Concha Jerez, honoured with the National Award for Plastic Arts and the Velázquez Prize, has been working to develop an intensive creative project since the 1970s, setting out from conceptual art to make site-specific interventions that are markedly critical. She is one of the performance pioneers in Spain and has made numerous sound art and radiophonic pieces, most notably those created with sound artist and composer José Iges.
Our Memory Is Being Stolen presents a project created specifically for the four stairways of the Museo’s Sabatini Building, to which the artist refers as a “great container of memory”; a former hospital upon which forgotten, self-censored, written, oral and, on many occasions, silenced memory is re-inscribed. Moreover, in different spaces — the Vaults Gallery, Protocol Room, Floor 3 — a selection of works take place with a broad temporal arc: from her “self-censored writings”, made in the mid-1970s, to the InterMedia installation Espectros de silencio (Spectres of Silence, 2001).
In his Minima Moralia, philosopher Theodor W. Adorno set forth a bitter diagnosis upon reminding us that “the historical dimension of things is nothing more than the expression of past suffering”. Concha Jerez insists on the need to interfere in the media, to not fall into nihilism and to face up to, with an attitude of ethical and aesthetic courage, the cynical drifts of the present. In her works, we witness “news checking”, meditations on the disarticulation of a political party, testimonies of utopias, views of the limits we inhabit or journeys through landscapes of conflict and exclusion. The artist, moreover, is fully aware that memory is key to reactivating criticism in unhinged times and, above all else, reminds us, in her intervention against the void, that we must avoid history merely repeating itself as farse.
Museo Reina Sofía Publications