Artist: Ibon Aranberri
Exhibition title: Operatori
Venue: fluent, Santander, Spain
Date: October 30 – December 10, 2021
Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and fluent, Santander
fluent is pleased to present Operatori, a solo exhibition by Ibon Aranberri that responds to the materiality of a recent past embedded in the glass and metal architecture of the space. Through a series of unfinished technical drawings, hand–copied from the sheets commonly used in the historical context of training schools, they reveal the physical properties that organise spaces, surfaces and volumes. Alongside the drawings, a steel profiles’ stockpile from a standard industrial catalogue, features different lengths, sections and gages.
Departing from an aprioristic binary that divides technical from speculative knowledge, and as the production of industrial labour has evolved into an omnipresent technical knowledge, the formal vocabulary and manufacturing methods have remained intact, although their outcomes are now different. Thus, Operatori emphasizes the infrastructural and educational channels shaping our material and immaterial realities. The term, which in Italian refers to a plural worker / agent, echoes a series of pedagogical experiments developed by radical movements from the XX century and to practices conceived from the premise of technical training as a form of emancipation. This evokes a vanishing point from the culture of utilitarian learning synthesized by the technical drawings. From a contemporary perspective, the term designates object and subject as a single entity, providing these exercises with a subjectivized connotation.
The space itself has been arranged through a modular pattern combining steel beams and glass panels that replicate an industrial system of weight and force distribution. When the pavilion was built as part of a larger commercial complex, it served an infrastructural function which emerged from modernity, and was configured according to the materials that the changing ways of life and modern society needed. These elements have now been taken and amplified in order to generate a material grammar presented in the exhibition space as an independent form, around a pedestal / mock–up that replicates fluent’s floorplan.
In a specific installation that reinforces the material culture from the characteristics of a given architecture, Operatori unfolds a geometric vocabulary that has remained the same through the changes from manual to machine to robotic labour. Throughout the process of deactivating its specific purposes, it has been its articulation as a pedagogical infrastructure that has in turn modulated social spaces, which has allowed or canceled specific interactions according to the new applications that these infrastructures allow. In these different processes of industrialization and de-industrialization of labour, technical knowledge has become increasingly abstract, its traces today not being so much practical or applied as they are epistemological.
Ibon Aranberri currently lives and works in the Basque Country. His work has been presented in solo exhibitions at institutions such as Vienna Secession, Fundació Tàpies, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía and Kunsthalle Basel, among others. In 2007 he was invited to take part in Documenta XII.