On the ocassion of the Concha Jerez retrospective, Our Memory Is Being Stolen (29 July – 11 January 2021), the Museo Reina Sofía organises an encounter with the artist, alongside critic and theorist Mieke Bal and critic and exhibition curator Fernando Castro Flórez, two figures behind the exhibition catalogue and and the participation of Manuel Borja-Villel, director of the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía and Ängeles González-Sinde, president of the Board of Trustees of the Museo Reina Sofía.
Critiques of media censorship and reflections around the workings of repression have shaped the work of Concha Jerez for decades and across multiple artistic supports. The exhibition presented the artist’s work from the 1970s to the present day, retrieving and revising it from a perspective in which personal memory and collective memory interweave: a concern taken on by the artist over a large part of her career. The show unfolded around different spaces in the Museo and presented new site-specific productions for the stairways of the Sabatini Building, to which the artist refers as a “great container of memory”, a former hospital upon which forgotten, self-censored, written and oral memory is re-inscribed, and often silenced. The show also displayed a selection of works that span a broad temporal arc: from her “self-censored writings”, made in the 1970s, to the InterMedia installation Espectros de silencio (Spectres of Silence, 2001).
Mieke Bal is a professor of Literary Theory at the University of Amsterdam and co-founder of the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA). Her work takes an interdisciplinary approach, combining literary theory, semiotics, feminism, art history, cultural studies and post-colonial theory. Notable among her publications is the book Tiempos trastornados: análisis, historias y políticas de la mirada (Akal, 2016). Bal is also a video artist and her work has been exhibited in numerous countries.
Manuel Borja-Villel is the director of the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía.
Fernando Castro Flórez is head professor of Aesthetics at the Autonomous University of Madrid and an art critic and exhibition curator. He regularly writes for ABC Cultural, Descubrir el arte and Revista de Occidente, and his numerous books include Mierda y catástrofe: síndromes culturales del arte contemporáneo (Fórcola, 2014), Estética de la crueldad: enmarcados artísticos en tiempo desquiciado (Fórcola, 2019) and Filosofía tuitera y estética columnista (Fundación NewCastle, 2019). He is also a member of Museo Reina Sofía’s Advisory Committee.
Concha Jerez is an artist who has been honoured with Spain’s National Award for Plastic Arts (2015) and the Velázquez Prize (2017) and, since the 1970s, has developed an intensive creative project, setting out from conceptual art to make site-specific interventions that are markedly critical. A performance pioneer in Spain, she has made numerous sound art and radiophonic pieces, most notably those created with sound artist and composer José Iges.