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LOOP 2007

Lucía Egaña Rojas, En la cámara de seguridad (2007)

On the occasion of LOOP's fifth year, the whole city of Barcelona has become for several days an exceptional showcase to evaluate the international situation of video art.

This initiative emerged with the purpose of bringing to the Count city samples that could typify each of the strata constituting the universe of video creation - from the production and distribution of the works to their preservation and exhibition.

And therefore, this year it includes again a programme which will try to transcend the fair - considered here just "the financial element of the event": through the distribution of activities in a series of urban routes, it expands itself to the whole city, and thus adds heterogenous spaces like shops and restaurants as important decentralising factors to the traditional exhibition domain of museums and galleries.

Among the most notable events, it is worth highlighting the showing in CCCB of The Cremaster Cycle, the famous work of the mediagenic American artist Matthew Barney, highly acclaimed by both audience and critics - more than 1500 people have attended the screenings. Just as noteworthy was the exhibition dedicated to Sanja Ivekovic, one of the pioneers of videoart, whose works have filled the halls of Fundación Tàpies with question marks over dialectics such as public/private identity, power/freedom, State/individual, etc.

Sanja Ivekovic, Personal Cuts (1982)

The last three days of the festival have been marked by the holding of the fair, whose specialised nature is one of its trump cards in an increasingly saturated calendar of artistic, financial events, as well as its display proposal, which - even though it is not original at all - works as a major attraction for visitors.

In line with a prevalent trend at video art fairs, each gallery was provided with a hotel room (in this case in Hotel Catalonia Ramblas) to install their showings, a display format with outstanding properties, such as the obvious comfort of the rooms and their increased ability to involve the public by avoiding the asphyxiating asepsis of usual black boxes. This cozy ambience has undoubtedly had an effect on the behaviour of visitors, who have devoted more time than usual to each work, and who often have had a relaxed chat with the artists and gallery owners themselves, as the latter had at their disposal habitable spaces instead of cold and impersonal "art containers".

The LOOP Award, to which every video present at the fair aspired, went to the Taiwanese artist Wang-Ya-Hu and her work Sunshine on Tranquility, a delicate piece in which we can see, from a fixed point of view, a room whose moving walls make up a number of possibilities of light that relativise the spatial relationships between objects, observers and the room itself. This prize just confirms the booming situation of Oriental art, which due to its nerve and originality aspires to become the international art epicentre over the next years.

Carlos Garaicoa, La habitación de mi negatividad (II), (2005)

On the other hand, the LOOP Acquisition award went to La Habitación de mi negatividad (II), by the Cuban artist Carlos Garaicoa. With this work, which will become part of the MACBA's permanent collection, Garaicoa invites reflection by pointing out the tensions that originate from the confrontation between two of the intrinsic realities of a word -the signifier and the written representation. It all results in a work both lyrical and suggestive.

Added to the festival and the fair, the third mainstay of LOOP has been the Panels section, which consisted of a series of talks directed at the general public as well as at specialists, with the intention of analysing various matters related to the video art world. This year's subjects were focused on aspects concerning the storage of works, relying on the presence of many top specialists in this field who have explained the main aspects that must be taken into consideration when planning the preservation as well as the presentation - all in all, a luxurious theoretical complement for an event that gathers strength year on year, doing its bit to consolidate Barcelona as a point of reference for the international emerging art.

By Raúl Molín López

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