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Art with Prophylaxis

MARCO presents an exhibition that offers of 18 perspectives on AIDS.

By: b.r.sotelino 22/10/2011

Following the successful exhibition by Martin Creed that flooded the ground floor of the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Vigo with blue balloons, MARCO has cleared away the latex and filled the space with a new exhibition that also has prophylactic characteristics. The group exhibition You Are Not Alone brings together a total of 35 works by 18 contemporary artists from around the world (eight of which were specifically commissioned for this show), which offer an innovative way of looking at the cause, consequences and current context of HIV/AIDS, and at ways to fight the illness.

In the presentation, the director of MARCO, Iñaki Martínez, expressed his conviction that art can help to change the world, “or at least to make us better human beings.” The exhibition has been co-produced by the ArtAids Foundation, the Fundació Joan Miró (where the exhibition closed on September 18), and MARCO.

HIV-positive patron of the arts

One of the people present at the opening was Han Nefkens, president of the ArtAids Foundation. Nefkens is a collector and patron who carries out outstanding work as a promoter of artistic projects with a clear social purpose, particularly in regards to the fight against HIV/AIDS. The Dutch collector, who had previously collaborated with MARCO in 2006 when he loaned part of his personal collection for an exhibition, explained that his Foundation is dedicated to fighting the stigma of AIDS, “and as a HIV-positive person, I know what that means. It’s tough, and it can also be very dangerous, because 30% of those affected don’t know that they are. They don’t want to know because they are scared to be tested for fear of social exclusion,” he said. Nefkens added that he believes “in the power of art, which transmits ideas and feelings,” and he said that the illness has become invisible and exhibitions like this one help to make people think.

Very different visions

Hilde Teerlinck and Irene Aristizábal curated the exhibition. According to Teerlinck, the invited artists became strongly involved in the project, delving into the issue in order to learn more about it, and committing to a research project and a quest that lasted a year and a half. This process gave rise to a wide diversity of visions, depending on the part of the world on which each artist focused.

The exhibition, which will be open in Vigo until January 22, is sponsored by the Banco Sabadell Foundation, which is collaborating with a cultural project in Galicia for the first time, a gesture that the director of the foundation Miguel Molins assured would be repeated in the future. The director of the museum literally took him at his word, drawing attention to the fact that “we are at a moment in time when, as public institutions, we need the support of private entities.”

Curator Hilde Teerlinck and patron Han Nefkens in front of the work by Otto Berchem.

Photographer: fran g.- alegre