A classroom for error The incorrect, options how to fail, possible ways to make mistakes. - Nicolás Paris (1977)
Belem, Berardo Collection, Centro Cultural de Belem, Lisbon, Portugal
NICOLÁS PARIS, FOUR VARIATIONS ON NOTHING OR TALKING ABOUT THAT WHICH HAS NO NAME, CURATED BY FILIPA OLIVEIRA.
The Museu Coleção Berardo presents an exhibition by the Colombian artist Nicolás Paris, Four variations on nothing or talking about that which has no name, curated by Filipa Oliveira.
William Burroughs called artists mapmakers. By this he did not mean that they dealt with a geographical territory demarcated by borders, but rather alluded to the fact that they create a poetic cartography that attempts to convey meaning and shape the world in which we live. Artists are able to speak about that which hasn’t been named yet. The work of Nicolás Paris (Bogotá, Colombia, 1977) is very much in this vein: a poetic resistance against conventions, rules and ingrained beliefs in an attempt to discover new ways of seeing and experiencing the places that we encounter. In his proposals, the distance between the viewer, the artwork and the artist is abolished and the art space, or the museum, is transformed into a place of precarious and unforeseen experimentation. Art is what happens when all of these factors combine. The museum becomes a tool for fostering exchange and opening up the chance to construct new forms of knowledge and understanding.
Four variations on nothing or talking about that which has no name is conceived as a process of examination in which art is seen as a series of encounters and situations that happen in time. Four variations, four rooms, four concepts: tool, method, idea and system – these are the underpinnings of the thought and work of Paris.
The “tools” are drawings, educational exercises, utensils, games, prototypes. Here, thought is seen as an exercise, while the tools are there to help with setting out ideas. They are not mere techniques of representation, but rather comprise a system of thought that allows us to exchange views.
The “METHODS” are traditionally taught in a school-style learning environment. By rethinking and playing with the concept of the classroom, the architecture is devised by Paris in such a way that it is transformed into a working process itself, as well as a set of routines that give rise to spaces of exchange in which social skills and learning habits are developed. Each classroom, where the viewer decides what he or she wants to learn or unlearn, is a structure in which the artist’s interests cross with the visitors’ experiences. Every model offers a space to discover relationships, an architecture that serves as a trigger for thinking about different ways of socializing, in a process of learning and failure combined.
The exhibition shifts scale in order to tackle the “idea”. In a small architectural installation, an object suggests that an idea is something that is always being constructed and developed. It is something transformative that we cannot fully access; something that can grow in a number of possible ways, that emerges in time, and that lies in the hands of each viewer.
UNDER NORMAL CIRCUMSTANCES, EDUCATION WOULD BE THE SYSTEM AND ARCHITECTURE THE METHOD, BUT IN THIS EXHIBITION THIS STATE OF AFFAIRS IS REVERSED. EDUCATION IS NOW SEEN AS A CONCEPTUAL, LOGICAL INSTITUTION THAT ALLOWS US TO LEARN BY ASSOCIATION. IT IS A PROCESS THAT PROVIDES ROOM FOR THOUGHT AND GENERATES IDEAS, SPARKING ONE OR MORE EXPERIENCES. A set of short films that are at once demonstrations of the use of the tools and brief poetic essays, and which activate ideas and processes that have already been presented in the exhibition.
A dictionary of terms and diagrams, a book of tools, that draws upon the work of Nicolás Paris will be edited by curator Filipa Oliveira, with contributions by several authors, and will be published during the exhibition.
The “METHOD” IS PRESENTED IN THE SECOND ROOM. By rethinking and playing with the concept of the classroom, the architecture is devised in such a way that it is transformed into a working process itself, as well as a set of routines that give rise to spaces of exchange in which social skills and learning habits are developed. Each classroom, where the viewer decides what he or she wants to learn or unlearn,
is a structure in which the artist’s interests cross with the visitors’ experiences. Every model offers a space to discover relationships, an architecture that serves as a trigger for thinking about different ways of socializing, in a process
A classroom to learn to walk backwards
To unlearn, to advance is almost never going forward.
of learning and failure combined.
Filipa Oliveira, Curator
- See more at: en.museuberardo.pt/exhibitions/nicolas-paris-four-variati...
Nicolás Paris was born in 1977 in Bogotá, Colombia, where he continues to live and work. Paris often draws on pedagogical strategies to incorporate elements of collaboration, dialogue and exchange in his work. In order to develop events and places, which encourage the exchange of reflections, Paris’s work is oriented to mediate for the construction of dialogue environments between the observer, the exhibition space and the institutions. In this manner, he develops projects, which are chronicles and reinterpretations of collective work and its work methods, and that, by the use of visual aids, such re-presentations become basic learning and communication tools which exist thanks to their oral possibilities. As a result, his work consist of projects that define themselves by images and activities that encourage a two-way exchange of reflections, and that, at the same time, evidence the intermediate stages of transformation in operational, representational and metaphorical levels.