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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Itziar Barrio

Brooklyn,
United States

Itziar Barrio was born in Bilbao and lives and works in New York City. Her work has been presented, among other venues, at: ENPAP (European Network for Public Art Producers), ARTIUM Museum (Vitoria), Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art (New York), New Museum Festival of Ideas for the New City (New York), Havana Biennial (Cuba), White Box (New York), Cervantes Institute (New York), International Festival Postelectronic Art (Italy), Pist Space (Istanbul), Art for Art`s Sake (Bologna), Gdansk Academy of Arts (Poland), Loop (Barcelona), Sala Rekalde (Bilbao) and Thomas Henry Ross Galerie (Montreal). Barrio has been awarded among others with the First Prize Ertibil(Basque Government), and by Brooklyn Art Council, Spanish Ministry of Culture and New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

She has attended a number of residencies including Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and The International Studio and Curatorial Program (ISCP).

She has been lecturing among others at Parsons, The New School for Design and Long Island University.

Feminist Artist Statement

Itziar Barrio’s work is based on the idea that language is knowledge and approaches reality as something being constantly recreated.

She brings up questions that are not overtly social or political, but that deal with the tendency of the human mind to create iconic and associative characters out of its surroundings and the effects of those associations on society.

Itziar Barrio develops an original deconstruction of the icons and social codes that inhabit our daily lives, revisits their original meanings and creates a new fiction/mythology around them.

<p>WE COULD HAVE HAD IT ALL</p>

WE COULD HAVE HAD IT ALL

Through the project “We could have had it all”, Itziar Barrio assimilates different phenomena: the “people’s mic” as a formula of popular protest in public squares, when it is forbidden to use amplifiers (Occupy Wall Street); the crystallisation of contemporary myths in mass concerts where pop stars invite their audience to continue their songs (Adele), and an ancestral form of communication that predates theatre (bertsolarismo). In all these cases, amplification of the voice and repetition are a constant. The microphone appears in all these manifestations as a prohibited and/or desired object. An instrument of power: to be snatched away, to facilitate, to share. This erect device is exactly what enables the amplification and repetition of voices, thoughts, ideas, and signature tunes, making the microphone a symbol of the public sphere and the transmission of stories.

Through the exclamation “we could have had it all // dena eduki genezake”, frustration, desire and social struggles come to light. Two storytellers with narrative tools and their own languages (English and Basque) will unveil a hidden story that is or isn’t fictional, that is or isn’t credible. North American writer Chavisa Woods and bertsolari Maialen Lujanbio form part of the project creation process, through a dialogue of figures between the two artists, functioning simultaneously as producers and protagonists of this story.

What marks the project is the fragmentation of an audiovisual piece. Audio and image in movement, separated, bring about a frustrated dialogue. The voice hangs in the Arriaga Square just as on so many other occasions at the beginning and end of countless demonstrations and protests. The image comes in and takes its place on the stage facing the stalls.

The audio-visual, film and theatre, outside and inside, public and private space. Dichotomy and diptych are the formal keys to the proposal, but to the language too, for that is what is predominantly used to resolve, understand and create a conflict. There is always conflict, as there is always language.

WE COULD HAVE HAD IT ALL

Through the project “We could have had it all”, Itziar Barrio assimilates different phenomena: the “people’s mic” as a formula of popular protest in public squares, when it is forbidden to use amplifiers (Occupy Wall Street); the crystallisation of contemporary myths in mass concerts where pop stars invite their audience to continue their songs (Adele), and an ancestral form of communication that predates theatre (bertsolarismo). In all these cases, amplification of the voice and repetition are a constant. The microphone appears in all these manifestations as a prohibited and/or desired object. An instrument of power: to be snatched away, to facilitate, to share. This erect device is exactly what enables the amplification and repetition of voices, thoughts, ideas, and signature tunes, making the microphone a symbol of the public sphere and the transmission of stories.

Through the exclamation “we could have had it all // dena eduki genezake”, frustration, desire and social struggles come to light. Two storytellers with narrative tools and their own languages (English and Basque) will unveil a hidden story that is or isn’t fictional, that is or isn’t credible. North American writer Chavisa Woods and bertsolari Maialen Lujanbio form part of the project creation process, through a dialogue of figures between the two artists, functioning simultaneously as producers and protagonists of this story.

What marks the project is the fragmentation of an audiovisual piece. Audio and image in movement, separated, bring about a frustrated dialogue. The voice hangs in the Arriaga Square just as on so many other occasions at the beginning and end of countless demonstrations and protests. The image comes in and takes its place on the stage facing the stalls.

The audio-visual, film and theatre, outside and inside, public and private space. Dichotomy and diptych are the formal keys to the proposal, but to the language too, for that is what is predominantly used to resolve, understand and create a conflict. There is always conflict, as there is always language.

