Cristina Garrido (Madrid, 1986) is characterized by her critical analysis of the contemporary art environment. Beyond the institutional critique, her practice is close to the one of a researcher who questions her own method and reflects on the processes that make possible its presentation in the context of art. Using strategies of appropriationism and recontextualization, Cristina seeks to visualize and question the mechanisms of legitimation and value adjudication within the current system. If every work is likely to be read as an image of the relationship that the artist establishes with the market, her approach seems to give us a metacritical —almost humorous— image of it.
‘A Dominant Mode of Art Production’, Cristina Garrido’s first solo exhibition in Guadalajara, takes as a starting point her recent investigations on the emergence and strengthening of art fairs as a new artistic institution. They are not only seen as an international cultural or commercial event, but as a central platform for the dissemination, circulation and distribution of contemporary art. The artist problematizes the conditions that this new format (the fair booth) could be imposing, both on the processes of reception and production of art objects, disrupting concepts as apparently stable as the artist, the exhibition, the curator, the gallerist or the public.
For the series of collages ‘Best Booths’, Cristina selected some photographs of the best participations of galleries in art fairs —according to blogs and renowned magazines such as Artsy, Artnet, etc.— and inserted them in ultimate institutional spaces of legitimation. Its arrangement or display (another interest in Garrido’s work) projects the booth as an autonomous artistic medium, while the methacrylate boxes containing them are reminiscent of the typical processes of institutional conservation.
‘Veil of Invisibility’ also reuses material produced by museums. Postcards of famous artists are intervened with paint, so that the work presented is reduced to its shadows, reflections, if not completely blurred. This concealment is only negative in appearance: the artist seems to restore the Benjaminian aura of the work through the transformation of a mechanically reproduced image into a unique object of added value. This gesture questions, and somehow slows down the rapid circulation of virtual and physical images today.
‘The Boothworks’ docufiction work is composed with recontextualized and slightly modified quotations that Cristina Garrido combines with audiovisual documentation of fairs around the world. A voiceover repeats the words that artists, critics and curators used to express themselves in relation to new forms generated around the sixties like site-specific, performance, Land Art and ephemeral art, which despite having utopian approaches in its early years, ended up defining the market. The new perspective of those current modes of art production creates an ironic situation between the marketing and the dematerialization of the artistic work.
Finally, ‘Risk Management Paintings’ is a series that graphically reproduces the necessary investment to present a specific work at an art fair. In appearance formal –related to the geometric abstraction and Color Field-, these paintings on site consider factors that, despite being independent of the work, can alter its reception. The concentric squares and the 20 x 20 cm white canvas in the middle together involve a financial, statistical and pictorial speech. Its presentation at Galería CURRO extends a necessary conversation about new critical approaches for the creation, diffusion, maintenance and scope of the artistic practice.
Galería CURRO (press release)