J (e m)'accuse or the death the author

Artists: Azahara Cerezo, Daniel G. Andújar, Dora García, Enric Farrés Duran, Francesc Ruiz Abad, Itziar Okariz, Levi Orta, Marta Negre Gallén, Mateo Maté, Núria Güell, Pere Noguera, Rogelio López Cuenca and Tere Recarens

Curator: Adonay Bermúdez

From 20 June to Sunday 13 October 2019

Bòlit_PouRodó and Bòlit_StNicolau



J(e m)'accuse or the death of the author



I accuse myself of believing that the languages which we inhabit, and which we are, constitute a public heritage of images, words and multifarious signs; of believing that each "work" is the result, and a provisional one at that, of a process which we must always consider collective, insofar as it consists of readings, of different updates of a common code.[1]


It is surprising, to say the least, that appropriation within the field of art continues to be questioned, above all when taking into account that much of what is produced today contains a high degree of appropriation. It is curious that the more evidence there is of the phenomenon, the less social value is attached to it, with questions being raised about the limits of appropriation itself and about the concepts of plagiarism and (co)authorship.


While appropriation might consist of a literal copy of a work and its subsequent exhibition, it is not in fact the same work at any point in time, having been shown in dissimilar chronological periods, which in turn leads to different possible scenarios related to geographical location, culture, context, audiences and an endless list of possibilities that are multiplied as each new parameter is introduced. As such, the copy, reproduction or appropriation (whatever we wish to call it) will always be an original.


Although appropriation at first facilitates the inclusion of the viewer, reducing their assimilation time (since they already have in place a set of memories and personal prior associations which enable them to get inside the work more quickly and more deeply), it subsequently duplicates their interaction time, since they first have to destroy the original meaning in order to rethink or recalculate a second semantic alternative. Appropriation initially draws in the viewer, making the image seem accessible and readily assimilated, before plunging them into an ocean of possibilities.


Appropriation resignifies, (de)fragments, (de)composes and (re)contextualises. It effectively constitutes a palimpsest; that is, an image whose information has been erased in order to be rewritten with new purposes. Moreover, appropriation dismantles the stale classic narrative forms of art, it short-circuits the seemingly indissoluble relationship between icon and meaning, it questions the concept of unique creation (very much in line with the death of the author predicted by Barthes), it becomes an act of democratisation and it even constitutes a visual recycling or time-saving device: in a society overflowing with images it is logical and, one might argue, an act of responsibility to appropriate them in order to prevent their uncontrolled proliferation.


As far back as the 1930s, Walter Benjamin categorically defended appropriation as a method of creation: "In our time, the only work really endowed with meaning, with critical meaning, should be a collage of quotes, fragments, echoes of other works." Ninety years later, the debate continues.



[1] LÓPEZ CUENCA, Rogelio: J(e m)'accuse. Hojas de Ruta Catalogue. Museo Patio Herreriano. Valladolid, 2008. P. 69.



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