Everybody is looking for something (THE PERILS OF OBEDIENCE)

THE PERILS OF OBEDIENCE consists of the re-creation of building a scene in real time.

The project exists as a set of guidelines which are carried out for 4 days by 4 performers who work closely with a theater director. The main objective of the group is to create a single scene. Every action is recorded during the four days. The project, based on the dialogue between film and scenic-theatre languages, explores the human need to create rules in order to organize social groups and our immediate realities.

Itziar Barrio is interested in realities and in showing their limitations and ambiguities as truth, through analysis of their forms of representation. So, art, film, television, the performing arts and the Internet take the floor as work tools and objects for experimentation and analysis. Her interest not only lies in the story that upholds the realities but in its recreations, its techniques for showing them or fictionalizing them.

Kryptonite

Kryptonite is a multimedia installation project which investigates relations of power dynamics and desire through text, sculpture and video. Visual artist Itziar Barrio, and author Chavisa Woods, have collaborated to create a piece in which literary and visual media work in a symbiosis, generating a common iconography shared in the poetic text and visual exhibition. Kryptonite includes a video installation by Itziar Barrio, at the Cervantes Institute, and extends beyond the gallery venue and into the public sphere. A series of posters featuring three excerpts from the poem, Kryptonite, by Chavisa Woods, are on display at public venues around Manhattan throughout the month of March.

Kryptonite uses a non-linear narrative to create a new mythology showcasing power structures, poverty and sexual desire as the main characters.

AT THE BACK, BEHIND THE PARADE

In this project entitled AT THE BACK, BEHIND THE PARADE, Itziar Barrio explores the iconographic apparatus of popular festivities and parties and examines the particular features of their social registers, taking this as her starting point for embarking on an at tempt to reconstruct the codes of our milieu based on the idea of the fiesta. In doing so, she will adopt certain signs associated with the imaginary of fiestas, which she will then takes apart in order to generate her own fictions and to shape new mythologies. In this manner, she will convey to us the way in which, in this coded terrain, the consumption of certain signs gradually lays the foundations for the construction of our identity. Converging in this place of encounter between contemporary art and anthropology are elements in seeming opposition: contemporary society and traditional societies. The possible confluences and divergences are presented in a series of symbol-images that go from the apparent to the concealed.

At the far end of the room, there is a disconcerting element that creates a sense of unease that forces you to come closer. As in every horror film, the protagonist opens the door, drawn by a predictable noise. This element is a wall, a small spot created in a corner at the back that alludes to that place where things happen. It is that corner, spotless during the daytime, that is transformed by the power of the night into the hideaway of all things forbidden and covert, urine, sex, drugs, etc. With a violent charge from which the night, like so many other connotations, cannot free itself. In this way, Barrio manages, with the simplicity of a corner, to cover an entire repertoire of attributes of the night, the fiesta, that space in which social codes change and conventions become lax, that redoubt granted the power of unthinkable permissiveness by the lack of light. Here once again we find the ritual component, which is also related as a return to the darkness, to that which conceals the hideaway

Return (WELCOME TO THE NEW PARADISE)

Welcome to the New Paradise is conceived as a three-part project that opens with RETURN, a billboard crowning a building in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. At first sight, the billboard appears to be a travel agency advertisement that attempts to lure the audience into buying an idyllic vacation package: “Welcome to the New Paradise. You, a lonely Wild Cat.” Barrio creates a melting pot of her own iconography, interconnected with elements of the exotic cultural imagery of the area, which enjoys a flourishing immigrant population, the majority of whom have left tropical settings to make their home in NYC.

WELCOME TO THE NEW PARADISE

Welcome to the New Paradise is conceived as a three-part project: a public art installation, a site-specific and one solo exhibition, taking place on three islands: Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Governors Island . Making use of an irreverent sense of humor, Barrio’s symbolism speaks to the conscience and subconscious, triggering a series of mental associations, which address issues of paradise, vacation, migration and publicity industry.

WELCOME TO THE NEW PARADISE, at White Box in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, is conceived as a solo show of the artist. It starts with the main video, and, as in Governors Island, photographs and drawings complement the setting, while banners sustained with branches create original shelters, refuge for LCD screens showing additional videos. On these banners, the figurative is melded with the abstract, an abstract coming from an extract of one of the symbols that form her imagery.

Itziar Barrio develops an original deconstruction of the icons and social codes that inhabit our daily lives, distorting the quotidian to establish a re-lecture of these images-symbol, and leaving a disturbing taste in the reconfiguration of this new system. She speaks about collective identity in a semiotic society, with a language that faces the difficulty of conjugating brilliantly an elegant classicism with the most absolute contemporaneity.

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