Exhibition "Adquisicions MAMT"

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Given the special circumstances in which museums, art centres, artists and other agents of art have been forced to perform their activity over the last few months, it would be at the very least reductionist to approach a collection from an exclusively heritage-based perspective. The health crisis we are immersed in undoubtedly requires us to focus on a series of issues that go beyond the logical framework of how a collection usually operates: it establishes a cohesive narrative on the artistic practices developed in a specific region. Although considering a collection outside of its time frame is extremely complicated and because the uncertain situation we find ourselves in invites us to project ourselves in a compulsive way towards the future, in this case a post-pandemic future, the possibility of articulating a collection, of rethinking it and diffusing it, is also an invitation to review the protocols and the structures that intervene in said process of articulating a collection. In the same way that the pandemic has placed our most immediate relationship with the present at the centre, a collection can also be an invitation to place us there in a more conscious way, and to understand that collection in view of its impact in the short term.

The process of acquisition cannot solely be seen as a form of accumulation, or as an opportunity to complete a narrative, but as an opportunity to engage in a process of transfer and of generating a circulation. A collection, especially when it forms part of a public institution, establishes a framework of representation that must be continually reviewed and enlarged. Beyond cosmetic gestures, reorganisations, chronological reviews or adapting to new presentation formats, this review will not be effective unless it reviews the narratives contained in the works of art themselves. Although their significances follow an evolution that does not always coincide with the needs of the institution, the museum plays a key role in placing an art work in the present time, placing in crisis the imaginaries and the ideological, political and social structures that gave rise to not only its creation, but also its circulation and integration within the collection. In this regard, the opportunity to make new acquisitions represents an opportunity to agitate a body of works that produce an extensive, homogenous and petrified narrative. Its belonging and whatever justifies its suitability as a new addition should only be evaluated with regard to the possibility of placing into crisis and destabilising the rest of the collection, or at the very least, offering a new way of relating to what we take for granted.

Museums and art works are not neutral, and when they are, they lose their relevance as museums and as art works. We should always ask ourselves which narratives are welcomed by a collection and which narratives are left outside. It seems naïve to present art works as disperse fragments that we converge within a museum or an exhibition, because to do so we are naturally assuming the same line of discourse. On the contrary, it would seem more appropriate and in line with our circumstances to think that a collection, or in this case new additions, inhabit a space of happy contradiction. It is from this space that we are able to articulate a more critical, permeable and inclusive view, situated in an entirely present imperfect.

Marc Navarro