Elba Benítez

Vicente Blanco

16 Nov 2006 - 31 Jan 2007

"Otra vez algo nuevo"

Otra vez algo nuevo is the first exhibition by Vicente Blanco (Cee, A Coruña, 1974) to be held at the galería Elba Benítez, it is also his first solo show at a gallery in Madrid. In the central piece on display at the exhibition, Blanco aims to highlight certain symptoms of capitalist society derived from its continual thirst for new stimuli. The piece is a new animation video, which borrows its story from Pier Paolo Pasolini’s film Theorema (1968) and employs a cartoon style that became prominent during the Cold War.
Vicente Blanco’s work is invariably developed with an eclecticism of media. The use of drawing, collage and animation are given the equal prominence as parts of a unified approach that defines the iconographic configuration of his oeuvre. His work was the focus of much attention in 2003 thanks to the exhibition Lo que se espera de nosotros (What is expected of us) held at the CGAC. At this show one could observe an ideological concatenation of subjects and a variety of stylistic solutions with which Blanco aimed to confront the individual with his or her own hopes and fears at one of the most confusing moments in life: adolescence. He offered an analysis of the cultural and social glue of mass culture in an endeavour to reveal its influence on the growth of individual identity. In 2004, his exhibition at Espacio Uno in the Reina Sofía Museum, MNCARS, Alguna vez pasa cuando estáis dormidos (It sometimes happens when you are slept), signified a new perspective on the processes of constructing identity, questioning the value of the representation of the image as such and making visible its inner structure and workings. Audiences had further opportunities to see Blanco’s work in Spain this same year, both at MARCO, in Vigo, and in 16 Proyectos de Arte Español curated by María de Corral for ARCO’06, with his video, The proll thing, in which he used animation to reconstruct the inside of the Café Moskau, in Berlin, using already existing photographs of the place as it operates a strict no photography policy. A questioning of the representability of the image, its influence on the development of the individual and the relationship of the latter with the space are recurring themes in the artist’s work.
Otra vez algo nuevo, the new piece being presented at the galería Elba Benítez, represents a new stage of progress in Blanco’s work. His personal approach is applied to every detail of this piece, from the first paper collages –which serve him to create landscapes, later to be scanned and reused in the animation– to the use of film footage, which has become a staple ingredient of his oeuvre. The influence of Suprematism and Constructivism, as art movements associated with specific political ideologies, is noticeable once again in the artist’s latest production. Blanco takes the cartoon style adopted by both sides in the 50s during the Cold War, which was used at the time to spread the word of their respective ideologies. Consequently, Otra vez algo nuevo has characters drawn in a way familiar to us all, rooms decorated with features taken directly from real life and a story based on a film by Pasolini which criticises bourgeois society’s self-indulgence in stark contrast with social reality (though it has also been interpreted as having a religious message). It is screened in a infinite loop not just to facilitate its exhibition, but because an intrinsic aspect of the work is the insatiability of this bourgeois family’s burning desire for novelty, its search for something meaningful, boy after boy, whether new experiences, tranquillity, or sexual satisfaction.
The video is presented together with an installation consisting of a cardboard lattice forming geometric rectangles. A projection of light and colour on the lattice explores the surface-background duality, heightening Blanco’s recurrent examination of the arrangement of planes and conferring colour the same kind of predominant role it played during the years of capitalist-communist friction. On display next to this lattice, which the visitor must circumambulate, are a series of stills from the video as well as others that have been modified. In this way, Blanco extends the range of the piece to encompass other media in a sequential order.
At a time when much is being written about the new, Blanco makes no attempt to criticize, but rather seeks to make spectators aware of it so they may reach their own conclusions and reflect as much upon the narrative of the piece as upon the phenomenon itself. The essence of what Blanco is conveying is not a desire for the new, but a desire for desiring, the core dissatisfaction on which the capitalist system revolves and where the new is always Something new once again.
Vicente Blanco graduated in Fine Arts at the Faculty of Pontevedra (University of Vigo). He has been awarded the following grants, among others, a scholarship to further his training at the CGU in Los Angeles (U.S.A.), a Generation 2000 project grant awarded by Caja Madrid and a Unión Fenosa Grant, which allowed him to live in Berlin. He has taken part in numerous group exhibitions, most notably in Transfer 2000-2001, which, following a spell at the CGAC, toured various Spanish and German cities, Monocanal at the MNCARS, in the year 2003, Enlaces at the Museo Patio Herreriano in Valladolid, in 2004, as well as in a variety of shows in 2006, such as, Urbanitas in MARCO (Vigo), ¿Viva pintura! at the HangArt 7 centre in Salzburg (Austria) and 16 x 16, 16 proyectos de arte español, curated by María de Corral for ARCO’06. His main solo exhibitions were held at the CGAC in 2003 (Lo que se espera de nosotros) and at the Espacio Uno of the Reina Sofía Museum –MNCARS– in 2004 (Alguna vez pasa cuando estáis dormidos).
Jose Castañal

© Vicente Blanco
Otra vez algo nuevo, 2006. High Definition digital video.

Tags: Pier Paolo Pasolini