Xabier Salaberria

Picture: Xabier Salaberría

Curated by: Catalina Lozano

In his work Xabier Salaberria (Donostia-San Sebastián, 1969) explores the ways in which certain structures behave in specific spaces, undermining their apparent neutrality and destabilizing the categories in which they are conventionally inscribed. Salaberria examines exhibition spaces as infrastructures that need to be questioned, responding to their architecture with gestures that manage to create a sense of estrangement, subtly disturbing our movement within the space, though often using readily recognizable materials.

The works in Infrastructure are ambiguously placed between different categories. The granite sourced from the Sierra de Guadarrama which was used in the construction of countless buildings in Madrid is shown in the space in its purportedly ‘natural’ state, even though such naturalness is quickly brought under question by means of the signature, though not necessarily recognizable, methodologies of Salaberria’s practice.

Just as he destabilizes the boundary between the categories of nature (stone) and culture (architecture), Salaberria continues exploring his interest in the potentially ambiguous status of the categories of tool and ornament (or, on previous occasions, jewellery). This play with conventional definitions of value subjected to hierarchies related with work—or non-work—is historically inscribed within the West and is also the subject of the experimentation of an artist who develops his practice through obstinate manual labour coupled with mechanically produced pieces.

These exercises in destabilization are continued in the editorial component of the project through photography, nonetheless accommodated in previously recognizable formats that respond undisciplinedly to a modern logic of classification and representation.

In collaboration with the architect Patxi Eguiluz and the graphic designer Maite Zabaleta.


Xabier Salaberria lives and works in Donostia-San Sebastian. His education period is linked to the Arteleku Art Centre, where he participated in several workshops given by Txomin Badiola and Ángel Bados in 1998, and by Peio Irazu, that same year, a space for meeting and discussion that he has maintained as a space for working and a reference over time. The many residency programmes he has participated in have led him to spend long periods abroad ‒which has given his work much visibility‒ and he has collaborated in projects curated by Peio Agirre, Chus Martínez, Lars Bang Larsen, Catalina Lozano and Beatriz Herraez, among others. His latest exhibitions include: Frisoa, Tabakalera Donostia/ Museo Oteiza Alzuza (2022-2023). Una exhibition sin Arquitectura, Museo Artium Gasteiz (2021). r de radio, Carreras Múgica, Bilbao (2020). Ganar Perdiendo, Centro Centro, Madrid (2019). Restos materiales, obstáculos y herramientas, 32nd Sao Paulo Biennial (2016). Can-ni-faire, CarrerasMugica (2016). Proceso y Método. (A.T.M.O.T.W.) Xabier Salaberria, Guggenheim Bilbao (2013). The Society Without Qualities, Tensta Konsthall Stockholm (2013). Inkontziente-Kontziente (Scenario1 about Europe), GFZK, Leipzig 2011.


Catalina Lozano is chief curator at Artium Museoa, the contemporary art museum of the Basque Country. Her field of research has centred on minor narratives that question hegemonic forms of knowledge. His recent curatorial and editorial projects include Hasta que los cantos broten (Mexican Pavilion at the 59th Venice Biennale, co-curated with Mauricio Marcin), A Natural History of Ruins (Pivô, 2021), The willow sees the heron’s image upside down (TEA, Tenerife, 2020), Le jour des esprits et notre nuit (CRAC Alsace, 2019, co-curated with Elfi Turpin), Ganar perdiendo (CentroCentro, 2019), Amarantus de Mariana Castillo Deball (MUAC and Artium Museoa, 2021) and Réplica de Santiago Borja (Museo Amparo, 2022), among others, and the book Crawling Doubles: Colonial Collecting and Affects (B42, Paris), co-edited with Mathieu K. Abonnenc and Lotte Arndt. In 2018 her book The Cure was published by A.C.A. Public. Between 2020 and 2022 she was Programs Director for Latin America at KADIST and, between 2017 and 2019, associate curator at Museo Jumex in Mexico City. Lozano was part of the artistic team of the 8th Berlin Biennale in 2014.