Matadero Madrid center for contemporary creation
2019 presented us with one of the most terrifying images that this adolescent 21st century has ever known: the Amazon in flames. A fire that could well be considered the symbol of many other ground zeros that are still burning both physically and metaphorically in the world and that are not only an eco- logical catastrophe but also a profound global crisis for which there is no single explanation nor a single solution. What does seem evident is that neither the former nor the latter can come from the same place that has given rise to the calamitous lifestyle that has brought us to this point. We live, therefore, in times that invite us to subvert the hegemonic models of thought that are at the very heart of the planet’s current political, social and economic organisation. In these critical moments, there is an urgent need to incorporate other subalternate knowledge, epistemologies that have been systematically rejected but can provide an alternative to that of the Western canon and its life proposals.
Bolivian sociologist Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui, who has been an important intellectual reference for artists and researchers in residence at the Centre during 2019, says that the Aymara people believe there are two ways of thinking: lupi’ña or thinking with a clear head and in the light of reason, and amuyt’aña or thinking with the chuyma, i.e., with the upper entrails: the heart, lungs and liver. To think, therefore, from organs whose function is to oxygenate and purify the body “in an exchange with the cosmos”. In these troubled times we live in, what does it mean to think with your entrails? How do current artistic and cultural practices incorporate these other ways of thinking? Where would we be if we were to think from the heart, lungs and liver? These questions have been orbiting the Matadero’s Centre for Artists in Residence for the past twelve months. During this period, dozens of bodies, rhythms, affective and political memories, have converged in a place that has opened its doors, in particular, to those forms of living in and from dissidence. Coloniality, the land crisis, forced displacements, racism, (lack of) memory and discrimination in any of its manifestations -sexual, racial, gender, class, origin- are some of the debates that marked the different residencies, underlining the commitment that some artistic practices have with their context and the biography of their creators.
HEART LUNGS LIVER is a “metaphor-concept”, in the words of Rivera Cusicanqui, who presents the work of twenty-four artists who have participated in different programmes during 2019. Rather than just being based on a theme, the exhibition is based on the points of encounter and disagreement between the different subjectivities that have inhabited and made this space their own. Memories, gestures and materials that address, with different levels of intensity, the emergencies of the present. A present that returns us to the past at an inordinate speed; a past that never departed and that leads us to the idea of an interrupted future, so fragmented that it vanishes into thin air. In the context of this project, thinking with the entrails therefore implies embracing the bewilderment that this causes and breathing in a space where everything is constantly being renamed.
Andrea Pacheco González and Mônica Hoff
Curators: Mónica Hoff and Andrea Pacheco González