Asco, installation view, Muros Blandos, 2017. Photo by Lorna Remmele
Colectivo Charco, Desiertos, 2017, Muros Blandos, 2017. Photo by Lorna Remmele
Pia Arke, Asco, Oreet Ashery, Sebastián Calfuqueo, Colectivo Charco, Mujeres Creando, Javier Téllez and Vladimir Tomic.
Museo de la Solidaridad Salvador Allende, Santiago de Chile
2 September 2017 – 21 January 2018
Muros Blandos is an international group exhibition that aims to open up a conversation about notions of migration, otherness, and possibilities of transformation.
It does so by bringing together artists from different geographic locations, socio-political perspectives and moments in time who share an impulse to question constructions of power.
Together these disparate voices find points of confluence and divergence, creating a series of layered conversations which audiences are invited to join.
By inhabiting states of being not one or the other, but being in between, the exhibition acknowledges that categories such as nationality, territory, class, body, gender and sexuality are inherently mutable.
Muros Blandos asks how it might be possible to engage with and challenge social hierarchies, looking specifically at works that respond to conditions of marginalisation, migration and exile. The exhibition draws upon Paulo Freire’s thoughts on the relationships between oppressor and oppressed, articulated within his ‘Pedagogy of the Oppressed’ (1970), which he wrote whilst living in exile in Santiago following the 1964 military coup in Brazil.
The show includes artworks and actions in which the figure of the oppressor is contested by the oppressed through processes of self-determination, reflection, resistance, and transformation. Each commission responds to the context of the museum and the current political climate in Chile, extending beyond the walls of the institution. Meanwhile, the existing works included in the exhibition – whilst created in response to other situations elsewhere – contribute to the conversation with new perspectives.
In the neo-liberal present, when colonialism is far from over, global capitalism continues much of the work that processes of colonisation first set in motion. Power imbalances dictated by class, race, and gender continue to enable capitalist modes of production in which the need for cheap or free labour to produce value goes hand-in-hand with unsustainable exploitation of natural resources.
-Today, therefore, in the wake of ever-more divisive politics around the globe, Muros Blandos looks to Freire’s ideas as more relevant than ever. The exhibition and accompanying public programme pose the questions: can states of being in between, while becoming a reality for more and more people, also become the most powerful position: resisting and challenging conditions of oppression? In order to do so, we begin by asking who are the oppressors and who are the oppressed of today; and ultimately, what and where are the possibilities for transforming these dynamics?
Curated by Daniela Berger, Lily Hall and Mette Kjærgaard Præst