The museum ARTIUM (Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain) wants to activate its relationship with its surroundings—the relationship it has with its city, and, more broadly, the relationship it has as an institution-museum with society. To do so, it is commissioning a project to the art producer consonni which will transform its inner square into a truly public space. consonni and ARTIUM are inviting Danish artists SUPERFLEX to formulate the project.
WHO, WHAT, WHERE and HOW
What: Museum and city
Analysing the museum through ARTIUM's critical lens leads us to question the role of art with respect to what is public, the relationship museums have with their home cities and with contemporaneity, their evolution as institutions, and their missions and goals. This square therefore becomes a symbol of the relationship between the museum and the city, a place for the critical experimentation of the SUPERFLEX artists.
Where: The inner square of the museum as public space
It is fundamental to focus on the concrete approach of the project in the square where it will take place, and to encourage debate about what is public. This is why the artists SUPERFLEX are working on analysing the different meanings of 'public.' They will reactivate the square by carrying out an intervention based in reflection. In doing so, they will use the inner square--considered a private space for public use--as a symbol to conduct debates about the city.
How: Disciplinary overlap
While dynamising the museum's inner square is an important goal of this project, it is also important to achieve greater conceptual complexity and depth. Thus, the art producer consonni proposes a project with two coordinated stages: one linked to architecture and the other to art. The idea of doing one project in two stages is to avoid instrumentalizing the art; to give liberty to the artists to focus on what they consider most interesting. In all probability, the art stage of this project will not respond to all the needs of the museum, but it is not the art project's responsibility to do so. It is up to ARTIUM to decide how to use this material and these experiences in the future.
The first stage was overseen by the architect Tania Magro Huertas, and involved investigation into the square's possible uses. Methods of urban planning, architecture, and social sciences were used to conceptually situate the project at the intersection of various disciplines, and to generate working material for analysis and reflection about the Museum. The Danish artists SUPERFLEX joining the project in the second stage are using this material to formulate proposals grounded in knowledge of the Museum's social and urban environment. It is during that second stage that the artists will construct alternative perspectives through a site specific art project, putting the various characteristics of the city in conversation with the Museum.
Who: SUPERFLEX, consonni and ARTIUM
SUPERFLEX has analysed the research done by architect Tania Magro Huertas, and will proceed with the project by analysing the city, getting immersed in its landscape, meeting local people, visiting the factories that maintain the economic life of the city (e.g. Mercedes, Heraclio Fournier), discovering the Green Ring that led to the city's designation as European Green Capital 2012, and exploring the new neighborhoods that make the city a model of contemporary building and quality of life. SUPERFLEX will play with the various issues that define the city; not only with the square and the museum. Collaboration between the visiting artists and local agents like consonni and ARTIUM is essential in addressing such local concerns.
The public presentation and opening of the project will be in May. The exact format of this site specific project has not yet been prescribed by the artists; it is still a work in progress.
The inner square of ARTIUM
Youth workshop directed by architect Tania Magro Huertas
SUPERFLEX analysing the inner square of ARTIUM
SUPERFLEX investigating different parts of the city of Vitoria-Gasteiz