'Amikejo: Fermín Jiménez Landa & Lee Welch', Laboratorio 987, MUSAC, León, 24 September 2011–15 January 2012
'Amikejo' is a series of four exhibitions by artist duos at MUSAC’s Laboratorio 987. Amikejo was a tiny state that existed from 1908–1920 between the Netherlands, Belgium and present day Germany and was founded on a desire to foster more effective international communication through the synthetic language Esperanto – Amikejo means ‘place of friendship’ in Esperanto. This episode-place was a unique synthesis of cartography, language, nationhood, politics, economics and subjectivity, and is entreated as a twin site to Laboratorio 987 by lending its name and conceptual borders to the exhibition series.

Fermín Jiménez Landa (Pamplona, Spain, 1979) & Lee Welch (Louisville, USA, 1975) did not know each other before the invitation to participate in Amikejo. As if engaged in international diplomacy, the artists have had to understand each other personally and artistically before issuing what might be regarded as a joint statement based on what they have agreed and negotiated, in the form of an exhibition. Jiménez Landa and Welch have chosen to establish their collaboration in relation to the notion of the micronation and devices which delineate sovereignty – borders, stamps, anthems, and so on. Their project refers to other historical episodes in addition to Amikejo itself as well as taking inspiration from methodologies which combine fixed parameters with improvisation, such as the directing technique of filmmaker John Cassavetes.

Their works in MUSAC comprise a constellation of diverse performative, discursive, interactive and displayed elements, some of which are directly apparent in the Laboratorio 987, while others document occurrances at remote locations, or exist only in the imagination. A platform-like structure and sculptures that take the form of portals or border markers constitute spaces and tools for assembly and discussion as well as hosting further two-dimensional and video works. A marching band from León was recruited to compose and perform a national anthem for a new autonomous island state and the founding of this micronation has been documented in video and photography. Companioning this, a series of letters have been sent by the artists using stamps from Moresnet, the republic which anteceded Amijeko. Jiménez Landa’s and Welch’s joint endeavour considers how art can produce new understanding, memories and communicative possibilities together with an audience.

Photos: Latitudes | www.lttds.org and Imagen MAS/MUSAC.

+ info: www.lttds.org/projects/current/amikejo/amikejo.html

Related photo album: Performance 'Himno Nacional' (2011) www.flickr.com/photos/lttds/sets/72157627759062360/with/6...
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