The urban context with its implications, uses and alterations is the departure point from which Carme Nogueira has developed her most recent pieces. PRÓSPERA, co-produced by the MARCO, Museo de Arte Contemporánea de Vigo, and the Instituto Cervantes to mark the celebration of ‘Spain’s Year’ in China, looks at the uses people make of public and private spaces and how transit areas are constantly given new connotations as a result of individual or collective experience.

The site-specific intervention realised on the façade of the Instituto Cervantes in Beijing in September 2007 acquires a new meaning in the context of the MARCO. The artist questions the uses of both places; and that first intervention executed opposite the Instituto Cervantes building is substituted in Vigo for an action in which Carme Nogueira, in collaboration with fellow artist Azucena Vieites, transforms the pedestrian street into a meeting point. The new action, whose imprint remains on the façade, again acts as a ‘false reflection’, being reduced as it is to a single image occupying the front of the gallery that encapsulates the ‘unauthorised’ public occupation carried out by the artist. The actions, the street interventions, the Refugios installation inside the museum, and the videos documenting her experience in Beijing all relate to the idea of public space as possessed space.

Carme Nogueira acts as a mediator between two institutions that have chosen her as the interpreter of a process in which the cultural is influenced by the economic, either because large-scale transnational negotiations are always thus or because of the popular image that is created. Conscious of the mercantile nature of routine international relations, the artist has centred her project on the Chinese bazaar in Vigo known as ‘Próspera’. Choosing a spot opposite the Instituto Cervantes, she set up a distribution point of white Lefties (Zara) t-shirts with the Spanish word próspera written backwards on the inside and its Chinese translation printed on the visible side. Resulting from the experience, the artist, now inside the exhibition room, presents an installation which evokes binomials such as inside / outside, interior / exterior, and Beijing / Vigo, the latter being where the project closes.

Iñaki Martínez Antelo

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