Acte Commemoratiu (Memorial Event)
In Acte commemoratiu (Memorial event) Barcelona is the common denominator of the works of Federico Garcia Trujillo and MawatreS. Both show a transformation based on the destruction of spaces to make new ones. Federico and Mawa pay attention in a past within a present Barcelona. While one of them recalls the executions by firing squad in Camp de la Bota, the other one act in neighborhoods transformed under the famous slogan “Barcelona posa’t guapa” (Barcelona get pretty) and remember that not so many years ago these areas had another appearance and totally different dynamics.
Federico García Trujillo examines the Fòrum, before Camp de la Bota, where more than 1718 people were murdered during the Civil War and until 1952. He appropriates the space to write in situ all the names of those people. It is a symbolic performative action that revives the events through the effort of the artist. The Fòrum, controversial for its limited role today and its economic failure in 2004, is a witness to a city that sometimes buries his past with great architectural and urban developments. Writing in a paper the full list of those shot is an action that makes us reflect on the present and prevents the Fòrum cement from tape our memory completely.
Hide, tear down and build something new. The intervention by MawatreS also speaks to Barcelona, a city that has become the perfect showcase for tourism, destroying the essence, nuance, and spontaneity of many of its places, becoming increasingly distant to its citizens. The intervention is based on slang slippers hanging electrical wires as a sign of something. Mawa strategically places handmade ceramic slippers in intensely transformed places. Decontextualized political plans and buildings are the trace of this institutionalization which forgets what really gave fame to Barcelona: urban culture, freedom.
Both artists work politically issues affecting both the past and present of the city. The collective memory of a dying-by-success Barcelona and another one which was settled by ideology. A slipper becomes a monument of another Barcelona, now disappearing, and a monumental Fòrum commemorates nothing. Two actions in a city that wanted to modernize itself so much in so little time that claims the no institutionalization of everything spontaneous and express the emptiness of official events.
Picture 1: Camp de la Bota, 1970-1972. Font: Vallès, Edmond: Historia Gràfica de Catalunya sota el règim franquista (1939-1975), Edcions 62.