When Colin Powell was due to appear at United Nations headquarters in 2003 to defend the Iraq war, a new set was being prepared for the long presentation by the US Secretary of State. The Guernica tapestry, which adorns one of the Security Council rooms, was covered with blue sheets.
This fact, which might seem purely scenic, brought to light how the true potential of the image lies in its circulation and symbolism. As was the case with Abu Ghraib's photographs, the circulation of the images revealed their resilience when their circulation and dissemination altered the official narratives of power.
The Goshka Macuga exhibition. In motion , curated by Neus Miró, it proposes a continuous displacement, a repositioning from the place where we look towards the historical events and the established stories. A movement of positions that involves new directions of gaze and the reworking of alternative narratives to becoming official history. The work of Goshka Macuga (Warsaw, Poland, 1967) thus proposes a rereading of inherited historical narratives by exploring the links between art, power and history to review the possible and multiple relationships between discourses of the past and our present.
Goshka Macuga. On the Move brings together three installations made between 2009 and 2011: Plus Ultra (Beyond), The Nature of the Beast and Untitled (The Letter ). The three installations share common features: they include a tapestry as the central element and articulator of the installation, they are based on an artistic piece from the past to update its meaning and they revolve around the idea of the replica. Copying and replicating play a key role in Macuga's work. Bringing these images to the present, as copies of an original, involves the mobilization and displacement of a replica that has lost its auratic value, but retains the symbolic. The copy escapes the official meanings of the original; and it is in this displacement that thought is set in motion again.
The work of Goshka Macuga makes us question the role that image can play in the face of historical events. Susan Buck-Morrs points out that the value of the image makes sense “for its ability to name itself, for its ability to propose its own legend, its own title, and not so much to fit into pre-existing frameworks. of meaning. The images, although shared collectively, escape the generalization of the concept. ” The image no longer represents an object but, beyond that, intensifies the experience, illuminating the realities that would otherwise continue without being perceived.
Pictured: Goshka Macuga. The Nature of the Beast, 2011. Installation image at MUSAC, 2021. © Goshka Macuga, Vegap, Barcelona, 2022. From the photographs: © Roberto Ruiz, 2022.