“25% Catalonia at Venice”, an exhibition on art and unemployment

From the 11th of April to the 27th of July, the Virreina is hosting a reflection on culture in times of crisis

25% Catalonia at Venice is a project by photographer Francesc Torres, film maker Mercedes Álvarez and curator Jordi Balló. The project was presented at the Venice Biennale last year and is designed as a reflection on the role of art in situations of economic instability (the 25% of the title refers to the current unemployment rate in Catalonia).

The project originated through the collaboration of eight unemployed people of diverse origin: an over-qualified architect, an ex-employee of the aluminium industry, an Ecuadorian woman who came to Barcelona in search of a better life, a doctor in biochemistry, an ex-metalworker, an ex-employee of Caixa Sabadell, a young woman with no work experience whatsoever and a young man from Senegal who has lived in Barcelona for 15 years and speaks fluent Spanish and Catalan.

The exhibition is divided into various stages. To begin with, there are photographs by Francesc Torres depicting the everyday life of each of the aforementioned individuals. Following this there are filmed interviews in which the individuals explain their artistic preferences and whether or not art plays an important role in their lives and, finally, the individuals are asked to temporarily lend to the exhibition an object with which they have a special relationship and to visit the MACBA and select their favourite piece.

All the above, the photographs, interviews and personal and artistic objects, are what constitute the exhibition 25% Catalonia at Venice, a compilation of individual stories which together form an interesting reflection on the interrelationship between culture and crisis.

The exhibition can be seen in the Virreina from the 11th of April to the 27th of July.

Publication date: Wednesday, 09 April 2014
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