Activities, exhibitions and projects

Núria Güell. Patria y Patriarcado

Núria Güell. Patria y Patriarcado

MUSAC. Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León

Image: Núria Güell, De putas. Un ensayo sobre la masculinidad, 2018. Cortesía de la artista

Núria Güell's (Vidreres, Gerona, 1981) artistic practice is about the analysis of how power devices affect our subjectivity, subjecting it to law and hegemonic moral. The main resources that she uses in her work are to flirt with the established powers, complicity with different allies and the uses of privileges that artistic institutions she works with have, as well as those socially granted to her for being a Spanish and European. These tactics, diluted into her own life, are developed in specific contexts intending to question commonly-assumed identifications and cause a disruption in power relations.

In this exhibition, held in room Laboratorio 987, we review six works by the artist that confront some of the consequences of the patriarchal system of power — male sexual violence, the nature of the nation-state system and its immigration control system, romantic love, as well as the subordinate status of the female gender — with the bodies that suffer them. Laboratorio 987 becomes a space for study and reflection on the two concepts that give the exhibition its title: “Fatherland” and “Patriarchy”.

The motivation behind Güell's work is to confront political forces so that, from this confrontation, aspects of social reality that had remained hidden or out of focus emerge or are revealed. To this end, she deals with political subjects, identities, bodies, laws, moral precepts, etc., always involving herself in the project as a political subject. Núria works on deeply-rooted positions and identifications in order to expose the contradictions and causes of socially agreed-upon or normalised issues and thus allow us to re-think ourselves as a society.

Moreover, Núria Güell has developed a project specifically for her show at MUSAC in which she reflects about the content of masculinity, about the quality of "the masculine". The artist explains it this way: “Patriarch, king, prince, emperor, conqueror, leader, hierarch, manager, master, expert, boss, chief, leader, etc.; we are clear that all these male identifications are a reflection of the figure of absolute power, of God, whom they represent, and that the world revolves around their triumphs and miseries. Generalizing, we can say that the macho man longs to be worshipped, pleased and served in order to calm his craving for power and social recognition. But is that what masculinity is all about? Does masculinity revolve around power? And do we women really have nothing better to do than play into their hands?”

These questions permeate her new work “De putas. Un ensayo sobre la masculinidad” [Off Whoring. An Essay on Masculinity], which took the form of a large-format video. In order to delve into the content of masculinity, the artist has interviewed different prostitutes (from León and Barcelona), whom she considers to be experts in the topic, since, in the prostitution arena, men feel protected from the public eye and act just the way they are, revealing aspects of masculinity that no one else sees.

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