+ info: daniela-ortiz.com
Black Round Table, 2011
Presented by Nivell Zero at the Fundació Suñol, as the winning project from the third edition of the grant programme set up by the Fundació Suñol (Barcelona) and Can Xalant Creation Centre (Mataró) to produce and exhibit video projects.
+ see vídeo at: Black Round Table on artist's website
Black Round Table is a documentary video piece that contrasts the utopian work by Gassama, a Barcelona-based Senegalese artist, with the conceptual foundations of Soviet avant-garde and Western modern architecture. Drawing on the aesthetic similarities and social contradictions between both realities, Ortiz creates a comparative narrative to analyse the precarious, fragmented nature of objects and spaces in the context of the modern-day city.
Black Round Table includes clips of some of the leading iconic works of 20th-century modern architecture (Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe) and Russian avant-garde (El Lissitzky, Ródchenko) set against images of slums and shanty towns to unmask the failed utopia of modern architecture in major cities. Today, the unstable and transitory are inexorably linked to buildings and people, breaking with the avant-garde’s former immaculate models.
In the case of Black Round Table, this critical analysis centres on Barcelona, a city being devoured as a consumer object in the global economy – its town-planning policies focused largely on tourism – in contrast to Gassama, a homeless Senegalese immigrant who has set up home/workshop in a doorway in Caputxes Street in the Born district in Barcelona. For Gassama, the bright and shiny urban structures do nothing to improve his living conditions, although neither do they stand in the way of his persistent urge to build houses and furniture with his own hands – forging his own utopia. Accompanying Daniela Ortiz’s installation is an exhibition of a set of original paintings by Gassama.
-- Exhibition text by Polish curator Dorota Biczel.
The friendship between the artist and the author of the text dates back to when they shared a 40- square-meter flat along with two other people in the Barceloneta district in Barcelona.
Gessama, exhibition view - Fundación Suñol, Barcelona.
Exhibition view - Fundación Suñol, Barcelona.