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Gema Intxausti. Entre la multitud, observando el arrestoARTIUM | Basque Museum - Center of Contemporary Art
Image: Gema Intxausti, … meanwhile… rapture, 2012. Photograph Quintas Fotógrafos.
Gema Intxausti (Guernica, 1966) is an artist who practises art in order to see, in keeping with the tradition noted by María Zambrano in Algunos lugares de la pintura: “art that is seen as art is not art that makes us see”. Intxausti is one of the long line of artists who regard the artist as an art worker, as someone who understands art as a discipline for learning to look further, as a method of producing knowledge. ‘Tirar del hilo’ (literally ‘pulling on a thread’, meaning disentangling an issue to get at the truth) and ‘hilando fino’ (‘spinning finely’ but meaning treading carefully) are expressions common in the vocabulary used by Intxausti, who, in the last 30 years, has pursued a method of artistic work that involves dwelling on small signs, loose threads in the cracks in monolithic discourses. A method capable of invoking a series of elements—objects, images, characters, stories, etc.—which, when they interact together, produce sufficient tension to go beyond the conventional postulates of the sign/signifier and generate new meanings (signifieds). To this end, the artist often resorts to drawing up lists of elements that she will bring into play on the resignification board. “I realised that by selecting parts of that list, I was building a narrative that attested to the everyday beyond its surface, its appearance”, the artist stated in a recent conversation-cum-text.
The title of the exhibition comes from the series of drawings Unframed Jane (2015-2019), one of the works shown in the exhibition, in which the artist, after drawing up a list of Alfred Hitchcock’s appearances in his films, turns the director’s cameos into text, a text that she draws on paper in two languages, English and Spanish, and in two colours, red and black. The phrase of the title describes Hitchcock’s appearance in the film The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog (1927), a story inspired by Jack the Ripper about a serial killer who murders women, which was translated into Spanish as nothing other than El enemigo de las rubias (The Enemy of Blondes). A prophetic title bearing in mind the director’s life and his cinematographic work as seen in the light of Laura Mulvey’s famous essay Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema (1975), in which she analyses the sadistic misogyny of Hitchcock’s films.
In keeping with the method employed by Intxausti, a film clip goes on to become a text that forms part of a list, then a drawing and at last the title of the exhibition, in which it goes so far as to connote the name of the artist and even, perhaps, to define her artistic practice as well as to allude to the film director’s voyeurism.