Glasgow International 2020

Esther Ferrer

Esther Ferrer (b. 1937, San Sebastián, Spain) lives and works in Paris.

A proponent of free expression, confrontation, feminism and authentic experience, Ferrer is best known for her performances, her principal form of artistic expression since 1965, both as a soloist and as a member of the pioneering experimental music and performance art group ZAJ (formed in 1964). Her work has always been oriented to ephemeral artistic action rather than to permanent artistic production. She created, in collaboration with the painter José Antonio Sistiaga, the first Workshop for Free Expression, in the early 60s, an activity that was to inspire other similar groups in Spain. Beginning in the 70s, she has also been quite active in the plastic arts: reworked photographs, installations, canvases and constructions based on the prime number series Pi, and so forth.

Her work proposes a particular kind of minimalism, which she sometimes terms “rigorous absurdity”. Ferrer has performed across Europe (Yugoslavia, Poland, Germany, Italy, France, Switzerland, Belgium, Hungry, Holland, Denmark, Norway, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Spain, etc.), as well as in Cuba, the United States, Mexico, Japan, Thailand Korea and Palestine. She has exhibited widely, including at Galerie Donguy (Paris), Statsgalerie (Stuttgart), Koldo Mitxelena Kulturunea (San Sebastián) and Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo (Sevilla). In 1999 Ferrer was one of two Spanish artists chosen to represent Spain at the Venice Biennial.

In 2009, the Spanish Ministry of Culture awarded her the National Fine Arts Prize. In 2012, the Basque government awarded her the Gure Artea, a prize for artistic creation. In 2014 she was awarded the MAV Prize – Mujeres en las Artes Visuales [Women in Visual Arts] and the Velázquez Prize. In 2013, the Regional Contemporary Art Fund in Brittany (FRAC) hosted the first major retrospective exhibition of Esther Ferrer in France, Le chemin se fait en marchant (Face A) [The path is created as you walk], followed by Face B. Image/Self-Portrait, at the MAC/VAL in 2014. A new retrospective titled ‘All Variations Are Valid, Including This One’, curated by Laurence Rassel and Mar Villaespesa, opened in Madrid at Museo Nacional Reina Sofía in October 2017.

For more information visit estherferrer.fr/en.

Esther Ferrer

I’m Going To Tell You About My Life

Event
Performance

I’m Going To Tell You About My Life is a performative action conceived by Spanish artist Esther Ferrer. The piece brings together a group of volunteer signers and non-signers, speaking in sign language and in various spoken languages, who introduce themselves to an audience.

Taking a different meaning each time it’s performed, the piece advocates for a pluralist society by presenting language as a palpable manifestation of diversity. “The less languages we are able to speak,” believes Ferrer, “the easier it will be to impose a single way of thinking”.

Supported by Glasgow International and the Office for Cultural and Scientific Affairs of the Embassy of Spain in London.

Free; booking required. Book via Eventbrite.

Sun 22 April
1pm

Esther Ferrer with Louise Ahl and Fritz Welch, Jessica Higgins, Sandra Johnston, and Pester & Rossi

MINIMAL/POOR/PRESENT

Event
Performance

Developed in parallel to Esther Ferrer’s performative action I’m Going To Tell You About My Life, MINIMAL/POOR/PRESENT features a performance piece by the Spanish live art pioneer, as well as four new commissions by UK-based artists loosely inspired by her work. Jointly, the two projects claim a continuity and intensified relevance for Ferrer’s wide-ranging artistic legacy in the context of Brexit, amidst global instability and deepening social tensions.

After a lifetime of practice, much of it in exile, Ferrer believes her work to be at its strongest when she uses primarily her own body, keeping props and other elements to a minimum. Anarchism remains a central theme for her.

Supported by Glasgow International and the Office for Cultural and Scientific Affairs of the Embassy of Spain in London.

Free; booking required. Book via Eventbrite.

Mon 23 April
6pm

Esther Ferrer with Louise Ahl and Fritz Welch, Jessica Higgins, Sandra Johnston, and Pester & Rossi

House Party

Exhibition

Esther Ferrer’s Fête Maison is an audio work recorded in 1998 in her home in Paris while cleaning, cooking, speaking on the phone and taking care of daily life. The sounds are familiar and unaffected, made with the most rudimentary means.

This exhibition presents Ferrer’s piece accompanied by an array of everyday objects that can be activated to make new sounds and artworks by invited artists, all of whom will be performing alongside Ferrer during Glasgow International. These stem from what can be described as a daily practice, carried out in similarly unassuming everyday situations, that evokes 1960s notions about the relatedness of art and life within the contemporary context of austerity.

Fête Maison translates literally as ‘House Party’, yet in French plays on the phonic associations with the words ‘fait’, suggesting something has been ‘made’ at home, and ‘mes sons’, effectively ‘my sounds’ – in first person.

Supported by Glasgow International, Project Ability, The Glasgow School of Art and the Office for Cultural and Scientific Affairs of the Embassy of Spain in London

Fri 20 April – Mon 7 May
Mon – Sat, 10am-5pm
Sun, 11am-4pm

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Programme

Glasgow international 2018