Artist: Ambrose Avellano
Exhibition title: Dancing Under The Shadows
Curated by: Alessandro Castiglioni
Venue: Listen To The Sirens | Space for Contemporary Art, Montegu Bastion, Gilbratar, UK
Date: September 9 -, 2014
Photography: Courtesy of Listen To The Sirens
After the inaugural exhibition, Listen To The Sirens | Space for Contemporary Art continues with the first exhibition devoted to an artist who lives and works in Gibraltar: Ambrose Avellano. In the week when Gibraltar commemorated the 1967 referendum which essentially enshrined the small territory’s freedom of choice to be part of the United Kingdom, Avellano presented a project with strong political overtones questioning the true margins of identity, autonomy and independence of his country. A series of important works and new productions will characterize Avellano’s exhibition, with works that investigate very delicate issues, both historical and contemporary. The exhibition’s title, Dancing Under The Shadows alludes to this dimension: each individual’s potential to be able to assert his or her freedom, despite the presence of menacing shadows, those of the great Rock of Gibraltar, of history or the pressing political concerns.
An example is the work that is the guiding image of this exhibition: The Closed Frontier Years. This is a book written by Avellano, dedicated to the difficult years of Gibraltar’s isolation from Spain, when between 1969 and 1985 Franco closed the border with the tiny British territory. After collecting documents and testimonies, the artist decided not to publish the book and turned it into a sculptural object, observable only from the outside. In this way the memories it preserves live and are filtered only by individual memory and the desire of each to share these events and personal experiences with others or to preserve them as exclusively personal.
Dancing Under The Shadows is therefore an exhibition project that moves constantly between these two strands: one being that of the historical events and political and social relations between Gibraltar and Spain, and the other the intimate and personal dimension, composed of memory and experience and, for this reason, even more fallible, real and dramatic.