Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Barcelona Loop Festival pays tribute to the pioneers of video art


Barcelona (ACN).-The 15th edition of the Barcelona LOOP festival opens its doors from May 18–27, presenting a retro-perspective of international video art production. The festival will show the works of video artists from the 60s, 70s, and 80s in different formats at more than 80 venues around Barcelona. According to Carolina Ciuti, the LOOP festival coordinator, the aim of this year’s edition is to “build bridges between the past and the present” in order to understand modern audiovisual art. The festival’s program was elaborated under the supervision of the renowned Catalan historians of audiovisual art and new media in Spain, Eugeni Bonet and Antoni Mercader. An Andy-Warhol-exhibition as well as a six-hour video marathon of the works of Paul McCarthy are among the festival’s highlights.

“Reflecting about the beginnings of video art production to build a bridge to the present contemporary art” is the idea behind the15th edition of the Barcelona LOOP festival, as Carolina Ciuti, coordinator of the festival, explains in comments to the CNA. “With each festival edition we try to answer questions and concerns from the video art sector.” For the 15th edition of the LOOP festival, organizers considered it was time to look back and investigate the development of moving images over the last 15 years.

LOOP festival Barcelona will welcome visitors from May 18–27, proposing a wide selection of performances, projections, and installations. One of the festival’s special features is its physical decentralization “in order to merge into the urban environment” and “fill the whole city with video art” as Carolina Ciuti explains, with more than 80 venues all over Barcelona, from museums and commercial premises to old movie theaters (Cine Avinguda de la Llum), parking lots (Ortigesa Parking), and empty factories.

Notable artists like Eugènia Balcells, David Hall, Beryl Korot, Chip Lord, Mary Lucier, Antoni Muntadas, Nam June Paik, Carles Pujol, Steina, and Woody Vasulka as well as Peter Weibel are represented in the festival with installations and projections. The festival’s program also includes monographic expositions of Andy Warhol, Martha Rosler, Tony Oursler, Antoni Miralda, and Robert Cahen. The prizewinning live performance “Social Body” by the Majorcan artist Joan Morey at the Royal Medical Academy of Catalonia (Real Acadèmia de Medicina de Catalunya) as well as a six-hour video marathon of the works of Paul McCarthy will be among the festival’s highlights. The organizers also highlight the exhibitions of “(Re)visionats, (Re)visitants” at the Arts Santa Monica with works of Antoni Muntades, Eugeni Balcells, and Carles Pujol and the exhibition of the works of Nam June Paik at the Catalan National Art Museum (MNAC).

A selection of movies and projections will also reflect specific moments in video art history. Notable names among pioneer works are Barbara Aronofsky, Lynda Benglis, Hermin Freed, Suzanne Lacy, Susan Mogul, and Linda Montano.

More than 40 curators, several institutions, and more than 200 artists have collaborated with the festival, a big collective effort that Ciuti considers part of the festival’s character to “be truly part of society and bring together as many people from different areas as possible”.

LOOP Barcelona festival also gathers artists, curators, institutions, critics and international investigators at the LOOP Fair from May 25–26 at the Hotel Catalonia Ramblas. Through a selection of 45 videos and films, organizers encourage thought and criticism. Another meeting point for visitors will be the conferences and debates at LOOP Talks.


The festival presents a series of awards. This year will be the 3rd edition of the DISCOVERY award for the promotion and professionalization of artists who work with video. The awarded works have also been presented in different European cities such as Brussels. Another award is the Prize for VIDEO-CREATION, promoted by the Xarxa de Centres d’Arts Visuals de Catalunya. “Social Body” (Cos Social) by Joan Morey (Mallorca, 1972) is this year’s prizewinning project and will be projected as live performance on the premises at the Arts Santa Monica.

Barcelona, city of video art

When asked about Barcelona’s role in the history and future projection of video art, Carolina Ciuti, the festival coordinator and expert in video arts from Italy, said that “Barcelona is a very vital place in terms of contemporary creation in general and video creation in particular.” “By just looking at the festival’s program, you can see that many of the pioneers of video art were not only from Catalonia, but from Barcelona.”

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  • Loop festival organizers with Carolina Ciuti at the Royal Medical Academy of Catalonia (by Pere Francesc)