The (other) Silk Road
In the short introduction – originally e-mailed with the invitation – I wrote for the public presentation of Ana Pérez-Quiroga's project The world in its true colours / O mundo nas suas verdadeiras cores (2011), I mentioned the viewer's double condition of being simultaneously a financing source for this artistic project and an active means for its completion. Pérez-Quiroga's artistic itinerary has been characterised by the questioning of such subjects as authorship, the connection between the public and the exhibitive context and the interaction between the place in which the work was produced and its public recontextualisation as a performative act. Consequently, the viewer can simply decide to be a simple observer/enjoyer of the process and not become a part of the business plan proposed by the artist as the condition for this new project’s materialisation as a work of art.
There are, then, two levels of participation: the general public – normal visitors – and those who, while being part of that same public, opt to invest in, take part in, promote and share this work with the artist. This approach, a feature of Pérez-Quiroga’s most recent work, is indicative of a particular interest in the economic mechanisms that drive the transaction of commodities, namely the financial engineering needed to support an artistic project through its various production phases and later purchase.
The present work, The world in its true colours / O mundo nas suas verdadeiras cores, consists of 225 strips of Chinese silk (each measuring 36 x 200 cm), in 75 different colours, thrice repeated in the gallery's display set-up, and will come to a conclusion in the form of a book, a map/archive that will be left as a reference and keepsake for those who volunteered for the project, financially investing in it and, if they wish, leaving there a written statement concerning the reason for their choice of a particular colour of silk. Each one of the silk strips can be framed or used as a clothing accessory, thus spreading the enjoyment of the work of art from intimacy to its mundane expression (displaying one's identity via one’s choice of clothes, their colour and material). Ana Pérez-Quiroga offers us an experiment that re-establishes the relationship between an artistic object and an everyday one, thus reconnecting art and life. Her action takes into consideration the importance of the art market, as well as of the elements that condition the work of art's production, financing, reception and purchase, on which the artist’s reflection mainly focuses. The work gains a broader scope by confronting us with an approach that uses economic and cultural globalisation as its ideological basis. Originally outlined in Portugal, this project was produced in China, more precisely in Shanghai, a city in which the artist has recurrently worked as a voluntary resident, and where the book/map will be made. Decentralisation and diversity are thus the coordinates of this new map, depicted in its true colours.