Previous Exhibition

01/04/2017 - 31/03/2018


Erick Beltrán and Jorge Satorre – Lucy McKenzie and Lucile Desamory – John Altoon and Ed Ruscha – Thomas Schütte and Richard Deacon – Philippe Parreno and Rirkrit Tiranvanija – Emiliano Perino and Luca Vele – John Baldessari and Matt Mullican – Mika Rottenberg and Jon Kessler

This exhibition at Quetzal Art Centre is all about collaboration.
On view from the private collection of the family de Bruin-Heijn were very diverse works, but all made by two artists working together. Erick Beltrán & Jorge Satorre, Lucy McKenzie & Lucile Desamory, John Altoon & Ed Ruscha, Thomas Schütte & Richard Deacon, Philippe Parreno & Rirkrit Tiranvanija, Emiliano Perino & Luca Vele, John Baldessari & Matt Mullican, Mika Rottenberg & Jon Kessler.

At the heart of our space was also a sequence of changing exhibitions, each curated by one of four curators based in Portugal and of great importance for the Portuguese art scene and its influence abroad: Filipa Oliveira (opening April 1), Ana Cristina Cachola (opening July 8), Isabel Carlos (opening September 30) and Luiza Teixeira de Freitas (opening January 2018). They showed works that continue and expand on the theme of collaboration.

Erick Beltrán & Jorge Satorre Modelling standard, 2010

In Modelling standard, Erick Beltrán and Jorge Satorre lay out a web of relations based on a shared interest in the methodologic practices of Microhistory, as they are proposed in the essay written in 1979 by Carlo Ginzburg. By commissioning Jorge Aviña to illustrate complex concepts using old-fashioned political cartoon and comic book styles, the two artists tackle mythology, science, philosophy, popular fiction, and cultural themes as they take on the role of criminal detectives to investigate a new way of making history.


Lucy McKenzie & Lucile Desamory, Untitled, 2007 and ABRACADABRA, 2013

Lucy Mckenzie’s and Lucile Desamory’s first collaboration was a pop-up birthday card they made for their friend Birgit Megerle. This casual act led to their collaboration in Jigsaw (Jeu de Societe) (Desamory, McKenzie and Megerle), which took place in several spaces in 2005-06; and, in 2013, to Desamory’s first feature film, ABRACADABRA, and McKenzie’s short film with Richard Kern, The Girl Who Followed Marple, for which each supplied set dressing for the other.

The installation at Quetzal was made for an exhibition in STUK, Leuven in 2007. STUK’s building was originally part of the University of Leuven, and the piece was a custom-made diorama, which drew attention to a small isolated room that could be viewed but not entered from the main exhibition space. The artists worked with the idiosyncrasies of the architecture and acknowledged its historic layers, two of the major themes of their interconnected practices. Away from its original context the work still brings together many of the ideas that they have been developing since the mid 2000s.

They transform physical space with flat, one-to-one scale trompe-l’oeil elements, which distort their surroundings and create psychological and narrative tension. McKenzie and Desamory use the language of display found in shop windows, theatrical sets, educational dioramas, and interior design; forms which all use light, space, and a point of view to communicate pleasure and information.


John Baldessari & Matt Mullican Pong, 2008

A collaboration between John Baldessari and Matt Mullican (the latter being a former student of the former), this piece is a volley between objects. The work’s title is a reference to Atari’s first versions of table tennis computer games. Baldessari initiated the game by e-mailing Mullican a group of found photographs. Mullican transformed one of the pictures into a scrapbook and the game evolved into a volley of words: Baldessari wrote a limerick and Mullican set off to find the words online. As in any other game, the pleasure we can take from this piece comes from watching the challengers construct and defuse each other’s snares.


Mika Rottenberg & Jon Kessler Seven (Alex), 2012

Seven (Alex) is the result of a performance and installation that stretches from the urban landscapes of New York to the African savannas. Combining Kessler’s kinetic sculptures with Rottenberg’s absurdist videos, Seven is a 37-minute piece involving seven live performers in an installation that includes video. The action is focused on the transcontinental production of “chakra juice,” a magic elixir, one assumes, distilled from human sweat. It comes in the seven colors ascribed in Indian medicine to the body’s seven force centers, located at intervals from the bottom of the spine to the crown of the head.

Seven boxes were made, each showing one performer. In this case, the yellow box, the performer is Alex. This piece gives us a small insight into what was a much larger work, presenting us with three videos and artifacts from the original performance.


John Altoon & Ed Ruscha Colgate, 1964

This work shows Altoon combines his love for abstract painting with his “speedy” figurative images, hinting at his background in advertising. A humorous and sexual image is set against the dense mists of forest greens. In this particular period, Altoon would ask the then young Ed Ruscha to add the words onto his drawings.