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MADRID: Antimuseum 'ojo atomico' to close

Ojo Atomico to close.

After five long and eventful years of work at the venue in Calle Mantuano, we have decided to close it down  and embark upon a new phase of the Ojo Atomico.

The hostility displayed towards us by the council and by the regional government of Madrid ( the former in a veiled manner and the latter openly, but both equally severe), coupled with the absence of dialogue with the Ministry of Culture have brought us to this closure  - as has happened with many other independent cultural spaces in recent months. We could take it upon ourselves to resist, were it not for the fact that we are starting to experience ‘burnout’. As such we feel it best to adopt a change of strategy rather than become entrenched in  positions which are untenable in the medium-term. They’ve won – at least, the battle which started in 2002 with the opening of the ‘29 enchufes’  organisation  For the first time, an alternative art scene appeared in Madrid, a scene characterized above all by a willingness to open itself up to the exterior. A quick look at the programmes of 29 Enchufes, Liquidación Total and the Ojo Atomico amongst others, amply demonstrates the extent of the internationalisation we attained, and which can only now be sustained by our exile (forseeable or already taken).

I won’t try to hide the bad taste left in my mouth by this, as we shall become another lost generation, and as I mentioned a year back for me this one will be the last. My age, 45, and my aspirations lead me to focus on more institutional projects, in which I shall be able to have at my disposal resources which I have not had up to now . We leave behind  excellent work which is already in the process of being forgotten.  A week ago,  I heard a well known Madrid art historian   say that the political art scene in Madrid ended in 2001. Should I respond?  Or explain, at this stage of the game, what is art and what is politics? Let ‘em forget about us! Madrid does not appear to need art, rather work which is public, muncipal, olympian.  
One of our failed objectives from this phase of the Ojo Atomico was to attain a legal framework for the support of creation in Madrid. In the doomed Manifesto of Artistic Agents of Madrid  ( www.ojoatomico.com/comunicados/documento4.html ) we described in detail the situation faced by those in the field of creation, and organisation of independent spaces in the city. This text was so spot-on that a lackey of Carlos Baztán called me on the mobile  to request that we did not publish any more manifestos if we wanted to maintain a ‘dialogue’.  That was the moment I realised the impossibility of the situation and decided to give up on ever attaining any kind of dialogue. And let’s not even mention the CAM – what with all that had gone on, they’re on my ‘blacklist’. It is of note that only the AVAM and the Unión wrote in support of our basic premise - our demands for a legal  framework to regulate the spending of public money on  support for the arts. Neither the ADACE nor the Consejo de la Crítica bothered to respond. Maybe they thought this was mixing art with politics, or, as someone high up in the Matadero art centre put it, those of us working outside the institutions would have to ‘learn to toe the line’.

It is even more regrettable that now, just as in 1991 when I opened my first exhibition space, the only place in Madrid an artist can go to start a coherent career is the international departures terminal of Barajas airport. But now the world has got so much smaller,  and there is nothing which can hide the ridiculous cultural policies in place here – the White nights, the Mataderos, the open-Madrids, the homage to the ‘Movida’ and a slew of content-free disorientated art centres with their parochial , ‘good-time’ ethos. 

So we close, happy with the considerable amount  we managed to give and the considerable amount we received. Our thanks to those who, in whatever way, have been there with us and to the artists who have come from all parts of the world to participate in the project without any financial incentive.

Friday 21 marks the closure, from 20:00 on. We invite you to particpate in an action with Javier Perez Aranda, who will transform the familiar installation of assorted objects  from the upper loft of the exhibition space into one large piece of furniture. This will later be left in the designated space for collection by the city refuse disposal department, taking advantage of the fact that that day is scheduled for a collection. There won’t be a bar, so if you want  to, bring your own booze. Winter clothes are recommended.

Trad.: B Roberts Dec. 2007