Jordi Colomer (Barcelona, 1962) learns design and Art History before moving on to study architecture in 1986, the year in which his first individual exhibition is held in the Juan Miró Foundation in Barcelona. His first artistic ventures revolve around pictorial abstraction, an approach he gradually leaves behind in favour of sculpture, drawing and collage. In all of his work Colomer establishes the link between objects in space and the three-dimensional role of the materials. Between 1991 and 1995 he lives in Paris, where his architectural resolution of space gains intensity, with references to the domestic environment. From 1996 onwards he works with photography and video.
The video Arabian Stars, presented in this exhibition, is the outcome of Colomer's lengthy stay in Yemen. The work describes the country in a way that is detached from the conception of anthropological documentaries, without exaltation or condemnation; thus the third world is represented without tragedy. The economic and social conditions are a daily reality for the people living there, not a spectacle of information and awareness for third parties. Paradoxically, Colomer adds humour to the work since he believes that the worst situations often produce laughter, as in much of Samuel Beckett's work. Colomer also presents the video on a stage with seats, created in order that visitors share and participate as actors that inhabit the set for a short time.
For Colomer, the limit between what happens on screen, while filming and in the screening room is something that flows and transforms; everything must work as a game of mirrors. In Arabian Stars men walk around showing signs, written in Arabic with the names of famous, real and fictitious, international characters such as Pablo Picasso and Batman.
Seen from inside Yemen, a country that receives very few images, the same occurs but in the opposite way - Picasso and Batman are “two products of the same kind”. The same goes for music, there is no Western music at all, no international hits. In Yemen Colomer notices that the word Picasso means nothing, thus leading him to reflect on the difference in meaning of such a well-known idea as fame.
Salvador Dalí Museum of St. Petersburg, Florida, USA (26 February - 31 August, 2005)