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SCHIFFERS. GREETING IS EVERYWHERE: SOME CROSS-CULTURAL TALES
The exhibition Greeting Is Everywhere: Some Cross-Cultural Tales, featuring the work of Antje Schiffers (Heiligendorf, Germany, 1967), is a journey that traces the professional trajectory of an artist who works individually, collectively with Myvillages and in collaboration with Thomas Sprenger. Her spirit of cooperation and networking is not limited to artists, for she has also reached out to farmers, ranchers, craftspeople, factory workers and residents of such far-flung places as Mexico or Kazakhstan, where the artist has lived.
The sequential arrangement of the show turns the CAAC galleries into chapters of a story about Schiffers' projects and about the narratives and people involved in their production. The exhibition thus becomes a kind of tableaux of different works by Antje, in an attempt to introduce a new display format or make this carefully staged scenario part of the discourse. The show's itinerary reviews the artist's career, but at the same time it weaves a tale or discourse using the plot devices of works, murals, drawings, loans and contributions or video documents to conjure up (a) certain landscape(s) and experience(s). These are "revisited" and simultaneously "recreated" insofar as, beyond mere documentary exercises, they function as elements that spark a debate about crucial issues on the contemporary art agenda: situated and contextual practices, exercises in dialogue, relational experiences, experiments in exchange and interaction, collaborative praxes or the use of a certain type of "lowly" information and the status it is accorded.
Schiffers' projects suggest new interpretations of the relationship between folk art and contemporary art, or between the autochthonous and the allochthonous, of the work as a commodity, and of the problems, hopes and future prospects of traditional craftsmanship or agriculture in these times of crisis for Europe in general and the region of Andalusia in particular.
In order to establish a connection between
the nature and logic of her works and the local Andalusian reality,
the artist has come up with different contextual elements to serve
as guidelines for new productions, based on the CAAC orchard's produce,
the Pickman factory's famous Cartuja ceramics, victuals in the paintings
by Francisco Barrera held at the Museo de Bellas Artes of Seville,
odd remnants of a processional Sevillian May cross, or a new addition
to the archives of I Like Being a Farmer and I Would Like To
Stay One, a project carried out at the Yñiguez Ovando farm in
Extremadura and with beekeeper Juan Antonio García in Cuevas del
Becerro. These new creations incorporate recurrent themes and interests
in Schiffers' oeuvre, adopting a wide variety of formats and perspectives:
informal presentations and meetings, collaborative projects, personal
interactions and public debates, collecting or sharing information
about farming or culinary practices, repositories of documentary
material or food, bartering and many other forms of managing knowledge
that were commonplace until fairly recently and today present themselves
as feasible options or alternatives.
This project has been supported by Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen e. V. Stuttgart, funded by the German Federal Cultural Foundation and with the collaboration of La Cartuja de Sevilla.