FROM LEFT: Christian Viveros-Fauné

and Jota Castro

Polish philosopher Zygmunt Bauman observes that Jacques Derrida had an obsession with “being away” and to “think travel,” and gives example after example of the creative spark that is born from exile, such as the Spanish writer Juan Goytisolo, who explained that “Intimacy and distance create a privileged situation. Both are necessary.” Our own James Joyce is the epitome of creative exile. In what can be read as a prelude to Ulysses and hint at Joyce’s intention to leave Ireland, Stephen Dedalus in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man says:

The definition of the ‘exile’[1] posed by Bauman could offer way to define the position of the transient artist, curator and critic. When Bauman cites the French dramatist and poet, Afred de Musset, through the latter’s admonishment that “great artists have no country,” it is in the context of militancy, a war-cry so to speak. If we look at the ‘Biennale’ as a space where the transient artist and curator touches ground to propose a series of dialogues with a culture that they are not in sync with––this is not just a case of ‘jet lag’, but what we could refer to as ‘cultural lag’––then, Christian Viveros-Fauné and Jota Castro could be descibed as temporary exiles from their point of view, or, the prescribers of alien metalanguages from the eye of the ‘local’.

The poetic premise behind Christian Viveros-Fauné and Jota Castro’s curatorial for ‘Dublin Contemporary: Terrible Beauty: Art, Crisis, Change & The Office of Non- Compliance‘ is William Butler Yeats’s Terrible Beauty, Easter, 1916. Yeats’s identity was split between his Protestant upbringing and the Catholic drama that he objectively viewed from a distance—I have passed with a nod of the head. In a sense, Yeats found comfortable distance in the metalanguages of Irish myth and pagan symbolism. Although the poem Easter, 1916 could be read as a commitment to political revolution, it could equally by measured by the lag in Yeats’s nationalistic response, more memorial than celebration of the “terrible beauty” that was born from the Rising. In retrospect, Yeats‘s may have been a little slow getting out of the blocks, but we as a contemporary culture, amidst another crisis, still haven’t got out of bed, and time is nearly up for our sovereignty.

But I digress, let’s leave history behind for the time being and take a look at the identities, both professional and cultural, of the two ‘New’ curators of Dublin Contemporary.


The Genesis of a Cookie-Cutter or Hot Potato?

Meet the Curators of Dublin Contemporary 2011: Christian Viveros-Fauné and Jota Castro

“Welcome, O life! I go to encounter for the millionth time the reality of experience, and to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race.”[2]



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