Max Estrella Gallery is pleased to present the last solo exhibition of Javier Arce at the gallery titled Kill Lies All. The show title comes from the phrase spray-painted on Guernica by Tony Shafrazi when it was located in the MoMA in New York in 1974.
Through stories, digressions, extensions and parallels, Arce examines various themes: the uses and abuses of power, the war, the Basque culture, the suggestive power of the absence, image and reality, image and its different historical interpretations and the processes of trivialization of emblematic images. This show includes a wall-sized mural, engravings, and sculptures based on various images concerning Guernica. Though we are constantly aware of Guernica's presence, it is never revealed or visibly reproduced in any of the works in the exhibition.
The mural, ephemeral work carried out directly with charcoal on the gallery wall, is based on the image published in the Spanish press in 1981 showing the moment in which Guernica arrives back in Madrid from New York. Arce makes the drawing in the gallery in positive, in the same way he made the negative at the Newman&Popiasvhili Gallery in New York. Creating a dual-axis of meaning echoing with this gesture the very journey that the work itself did.
This game of positive and negative is again repeated in two drawings on Toni Shafrazi:Under arrest (2012) y Guernica´s cake (2012). Arce presents him across his life, as a young radical and then as a contented and softened art dealer. One is drawn in positive and the other in negative. The negative is the age of maturity and the birthday-party, the ethos of success as a recognized art world dealer, and his last defiant cry of “I’m not sorry!”; and the positive the act of defamation.
Alongside the mural Arce shows a series of engravings made in the drypoint technique, displayed in a Military sculpture-box. The series is titled Track Record Guernica (2012). It behaves as an autonomous object in which the images are modified not through addition but through subtraction, through a selective emptying of parts of its content, and it is the group as a whole that problematize the activity of reference. There is a constant play between black and white, between obscurity and clarity. He engages in a mimetic play with the style of image produced by print and photographic processes.
During the opening reception the artist will print some leaflets, using a manual Minerva-Adana printer, with two different accounts of destruction of the city of Guernica. One is by George Steer and the second one by James Holburn. Both were reporters for The London Times and were covering the events of April 1937, although their articles tell very different stories.
Javier Arce (Santander, 1973) has a degree in Engraving from the Escuela de Artes Aplicadas in Oviedo and his Honors Degree in Fine Art at the Basque Country University. He received his Masters in Sculpture from the Wimbledon School of Fine Art. He was granted with The International Studio and Curatorial Program in New York in 2008. He received in 2007 the Mención de Honor Generación 2007 in Madrid. He was also awarded By Fundación de Arte y Derecho the same year and by Marcelino Botón Foundation the year before.
His latest individual exhibitions include The First Loan Exhibition. The bastard museum, CAB, Burgos, Spain; This could be a show of historical importance, Museum of contemporary art in Zagreb; as well as his interventions in Espai 13 at Miró Foundation in Barcelona, and Espai Quatre, Casal Solleric, Majorca.
His works have been part of exhibitions such as Reproducción, repetición, reivindicación, at The 4th Biennal of Experimental Etching, National Brukenthal Museum, Sibiu, Romania; The 29th Biennial of Graphic Arts in Ljubljana, Slovenia; or The Soverign European Art Prize at The Barbican Art Center, London, United Kingdom. He has also exhibited in the New Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb, Croatia; MUSAC in León; CA2M in Móstoles, Madrid; ARTIUM in Vitoria, etc.
His work is included in numerous collections such as Caja Madrid; Marcelino Botín Foundation; ARTIUM Museum, Vitoria; the Coca-Cola Foundation; Santander Museum of Fine Arts; CAB, Burgos; MUSAC, León; Fundación El Monte, Seville; La Caixa Foundation Contemporary Art Collection; IVAM Mueum or DKV Collection, Valencia, etc.