BEER. 2011, Galería José Robles, Madrid
To begin with, Elgatoconmoscas’s project Beer strikes us a perverse Do It Yourself derivation. A punk Do It Yourself, here applied to craft beer production, conceived to abandon the logic of consumption and re-inscribed in a commercial environment as specific and as given to unearned increment as is the art medium, which not only makes legal (the sale) what is illegal (bootleg beer), but in addition legitimates it as an artistic act, and moreover, turns the beer bottle in an art fetish, a “cold sculpture” as the authors themselves call it.
But beyond the discussion of the “protected” areas of contemporary art and its possibilities to dodge laws and ordinances, we should consider other, adjacent issues, such as that of equating art and life of which the avant-garde was so fond and its current devaluation to relational art. That ambition of diluting art in life seems to have given way to the creation of social events for the meeting of the agents of the art world.
Thinking of precedents that have taken place in the city of Madrid, this project might be associated with a project of Ana Laura Aláez, when in 2000, she turned the Espacio UNO of the Reina Sofía Museum into a discotheque. However, that project’s intention was that of being an aesthetic experience in itself. This one would be more on the wavelength of Fast Food’s action with which they participated in the exhibition El Mal de la Actividad [The Sickness of Activity] (Naves de Atocha – RENFE, 1996), placing the focus on the inauguration itself, creating a series of sub-products that functioned like souvenirs of having attended the event; there was even an intervention in the exhibition catalogue, that worked like a calendar, a useful object, but was also a merchandising product and a souvenir.
And it is just there that Elgatoconmoscas’s project acquired its greatest coherence, from a cynical but transparent standpoint, lacking the hypocrisy that characterises the contemporary art fair of the vanities in which the social event is everything. Here, the only content is the event itself, which will summon various, as they are (now) called, “emotional communities” that constitute the city’s art scene; freed of the obligation to issue any critical judgement, freed even of the tiresome task of the contemporary art spectator to access certain aesthetic experiences, one abandon oneself to the alcoholic party from the very first moment. The spectator who is not at the event will simply find the remains of the party, the garbage, the irrefutable proof that there was nothing to see. The alibi of relational art is dismantled by exhibiting its superfluous function of a moment of recognition and belonging to a group that meets with art as an excuse and with no other aim than having a few hours’ fun.