Juan Pablo Macias : The Emancipating Power of Language


Biblioteca de anarquismo y anarquistas, 2009-ongoing
236 books printed and bound with black sandpaper hardcovers and metal bookshelves Each book: 7 x 9 ¼ in. (18 x 23.5 cm.) Edition 2/3 + 2AP

Libertarian words and dialogue are often found at the heart of Juan Pablo Macias’s work. For Macias, art is a dialogue: “not only with the spectator or our time but also with a cultural heritage, with the elders, with the future, with diverse institutions and associations… a dialogue created with a system of objects, with logics of representation of which what counts is the manner in which we invest our time and affects.”[1] That is to say, his work explores the relation between the systems of representation and affectivity, and analogically, between power knowledge and insurrectional awareness.

Included in Adrastus Collection, Biblioteca de anarquismo y anarquistas (2009-ongoing) is an ongoing research and download of electronic books about anarchism (or written by anarchists); which have been digitalized by corporations or universities. This artwork inscribes itself within “Tiempo Muerto”, a Macias’ project that questions the relation between anarchism/art, power/knowledge, insurrectional/knowledge, and private property/collective ownership.

The work of Macias is a game of serial strategies, a machine constituted by systems of signs looking for the transformation of the affective memory. Through Biblioteca de anarquismo y anarquistas (2009-ongoing), Macias associates his research in the archive with his own status as a reader and his role as an editor in order to deepen the relationship between the reader and text. His approach is intended to cause tensions between the institution, the art practice and the social field.

Juan-Pablo-Macias-Adrastus2Macias’ interest in anarchism arose in 2005, when he started a series of curatorial and artistic exercises aimed to be used as cultural grammars and micro utopic displays appealing directly to anarchism. Nevertheless, in 2009, Macias deepen in the theme after the eviction of an anarchist library in Mexico City. The Biblioteca Social Reconstruir – BSR (Reconstruct Social Library), was an anarchist and social libertarian library founded in 1978 in Mexico City by Ricardo Mestre, a Catalonian anarchist exiled in Mexico. In May of 2009 the BSR was evicted with a seizure order but they managed to get all the collection out in boxes. This library was unique in its kind. Besides having one of the biggest collections on anarchism in Latin America, specializing in Spanish Civil War and Mexican anarchism, it had a series of parallel activities like teaching in unions, schools, facilitating research and it represented an alternative for the formation and education of people lacking access to formal schooling. In that unique library, the sharing of knowledge was under the form of free speech, free sharing, face-to-face discussions, where the only authority was morality, not credentials. Committed to the diffusion and preservation of anarchist literature, Biblioteca de anarquismo y anarquistas (2009-ongoing) is Macias’ effort to revitalize the evicted library, and recover the lost legacy of the anarchist movement in the different frictions, complexities and differences between the existent archives or collections.

Juan Pablo Macias was born in Puebla, Mexico, in 1974. He achieved his BFA in 2003 by the Universidad de las Américas, Puebla, Mexico and his MFA in 2004 by the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain. He also studied in 2005 and advanced course in visual arts in Como, Italy. In Mexico he has shown in Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporáneo; Museo Universitario de Ciencias y Artes Colonia Roma; Museo de Arte Moderno; Museo Carrillo Gil; Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporáneo and Museo Amparo in Puebla. Abroad in Moscow’s National Center for Contemporary Art; Musée d’Art Contemporain du Val-de-Marne in Paris; Playspace Gallery in San Francisco; P74 Gallery in Ljubljana; Fondazione Antonio Ratti, Assab One and Isola Art Center in Italy; in Berlin at Künstlerhaus Bethanien, and at the artist-run-space A Certain Lack of Coherence in Oporto. His work was featured in the Emergency Biennale traveling exhibition at the 10th Istanbul Biennial. Most recently, he participated in Resisting The Present: Mexico 2000-2012 held at Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris and Museo Amparo in the City of Puebla, Mexico; and presented a long-term project called Tiempo Muerto at Kunstraum München.

[1] http://vorticidad.org/?post_type=artist&p=178