March 5 – April 6, 2013 Exhibition opening: March 5th, 7pm.
Patricia Esquivias’s exhibition “Folklore” at the Gallery Miroslav Kraljevic features for the first time all four works from the series in a single gallery space. Her works thematize the history of Spain, its culture and image. Folklore video installations deal with the events of historical significance and parallel stories which are stored in the collective, “folk” memory. Using a modest aesthetics and unrehearsed speech to narrate the stories, Patricia Esquivias weaves together unrelated facts, presenting the making of history as a democratic, continuous, permeable and participatory activity. We watch the lecture through the subjective frame of the artist-narrator.
In the video entitled Folklore #1, the author continually comes back to two different topics. Starting from the thirty-six-year dictatorship in Spain, she enters the personal orbit of Franco’s protégé Jesús Gil, who abuses his position of minor power, amasses a small fortune and buys a soccer team, and then dies after having bet he can eat twenty fried eggs at once. The second narrative follows the rise and fall of the events related to rave music in Valencia, which began several years after Franco’s death in 1975. Folklore #1 is an attempt to explain the baroqueness of Spanish people in the context of 20th century history to the foreigners. Folklore #2 points to the similarities between Philip II of Spain (1527-1598) and Julio Iglesias and the global empires then and now. Once again mixing the historical facts about the reign of Philip II and tabloid gossip about Iglesias and his private life, the author takes us on an educational journey from Spain as a colonial empire, through Franco’s dark and isolated Spain, to today’s sunny, mass tourism Spain. Folklore #3 returns to an initial theory that the author was not able to confirm and is therefore structured like a poem, a kind of digression that perseveres. The artist connects two places; Galicia in Spain and New Galicia in Mexico, searching for their connections and differences, she places them in historical context and intertwines them with her own impressions and experiences. Folklore #4 will be presented with two videos. First one was originally made for a show at the Reina Sofía Museum, and another one was recorded three years later as a documentation of a lecture. The second film brings forward the problems of the first version and attempts to solve them. In this way it is similar to Folklore #3 as it is a process of reassessing her own work. In it, the author discusses the consequences of modernization in Spain in correlation with the local political and social changes. She builds this work based on a personal story, more precisely, her father’s innocent commentary that is than taken on to a national level and put in the context of Spanish history in 20th century.
Folklore as folk knowledge encompasses traditional culture made by the people/folk ‘from below’ and in that sense folklore stands in direct correlation with institutionally legitimated official knowledge. The works of Patricia Esquivias speak the language of folklore just like oral tradition which is realized through narration as the central form represented in all of her works. She addresses us, her voice, speech and gestures situate us in the here and now as if mimicking the moment of the oral transfer of knowledge. These narratives are an alternative view on the facts and events from Spanish history. The author rearranges historical facts by conducting her own investigation which reveals an absurd link between certain facts, thus providing a new insight into historical events, places and lives of public figures. Folklore as knowledge is a construct that is simultaneously created and exposed through her narratives.
Patricia Esquivias was born in 1979 in Caracas, Venezuela, and grew up in Madrid, Spain. She studied in London and San Francisco. Since 2005 her video works have been shown in Madrid (Galería Maisterravalbuena), Germany (Frankfurter Kunstverein, 5th Berlin Biennale), New York (White Columns, Murray Guy), Italy (Arcos Museum, Artissima), Amsterdam (Stedelijk Museum Bureau) and England (East International, Royal College of Art). She has won the Present Future Award and East International Award in 2007, Midway Contemporary Art in Minneapolis and Museo Nacional Reina Sofia in Madrid.Exhibition supported by: the City of Zagreb, Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia and Embassy of the Kingdom of Spain in Zagreb