Promenades, Sunsets and Balconies (part 4)   [show/hide text]

collaboration with Dorothee Kreutzfeldt
Johannesburgh Art Gallery, South Africa 2010

The final exhibition at the JAG, entitled REFLEX| REFLEXIÓN, allocated specific spaces to each artists collaboration. We presented an installation that included aspects from the travel locations, a kind of travelogue in situ, which was animated by a performance on the opening night. Elements included: video projections of the carrying of the piano into the half-built house; a video projection of the Polish trumpeter playing on the promenade in Las Palmas; a projection of the half built house in Richmond; the archive of the pianos found in Richmond; the Gallery’s scaffolding with a stack of paintings of sunsets, bought on the side of a street in Johannesburg; framed texts, describing places in Richmond and Valencia; a replica of the balcony and canopy collage from Sala Papalló; a trolley filled with geraniums; a photocopy machine on top of a grand piano (the Gallery’s).

For the opening night we asked the Gallery’s curator Nontobeko Ntombela to photocopy selected images from our travel album and pin them on a wall, as part of our installation, until the machine ran out of ink. At the same time Marta Fernandez Calvo pushed the trolley with geraniums along the projected promenade and occasionally moved the scaffolding with the sunset paintings into the spotlight. The scene was set for:

‘The traveller who doesn’t speak the local language (or not enough), who lost his companion at the previous station; he received a letter from his mother; he had run out of money… He liked the view. He had to learn what to look at, when or why to stop, who to speak to. You had to follow the rhythm of a new companion who was pointing at the building opposite to the destination (you preferred). You wanted to stay in your room and watch TV. You were more interested in the state of affairs elsewhere (once again). And how voluntary or coerced departures and arrivals were understood when they were reported. News (in our country) seemed more interesting. It wasn’t you who arrived on a boat, half dead. To then walk, to the placeless measure of promenades, balconies and sunsets (and again).

‘From the traveller notes: Something between the approach of oncoming traffic and the slow sweeping of a balcony, the archiving of missing keys of the pianos in a small town; the endless process of counting things, the uneven numbers, the difficulty of saying the same thing twice; observing the movement of traffic along a promenade; an island; a way of standing at the top of the stairs; arguing over the price of a photocopy; waiting for the announcement of; collecting sunsets that were painted at different speeds; asking him (the painter) to slow down; what if you had lived the life of José María Albiñana?.... as a way to avoid history.’

Parallel to the exhibition we held a workshop at the Bag Factory Artists Studios based on our collaborative practice so far, called ‘Sketches for Balcones’, with a group of participants. The aim was to develop ‘sketches’, topics or situations for and from balconies in the neighbourhood of the Bag Factory, working in an exploratory way across the disciplines of visual arts, performance, architecture and sound. It proposed an exploration of the role, architectural characteristics, the social and conceptual dimensions of balconies. The outcomes of the workshop took on the form of performances, videos and drawings/proposals for and at actual sites and were presented to the public.

(Text by Dorothee Kreutzfeldt)


Supported by the Embassy of Spain in South Africa, the Nirox Foundation, the Johannesburg Art Gallery, MAP, The Bagfactory Artists Studios, Sala Parpalló, Casa África and Centro de Arte La Regenta.