Categories such as collective, attitude, movement and even network are of questionable value when defining Fluxus, the identity of which has been the subject of debate since its first public appearance at the Festival of Wiesbaden fifty years ago. The uncertainty has led to numerous contemporary art practices, such as relational and collaborative art, being traced back to Fluxus, although not much attention is paid to Fluxus in the more orthodox and habitual genealogies of contemporary art (minimalism, conceptual art and pop art).
Using methodological and conceptual strategies drawn from spheres of discourse such as theatre, dance, anthropology, archival work and journalism, the projects of Sharon Hayes (Baltimore, Maryland, 1970) explore the sometimes tense relations between history, politics and language, and they dissect the symbolic and narrative mechanisms through which the collective imaginary is built. In her performances, videos and installations, Hayes shows how the process of documenting a historical event ends up conditioning the way we see that event. She also proposes a critical reflection on topics such as the frictions arising between the public and the private – the personal and the collective – in today's media culture and the cathartic and empowering effect of the act of using one's voice and occupying urban space.
Mateo Maté (Madrid, 1964) uses ordinary objects from daily life, in many cases even objects linked to his own domestic routine, to explore how in late modernity the spaces we inhabit are racked with tension and violence, where what is private and social, political and existential, individual and collective mix together and become blurred. Interested in the potential symbolic value of the cartographic metaphor, Maté creates sculptural and performative spaces which, although they seem familiar to us, are also profoundly unsettling, as if they were plagued with latent dangers, perturbing enigmas. In his work, the Madrid-born artist suggests that in a context such as this one, in which our most immediate surroundings have become undecipherable geographies, full of threats and uncertainties, we must rethink and reinvent the notion of living, we must be capable of surpassing our gaze and concretising once again the spaces and objects around us.
The inauguration of the Documentation Centre and Library's new exhibition area will feature an exhibition of some of the pieces of experimental art created – outside of official cultural channels – in the mid sixties. These works of art represent a renovation of poetic language and a transgression of established limits. The frontiers between genres become blurred and poets decide to apply their avant-garde spirit to painting, music and theatre.