredo Aracil and Violeta Janeiro.
Ever since the late nineties, by which time globalisation had brought about a framework of precariousness and the feminisation of work beyond the domestic and caregiving context, the art of Ana Gallardo (Argentina, 1958) has been questioning the privatisation of feelings and social relations from a perspective that focuses on the open wound of violence against women.
Rather than placing herself as a victim, Ana Gallardo seeks to stage a desire for personal and collective revenge. Her resentment, stemming from the repudiation of death as a repressive tactic, is channelled into an urge for worldmaking and forming other kinds of links with the living. Her approach is thus far removed from the spitefulness present in the politics of hate, as championed by those who feel their own privileges have been compromised. Such people are the true masters of terror and oblivion; they threaten to disappear the bodies and life experiences of all those mothers, daughters and grandmothers who cannot comply with the prevailing colonial and patriarchal axioms.
This artist’s place, within such a pedagogy of cruelty, enables the experience shared by so many to come to the fore. Ana Gallardo’s unwavering determination to create — putting herself at stake while pondering how and with whom she can learn to live differently — is driven by the possibility of making something with the materials of grief; her artistic practice does not provide a cure, but it can repair and empower other becomings. But also, and above all, she strives to turn grief into a public process. Invoke the memory, manifest the absent, activate it, ever bearing in mind the women who die before their time, in great pain. There is also an attempt to make other women’s dreams come true; these women, while still alive, are punished for daring to challenge the order of capitalist social reproduction.
Having eschewed the identity-based strategies that celebrate suffering as the truth of each individual subject, of particular note in this route through twenty years of production are the artist’s vital impulse and her refusal to conform, even with herself. Her commitment to a struggle, forged in solidarity with women who are different-but-the-same, is embodied in a collection of works supported by oral testimonies, confessions, collaborative accounts and settings for an approach that blurs matters of the self with those of the other.
Here trembled a delirium is not a retrospective. It is one of the many possible journeys through Ana Gallardo’s output, a diary of her movements around the global South and its geographies of necropolitical violence and extractivism. The autobiographical side of the exhibition is not confined to the theatre of the self, but rather it exposes the limits of all subjective experience. Here, artistic practice is conceived of as a technique for getting to know oneself and for mutual support, thanks to the participation of a whole cast of voices that, as in Sophocles’ Antigone, form a family bound not by blood ties; in turn, this helps create an area of continuity in which the critique of subjugation — because of race, sex, age, class and other forms of repression — just like an earthquake, has aftershocks in the defence of territories. The traumas suffered by the mountains and the bones lost deep in the jungle are no different to our own. Land is the matter of the memory
Ana Gallardo is a political artist, and, as such, disputes the conventional meaning of this category in contemporary art. Even early on, her work explored ideas that, today, are embedded in feminism and gender theories. Pieces made with almost nothing or with everything that is around: her output is expressed in diverse, fragile and unstable mediums that enhance the artist’s creative practice and identity. Her work is infused with personal stories, her own and those of others, always driven by desires, by attempts to move through states of mind and to make structural violence visible. Gallardo works on non-domination and the anti-productive emotions of capitalist society. The topics she addresses are linked to family, work, old age, the art system and violence against women.
Some of her most important solo exhibitions have been shown at the following galleries: Ruth Benzacar Gallery (Buenos Aires, 2019); Museo Jumex (Mexico, 2018); Museo Es Baluard (Spain, 2017); MAMBA (Buenos Aires, 2015); Sam Arts Projects (Paris, 2013); Museo Municipal de Arte (La Plata, 2013); and Parasol Unit Foundation for Contemporary Art (London, 2012), among others. Her work has been included in group exhibitions at institutions and museums such as Kunsthalle Lund Art Gallery (Sweden, 2016); Maison Rouge (Paris, 2015); Whitechapel Gallery (London, 2013); Palais de Tokyo (Paris, 2013); and the Museum of Memory and Tolerance (Mexico City, 2012). Gallardo has participated in international exhibitions such as the 56th Biennale di Venezia (2015), 29th International Art Biennial of São Paulo (2010), and the 7th Biennial of Mercosul (2009), among others.
Alfredo Aracil (A Coruña, 1984) holds a Master’s degree in Contemporary Art History and Visual Culture from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid and the Museo Reina Sofía. He participated in the 10th edition of the Artists and Curators Programme of the Di Tella University of Buenos Aires.
In 2017, he won the Comunidad de Madrid curators’ competition with the project Apuntes para un psiquiatría destructiva, an artistic investigation into the poetics and politics of mental health. The project was continued by the reading group and public programme Una fuerza posible, held in the summer of 2018 at the Museo Reina Sofía in Madrid.
He has taught courses, given workshops, curated exhibitions in galleries, institutions and collections in both Argentina and Spain. He worked in the public programmes and exhibitions departments of the Museo Reina Sofía in Madrid and the LABoral Centro de Arte in Gijón, where he was Head of Outreach until 2017. He is currently Head of the Educational Department of the Museo Moderno de Buenos Aires and collaborates on designing cultural activities in Latin America for the Caja Negra publishing house.
In 2021, Apuntes para una psiquiatría destructiva was published by Piedra y Papel. He is currently writing Ruta Norte. Líneas de exceso y electrónica de baile en la Asturias en los años noventa, which will be published by Colectivo Bruxista.
Violeta Janeiro Alfageme (Vigo, 1982). An art curator, she researches and writes about social thought that has been marginalised by the narratives of power. She is currently doing her PhD at the University of Santiago de Compostela with a thesis on political imagination in the 1990s in Spain that originates in disenchantment. Interferencias, una memoria que sigue viva pero no lo sabíamos (Interferences, a memory that is still alive but we didn't know it) is a long-term project on the processes of politicisation of subjectivity in a generation of women artists, seen as subaltern subjects, who developed an artistic sensibility in years of repression and darkness.
In 2023, she directed the17th edition of the Tenerife Fotonoviembre International Biennial of Photography. Other curated projects in 2023: How long is an echo? at the Städtische Galerie Kubus in Hannover, and Preservation paradox with Jumana Manna at Matadero, Madrid. She has collaborated with Spanish Cultural Centres in Lima, La Paz and Santiago de Chile; the Museo Reina Sofía (Madird, Spain); Kunsthall Trondheim (Norway); the CIA in Buenos Aires and Bisagra in Peru; she has also taught at UCEAP (University of California Education Abroad Program), at the Universidad de Nebrija, and given Summer Photography Courses at the Universidad Carlos III and the Círculo de Bellas Artes in Madrid among others. She co-runs and curates Late Idea Dice, which looks at ideas related to geopolitics and trauma. Recent projects include working with Palestinian artist Jumana Manna and Iranian artist Gelare Koshogozaran as well as the writer Gabriela Ybarra.