THE MIDDLE FIELD – curated by Bruno Leitão and Marta Ramos-Yzquierdo
There is more than one way to make things or to find them. The curatorial team formed by Bruno Leitão and Marta Ramos-Yzquierdo, think of Crossroads as a platform for contemporary art, aware that the artist and the artworks have multiple channels to find ways to develop their researches and create places to instigate dialogues amongst themselves and with the public. One of these channels is the market; but even the market is related to other proposals and structures that are present in the art scene. A different channel is the one represented by traditional public institutions, these also support the production and circulation of other media, many times of the kind that are not so easily acquired by private collections.
THE MIDDLE FIELD is a programme born out of the idea of the compromise that these institutions and projects form hence creating an intermediate layer between artists and other agents of the contemporary landscape. For its first edition, the curators have decided to focus specifically on the importance of such institutions and their relentless support of artists that work with video and film.
The recognition of the importance of video production is evident since the experiments made from the late sixties until today. It forms part of the most important collections, both public and private, and occupies an important part of programmes on the most important venues and exhibitions around the world. In comparison to other media, video has not conquered a big presence in the art market, with the exception of a few significant art fairs exclusively for video works and dedicated sections in the main art fairs with special projects and galleries that take the risk of showing this format. Also private collectors who collect video art have a very specific profile, and often engage in its production and conception more than being focused on the property of the work, thinking about its peculiarities of circulation and exhibiting. On the other hand, it is impossible to think of art in the 21st century and not to talk about the importance of video, and other digital forms that have the screen or the projection as interface, a technology that is present in our everyday life and which is an ubiquitous way of communication and creation of images.
The gap, between market and production, is often filled by independent institutions, and the presence of video works in their programmes is very important if not exclusive. Their support, from production to the circulation or through residencies is essential for the development, experimentation and exhibition of Video Art.
THE MIDDLE FIELD comprises a selection of international independent institutions to offer a perspective on the video creation and video artist that are shown in their venues, including VideoBrasil (São Paulo, Brazil), Gasworks (London, UK), VideoArt Network (Lagos, Nigéria) and Bar Project (Barcelona, Spain).
Each invited institution will program a selection of videos as a one-day programme in a continuous screening at Crossroads art show. THE MIDDLE FIELD programme will be a meeting point for discussions throughout the event focused on the role of the exhibitions and their relevance for video art creation.
VIDEOBRASIL, São Paulo, Brazil, Established by Solange Farkas in 1991, Associação Cultural Videobrasil was born of the desire for an institution to house a growing body of artworks and publications amassed since the first edition of Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil, in 1983. Ever since, Associação has been working systematically to activate this collection, comprising artworks from the world’s Geopolitical South – Latin America, Africa, Eastern Europe, Asia and the Middle East –, video art classics, own productions and a vast collection of art publications. 2015 sees the launch of Videobrasil’s new headquarters in São Paulo, Brazil, the Galpão VB, a facility designed to permanently activate the collection’s artworks.
GASWORKS, London, UK, was established in 1994, as a non-profit contemporary visual art organisation working at the intersection between UK and international practices and debates. Gasworks provide studios for London-based artists; commission emerging UK-based and international artists to present their first major exhibitions in the UK; and develop a highly-respected international residencies programme, which offers rare opportunities for international artists to research and develop new work in London. All programmes are accompanied by events and participatory workshops that engage audiences directly with artists and their work.
Video Art Network (VAN), Lagos, Nigeria is based New Media art organisation established by the collaborative efforts of artists Emeka Ogboh, Jude Anogwih and cultural producer Oyindamola Fakeye. The organisation’s objectives are to develop educational and public programmes that promote and create new media art awareness in Nigeria. This is realised through curated screenings, workshops and exhibitions of both established and emerging video artists.
www.vanlagos.org // http://vanlagos.blogspot.com
BAR PROJECT, Barcelona, Spain, is a curator-run organization supporting local and international artists and curators and promoting trans-disciplinary dialogue, hospitality, collaboration and exchange. Through a public programme issued from international residencies, screening programmes, pedagogical formats, encounters and other collaborations related to an annual topic, BAR project researches on relevant subjects in the current political, social and economic paradigm. BAR project takes its name from the popular and social gathering place in south European culture in order to re-contextualise it and be able to work in a flexible, informal and professional way. BAR project is run by the curators Andrea Rodriguez Novoa, Juan Canela and Veronica Valentini.