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Thursday, 7th March - Saturday, 20th AprilJavier Arce MAP OF THE MOULDNo 20 Arts

Javier Arce




8 March – 21 April 2019


in collaboration with Galeria Carles Taché


No 20 Arts is delighted to present Map of the Mould, a solo exhibition by Javier Arce. Featuring works on paper, installations and a video piece, Map of the Mould is the first solo show of the Spanish artist in the UK. The exhibition is part of the ongoing collaboration established between Galeria Carles Taché and No 20 Arts based on the common interest in promoting artists beyond their geographical contexts.


The phrase “Map of the Mould” comes from Arce’s reinterpretation of a verse in the poem Song for the rainy season by American poet Elizabeth Bishop as she reflects on the house that her partner, Lota de Macedo, built for the two of them in the Amazon rainforest. The emotional connection with the natural environment that exudes from Bishop’s words is also the unifying thread in Javier Arce’s latest series of works.


The artworks included in this exhibition develop from Arce’s decision to relocate to a cabin in the mountains of Cantabria, the forest region in the north of Spain where he is originally from. Contrary to the common implications that a remote cabin might evoke, this decision was not a quest for isolated loneliness but rather, an exercise to foster creativity by connecting with nature, an opportunity to re-evaluate contemporary society and the relationship between the two of them.


This duality is evident in the series titled Keep Politics Out of the Picture – installations where random elements that belong to the social or natural worlds meet, striking up a conversation about human and natural history. This dialogue between the natural and the cultural also reflects on works such as Gezi Taksim (Parque), an impressive 137 x 200cm monochrome grey drawing from a series that depicts protesting crowds as part of recent socioeconomic conflicts,  such as the Arab Spring or the 2008 financial crash, while capturing a hedonistic, relaxed and cheerful spirit.


The colour grey and drawings probably are two of the elements that best represent Arce’s recent interests. Often regarded not as a colour of its own, grey is dismissed as something in between black and white, commonly used as a synonym for boring, dull, monotonous or indifferent. By employing only grey, the artist forces contemplation on the viewer, for it is only when we come closer to examine the artworks that we are able to fully perceive the subtle tonal differences as well as the finer details contained in the drawings.


This is not an exhibition about nature as a source of artistic inspiration but rather, an exhibition about nature as art. Arce gives new life to natural elements of his surroundings: ashes of the remnants of the burnt wood in the stove used to heat up his cabin while drawing are later added to those very same drawings and the old wooden entrance door of the cabin, turned into an etching board, has now become an integral part of an installation. All these elements allow the viewer to understand the geographical context of Arce’s slow and progressive, just like the transformation of mildew, creative process. In other words, the artist presents us with his personal map of
the mould.

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