Box (a proposition for ten years) Patricia Fernández
May 13—June 24, 2017
Reception: Saturday, May 13, 5–8PM
Once a year since 2013, “Box (a proposition for ten years)” for Commonwealth and Council is exhibited with its contents (re-purposed fragments, writings, drawings, paintings, and sculptural elements) as they accumulate, transform, and grow over time until 2022. Through this time-based sculpture, Patricia Fernández fosters a relationship with the space by proposing a personalized exchange system. For our 5th anniversary, Fernández re-activates a history of exchange and resistance. An indexing of the box’s contents will begin during this iteration.
During Franco’s dictatorship in Spain, a group of artists and writers fled to Paris and founded Ruedo Ibérico, a press and bookshop situated on the Left Bank. Ruedo Ibérico published books and journals in exile from 1961 until Franco’s death in 1975, which were intended to be smuggled over the border.
After Spain’s secret police bombed the location in Paris the same year as the dictator’s death, Ruedo Ibérico attempted to re-open its already precarious business. Suffering constant difficulties, Ruedo Ibérico sold the remainder of the books for paper weights in order to raise funds to return home. Due to the clandestine nature of the books in Spain, they were passed along and shared rather than sold. Eventually readership dwindled to an extremely radical audience. With the death of the dictator, the anti-fascist spirit in Spain also died and the books became forgotten.
On June 1, 1978, the iconic Galician ceramic factory and school, Sargadelos, showcased Ruedo Ibérico books in one of its galleries in celebration of the exiles’ return to Spain, for which it produced drinking cups bearing its logo. Unable to find the original design, Fernández re-imagines these cups based on the Ruedo Ibérico covers using the iconic Sargadelos blue.
Alongside “Box (a proposition for ten years),” Fernández displays her commemorative vessels inspired by the Sargadelos event, a radical act in support of Ruedo Ibérico’s vision of both beauty and political resistance. A gathering will take place on June 1st to pay tribute to the event. Guests are invited to bring a bottle to share with the artist, after which the cup used is offered as a gesture of exchange. The new addition to the box, as indicated by the index, will be the cup used by Commonwealth and Council.