Anila Quayyum Agha
José Ramón Ais
The exhibition entitled Fear Nothing, She Says. When Art Reveals Mystic Truths, the last of the acts organised by the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport to celebrate the fifth centenary of the birth of Saint Teresa of Jesus, has been produced by Acción Cultural Española (AC/E), the Museo Nacional de Escultura, and the General Directorate of Cultural Policy and Cultural Industries and Books. The museum opens its three monumental venues for the very first time to welcome the show.
Curated by Rosa Martínez, artistic director of the international biennials of Venice and Istanbul, the exhibition explores the meaning of spiritual searches at the onset of the third millennium, establishing the need to find their common anthropological thread and endorsing their connection with creative languages.
These 21 contemporary artists have been chosen for their thematic, conceptual, existential or political affinities with the figure and legacy of Teresa of Avila: Marina Abramovic, Anila Quayyum Agha, José Ramón Ais, Pilar Albarracín, Francis Alÿs, Miquel Barceló, Louise Bourgeois, Dora García, Anish Kapoor, Waqas Khan, Kimsooja, Cristina Lucas, Bruce Nauman, Nikos Navridis, Rivane Neuenschwander, Cai Guo-Qiang, Egl? Rakauskait?, Soledad Sevilla, Josefa Tolrà, Eulalia Valldosera and Bill Viola. Works designed specifically for the show complement others that coexist with unique pieces from the museum’s historical collections.
The exhibition title revises the verse by Teresa of Jesus, transforming “Let nothing perturb you, nothing frighten you” into the simpler “fear nothing,” which it then relates to the novel Détruire, dit-elle (Destroy, She Said) by Marguerite Duras, another great authoress and sufferer for love. The exhibition title’s afterthought, “She Says,” reaffirms the fact that the invitation to overcome obstacles and fears is conveyed in the words of a woman, and therefore opens up to the new developments of global ethical and aesthetic awareness that demands, as Saint Teresa herself often did, the inclusion of women as subjects of knowledge and power.
The Museo Nacional de Escultura has three buildings located on the same street: the Colegio de San Gregorio, founded as a school of theology in the 15th century, and two noble residences of the 16th century, the Palacio de Villena and the Casa del Sol. In these spaces, the exhibition itinerary explores the symbiotic relationships between memory and new forms of aesthetic enjoyment. Such critical interaction extends to nearby Coco Café, where the spheres of public and private, civic and institutional associations are connected. The four venues form a constellation that establishes intertextual dialogues and updates the significance of material, linguistic and ideological quests.
Fear Nothing, She Says. When Art Reveals Mystic Truths, on view from November 18, 2015 to February 28, 2016 in Valladolid, is accompanied by a bilingual catalogue (Spanish-English) published by Acción Cultural Española (AC/E) and Ediciones Anómalas under the direction of Rosa Martínez. In the catalogue, readers will find reflections on Teresa of Avila and on art as a spiritual path, as expressed in the images of the works by the participating artists and in the essays by María Bolaños, director of the Museo Nacional de Escultura, the historian Giuliana Di Febo, the psychoanalyst and writer Julia Kristeva, and the curator of the show, Rosa Martínez.
The digital version of the catalogue may be downloaded free of charge from the Acción Cultural Española official website: www.accioncultural.es (Available under a Creative Commons license.)
MNE contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
AC/E contact: email@example.com
Info on the exhibition: http://www.e-flux.com/announcements/fear-nothing-she-says/
TV report: http://www.rtve.es/alacarta/videos/metropolis/metropolis-nada-temas-dice-ella-english-version/3621147/