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The contemporary art gallery La Grey opens the new year 2020 with the exhibition “El Orden, El Límite, El Afuera” by Onofre Bachiller. On display until 21st February, Bachiller invites us to reflect on repetition as a ritual and the eternal return as an abyss of existence.
“Every change leads to a new order, every order creates its rituals of repetition as a celebration of its victory.”
One of the most shocking images of Greek cosmology allows us to work the idea of the “Eternal Return” as a notion of repetition. The poet Hesiod tells us that Prometheus unleashed Zeus’ wrath by giving the fire to men. Zeus chained the titan to a huge rock and condemned him to have his liver eaten by an eagle. Since Prometheus was immortal, his liver was regenerated daily. Every morning, the eagle with Zeus’ shield on its chest would come down and peck at Prometheus entrails as he squirmed in pain. To describe destiny as repetitive implies —consciously or unconsciously— a certain resignation, to not being able to aspire to anything more than living in the midst of meanness, violence —of all kinds, or corruption. Thinking about the possibility of another reality then becomes a mere illusion. The only real thing is to wait for the return of the eagle.
Onofre Bachiller works from the perspective of performative photography, turning it into documents of the routes that the artist imposes on himself, while at the same time, reflecting on the routines and the liturgies that we impose on ourselves and on others. During a month, every day at the same hour, he photographs the same motif. As a result, each photographic series forces us to look at the small changes that occur every day, visually reproducing the monthly disposition of the days when the photographs were taken. This observation of repetition is devastating, in a way, we are all represented, and then leads us to painfully question ourselves and our most intimate routines.
The series of photographs that Onofre Bachiller presents in La Grey has two readings: one is “the explicit” and it is present in the title and “the implicit” one is the work itself. The subliminal idea of each concept is to recognise the game of opposites: order and chaos, the end (limit) and the beginning (origin), the outside and the inside, notions that mark both our personal and social relationships.
Moreover, The Order, the Limit, the Outside presents us with an added difficulty, as it is a work with an enormous political charge, included in the journeys towards: the limit itself (2737, NOV2016); the definition of the margin (Zona Franca, ABR2017); the borderline and the normative (b*Hall, JUN2017); the administrative modes of exclusion (Procés, SEP2017); the expanded chaos and the restoration of order (El Caos Expandido y La Restauración del Orden, JAN2018); the creation of a territorial identity and hierarchy (Pronoxis, OCT2019); the metaphor of the eternal return (El Eterno Retorno, AGO2016) or the forbidden and the domestic (Divergencias y El Renacimiento, DEC2019).
On Space #02, the artist chooses the repetition of a route as an approach to the periphery. 2737 is the number of the tombstone of the anarchist and anti-fascist Salvador Puig Antich. Puig Antic was the last person executed in Spain by the method of garrote vil. The tomb 2737 is located on the outskirts of the Montjuïc cemetery, far from its center, where power resides. Life and death in the periphery. An approach to anarchy to seek a state in which representation can be re-floated as an affirmation of life and the transcendent, in spite of reality —of meaninglessness— of oblivion, of silence… Additionally, In Spain, the month of November is when one venerates their dead.
“Order…” imposes on us the structure of our connections to others and the links to ourselves: identity, leisure, working life, education, death, and the very configuration of the society in which we intervene and depend, with the artist himself being an observer and participant.
In the end, Onofre Bachiller proposes an oxymoron, or the juxtaposition of two concepts that have contradictory meanings, trying to confer an unexpected character to the expression of an idea, the desire of the artist himself to construct a new ritual with the repetition of otherness. But everything that is outside, out of the borders when is phagocytosed by the norm, it builds a frontier again.
The Order, The Limit, The Outside by Onofre Bachiller
La Grey Gallery, until 21st February
Carrer de Sant Llorenç 3, Tarragona (Spain)