Dora García. Infinite uses

Permanent intervention for the CA2M’s signage
Usos infinitos. Intervención permanente en la señalética del CA2M. Dora García

Usos infinitos. Intervención permanente en la señalética del CA2M. Dora García. Fotografía: Andrés Arranz

Dora García’s exhibitions show how exhibition spaces are the product of a relationship between the work displayed, the use that visitors make of them and the institution that displays them. An art institution is always a result of something, an effect of the negotiation between the work and the viewer giving rise to a new narrative that redefines the terms of the museum. One of the artistic interventions that was part of the architectural ‘acupuncture’ interventions begun in the autumn of 2016 was an exhibition of Dora García’s work; this has now given shape to the CA2M’s new signage, a permanent intervention that affects every space within the centre.

In an earlier work entitled Frases de oro (Golden Sentences), the artist wrote phrases in big gold leaf letters on the museum walls. By stating, for example, that ‘art is for everyone but only an elite group knows it’ or that ‘the future must be dangerous’, the understanding of what this institution is has been completely transformed and forms part of a broader narrative in which text is a direct manifesto and a political maxim about its function. In the case of Forever (2005), the artist installed a webcam in an exhibition room of the French museum FRAC Lorraine, allowing her to observe the activities in that museum space at will, even when it was not open to the public. These artworks, occasional interventions in which the texts transform the way in which an institution talks about itself or the “forever” relationship established with an institution, constitute the idea behind understanding the scope of Usos infinitos.

The installation of new signage at the CA2M involved a series of minimal but significant actions. The walls around the CA2M’s lift area were cleaned, and graphite-grey wording was printed on the white walls with the names of the spaces together with a simple floor plan. Also, dotted throughout the spaces of the centre, is wording such as ‘café’, ‘Usos Infinitos room’, ‘wheelchair-accessible toilets’, ‘vegetable garden’, etc. Signage serves two fundamental purposes when visiting a museum: to let visitors know where they are at any given moment and to give them an idea of what they can do there. Written in the most neutral and broadest way, the toilets, the terrace, the offices, the library, etc. become the museum’s ground zero. The dictionary’s definition of a word is not necessarily the way it is used on a daily basis as the nuances of a meaning depend on context, on how that word is used as part of a written or spoken chain. Thus, this declaration of the museum’s spaces is never definitive: they are simply named in order to become possible places of activity, places for public use that can be inhabited and continually redefined through planned activity and the needs of their users, whether on an individual or group basis. The walls – covered in magnetic paint – on which notes can be stuck or information can be added at short notice, serve precisely to be adapted to a myriad of endless possible purposes which, at any given moment, may need to be used in a new way; a clear definition for infinite futures.

Dora García (Valladolid, 1965) is one of Spain’s most internationally renowned artists. She studied Fine Arts at the University of Salamanca, Spain, and at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam, Holland (1985-1992). She has participated in international art exhibitions such as Manifesta (1998), the Istanbul Biennial (2003), Münster Sculpture Projects (2007) and the Sydney Biennale (2008). Her work has been shown in museums such as MACBA, Barcelona (2003), MNCARS, Madrid (2005), MUSAC, León (2005), SMAK, Ghent (2006) and GfZK, Leipzig (2007). She represented Spain at the 54th Venice Biennale (2011) with the project Lo Inadecuado. She currently lives in Barcelona, co-runs Les Laboratoires d’Aubervilliers in Paris and is a professor at the Haute École d’Art et de Design in Geneva.

This project is an artistic expression resulting from ‘acupuncture’ interventions. CA2M architecture in transition.