Centro de Artes Visuales Fundación Helga de Alvear

from April 26th 2014 to April 5th 2015

The Tears of Things

The photography and the moving image, working sometimes as a document, sometimes as a concept, or sometimes occupying the spaces between them, have become a territory that is favourable for exploring reflexively both our way of being in the world and the new semi-autonomous status of the photographic medium.

Solicitar imágenes

Thomas Demand. Ghost, 2003

Rodney Graham – Meret Oppenheim | Foto-Photo. Joaquín Cortés

Bernd & Hilla Becher | Foto-Photo. Joaquín Cortés

James Casebere | Foto-Photo. Joaquín Cortés

Gordon Matta-Clark | Foto-Photo. Joaquín Cortés

Helena Almeida – Anna & Bernhard Blume | Foto-Photo. Joaquín Cortés

Thomas Demand | Foto-Photo. Joaquín Cortés

Stan Douglas – Pierre Huyghe – Andreas Gursky – Candida Höfer | Foto-Photo. Joaquín Cortés

Ai Weiwei | Foto-Photo. Joaquín Cortés

Paul Graham – José Antonio Hernández-Diez – Thomas Ruff | Foto-Photo. Joaquín Cortés

Christian Marclay | Foto-Photo. Joaquín Cortés

“Is there any place left on earth unhaunted by our sorrows?… Tears in the nature of things, hearts touched by human transience.”

Virgil. Aeneid, Book I

If there is a place in the world where the tears of things and the tears of the human being can mingle, poetic and politically, their destinies, this is in the territory of the image. The photography registers the appearance of the things and confers them another order of existence, displacing them to other times, to other meanings, to other statuses of visibility. Perhaps the tears of things weep precisely because of this exile from reality to representation and, perhaps because all things participate in some way in the conflicts and melancholies of those who see them.

Photography and the moving image, working sometimes as a document, sometimes as a concept, or sometimes occupying the spaces between them, have become a territory that is favourable for exploring reflexively both our way of being in the world and the new semi-autonomous status of the photographic medium. The exhibition The Tears of Things takes as a pretext the falsely inanimate appearance of things to select a series of artworks of the Helga de Alvear Collection that in same way displace the place of the things to give form to new accounts that blur the opposition between private and public, exterior and interior, before and after, subject and object.

The exhibition is organised into five spheres, fully open and interchangeable. This is not a matter of boxing works and artists, but to evoke possible connections and disconnections between the histories of the things represented and our own, between the “tears of things” and the tears of everyone.

Forms and typologies
The study of the forms of things and their diverse typologies not only bring out its aesthetic qualities, but also its capacity to evoke a concept or an idea and move it into other spheres of thought. In the majority of these images, time and space disappear with the aim of reinforcing the presence of the object and its multiple historical, cultural, political or social connotations.

Appearances and disappearances
The image shows us the existence of a thing, its presence and its appearance, but it also evokes that which is not there, what is forgotten, hidden or not shown. Some artists convoke images in this broad space that separates that which appears in the image and that which disappears, the visible and the invisible, with the aim of producing a whole series of meanings, between the poetic and the political, of great delicacy.

Spaces between places
The tensions in the city’s social and urban fabric, as well as the incongruities and anomalies of the artefacts that inhabit it, often reflect the different conceptions of the public sphere and the exercise of power.

Archaeology of power
Narratives about the detritus of consumer society distributed in different spaces of human life constitute a broad terrain for critical analysis about the unfulfilled promises of collective progress and democracy. The relationship of co-dependence between knowledge and power is evoked in these works.

The melancholy of things
Represented things exist because there is someone who looks at them. The Tears of Things is an exhibition about the melancholy traditionally associated with the existence of the world of things and the gaze on them. But, above all, about the complicities and disagreements between objects and subjects, between things and people. And if, at times, things rebel or resist possession it is certain that sometimes they go to meet that fatal melancholy.


97 obras en exposición


Ignasi Aballí | Helena Almeida | Francis Alÿs | Bernd & Hilla Becher | Vanessa Beecroft | Anna & Bernhard Blume | Martin Boyce | James Casebere | Hannah Collins | Thomas Demand | Stan Douglas | Nam Goldin | Jack Goldstein | Paul Graham | Rodney Graham | Hans-Peter Feldmann | Fischli & Weiss | Joan Fontcuberta | Andreas Gursky | Jitka Hanzalovà | José Antonio Hernández-Diez | Candida Höfer | Pierre Huyghe | Robert Mapplethorpe | Christian Marclay | Gordon Matta-Clark | Ryuji Miyamoto | Jorge Molder | Meret Oppenheim | Gabriel Orozco | João Penalva | Thomas Ruff | Edward Ruscha | Allan Sekula | Montserrat Soto | Frank Thiel | Eulàlia Valldosera | Jeff Wall | Mark Wallinger | Chen Wei | Ai Weiwei | Jane & Louise Wilson | Edwin Zwakman

Comisario: Marta Gili

Born in Barcelona, in 1957. She lives in both Barcelona and Paris.
Gili received a degree in Philosophy and Education Sciences from Barcelona’s Universidad Central. From 1983 to 1988 she was one of the organising committee of Barcelona’s Primavera Fotográfica photography festival. Between 1991 and 2006 she ran the Fundación La Caixa’s Department of Photography and Visual Arts. In October 2006 she was appointed director of the Jeu de Paume exhibition space in Paris, a position she still holds.
Gili was the artistic director of the Printemps de Septembre festival of visual arts in Toulouse in 2002 and 2003.
She was on the purchasing committee for the French Ministry of Culture’s Fond national d’art contemporain (national contemporary art fund) from 1994 to 1997 and later from 2013 (until 2015); consultant to the Coca-Cola collection (2008-2013); consultant to Foto-Colectania in Barcelona (2008-2014); and has sat on the panel for a number of awards and scholarships (Purificación García, Hasselblad, Eugene Smith, Le Meurice and others).
Marta Gili has curated many solo exhibitions of artists such as Helen Chadwick, Tracey Moffat, Miguel Rio Branco, Lorna Simpson, Aernout Mik, Christer Stromholm, Gillian Wearing, Doug Aitken, Valerie Mrejen, Jordi Colomer, Willy Ronis, Alec Soth, Sophie Riestelhueber, Esther Shalev-Gerz, Bruno Serralongue, Mathieu Pernit, Adrian Paci and Laurent Grasso. She has also created themed exhibitions such as La Imatge Frágil, Ficcions Documentals, Historias Animadas and Resonances.
She has written for media such as El País, El Mundo, ABC, Tema Celeste Beaux Arts Magazine and EXIT.
She has participated in seminars and conferences and has taught on different courses and Master’s and postgraduate degrees in Spain and abroad. Her writings in monographic texts and on theory have been published by Phaidon, Steidl, Gustavo Gili, Fundación La Caixa, Jeu de Paume, Flammarion, RM, Hazan, and others.
In 2010 Gili was made an Officer of Arts and Letters by the French Ministry of Culture.