«Valise Diplomatique Low Cost», curated by Nilo Casares – a writer and curator committed to the circulation and promotion of public art – is a project designed around art in a suitcase, in other words small works which fit into a space equivalent to the dimensions of cabin baggage on a low cost airline.
Whether it acts purely as a container or as a work of art in itself, whether it is left intact or manipulated, transparent or sealed, the suitcase, with its transportability, its ability to transfer from one place to another, becomes the common link in a nomadic collective which travels in the native countries of the sixteen artists taking part – most of them Latin American – and which reaches the second of its sixteen stages as it enters the setting of the Royal Spanish Academy in Rome.
The suitcases arrive packed with themes linked to identity, to public and private, politics, utopias and dystopias of the present. The illustrious and institutional context of the Spanish Academy provides courteous space for the political and radical fire unleashed from the small containers, even when it touches on the most intimate of areas, such as High Cost Lover by Luigi Pagliarini who, in a miniature suitcase, recreates (in the content but also in the container) the traces of a passionate emotion. The price is high, so high that not even a low-cost flight can make up for it.
Sound too comes out of the suitcases to sculpt the surrounding space. This is the case with Brian Mackern’s Temporal de Santa Rosa, constructed by tracking the radio-static interference caused by the Santa Rosa storm (the work was created in 2008 and later adapted for the suitcase project). Arcangel Costantini’s electrical inductions – part of the 2006 Sonoshock series of public actions – materialise the body’s emotional frequencies.
The sound installation Molecular Monologue by Isabel Logfren and Mats Hjelm, and Todos Somos Inmigrantes by Carla Cruz address, in their different forms, the issues and conditions of immigration, without neglecting questions concerning translation as its linguistic accompaniment through diverse cultures codified within each other.
For some, surveillance is the modern condition, acting as a bridge between public and private. Do Not Open, RafaCHel Co’s suitcase under airport surveillance, and the sealed and censored case of Travessia Censurada by Rute Rosas, transfer this condition into space. With Escultura, Demian Schopf carries in his suitcase one of many possibilities to circumvent security with the power of art, in his case by obtaining the documents needed to transport a large knife, found in 2007 and prohibited from travelling in the cabin, yet authenticated (by the authorities) as a sculpture.
There is no form of ephemeral existence that cannot be enclosed in one of these suitcases, like the sea poetry of Quique Ramírez and that of the light showing through the painted abstraction of a forest, extended upwards by an automatic motor to gradually reveal its glimmer.
Time also finds its place in Gustavo Romano’s Time Transfers Suitcase, where it takes shape as it intersects with the economic systems of social exchange and compares its value in monetary terms.
«Valise Diplomatique Low Cost», more than anything, hints at the possibility of “moving thoughts”, as Elena Giulia Abbiatici described it, quoting Paul Ricoeur in her review of the first stage of the project at Madrid airport (June 2015). At the Spanish Academy the works are coloured by new interpretations before being packed back into their compressed spaces awaiting their decompression in new locations. The exhibition was inaugurated in Madrid and will continue to travel in stages to each of the countries where the works were created: Paris, Munich, London, Stoccolm, New York, Montevideo, Mexico, Santiago del Chile, Buenos Aires, São Paolo, Melbourne, Istanbul, Oporto.
«Valise Diplomatique Low Cost», curated by Nilo Casares, itinerant project now at the Real Academia de España in Rome, until April 10, 2016. Artists: Antonio Ortuño (New York), Brian Mackern (Montevideo), Carla Cruz (Londres Demian Schopf (Santiago de Chile), Gustavo Romano (Madrid), Paul Cullen (Auckland Peter Burke (Melbourne), Rut Massó (Munich), Rute Rosas (Oporto), Volkan Diyaroglu (Istanbul), Quique Ramírez (Paris), Arcángel Constantini (México) Ciro Múseres (Buenos Aires), Isabel Löfgren + Mats Hjelm (Stockholm), Luigi Pagliarini (Rome), RAfachEL Co: Rafael Marchetti & Rachel Rozalen (São Paulo)
images (cover 1) Arcangel Costantini, «Relax Acizor DeLuze», 2015 (2) Luigi Pagliarini, «High Cost Lover», 2015 (3) RafachEL Co, «Do not open», 2015 (4) Gustavo Romano, «The Time Transfer Suitcase Time Notes Bank Project», 2015 (5) Demian Schopf, «Escultura», 2015 (6) Rute Rosas, «Travessia Censurada», 2015