Art@Site Ólafur Ólafsson, Libia Castro ThE riGHt tO RighT/WrOnG Rotterdam

Ólafur Ólafsson, Libia Castro


ThE riGHt tO RighT / WrOnG

De knipperende neongraffiti leest afwisselend ThE riGHt tO RighT, ThE riGHt tO WrOnG en een nieuw 'woord dat RighT en WrOnG combineert. Daarmee wordt de indruk van een raadsel of paradox gewekt. Wat is recht? Wat is vrijheid? Met ThE riGHt tO RighT/WrOnG bepleiten de kunstenaars een grondrecht op recht, volgens hen een eerste stap naar een waarachtige en gemeenschappelijke vorm van emancipatie. Het gaat hierbij om een vorm van emancipatie die uitstijgt boven de veelheid van abstracte verdragen, verklaringen, protocollen en grondwetten, doorgaans opgesteld door nationale staten en vervolgens opgelegd aan hun burgers.
Het kunstproject werd oorspronkelijk gelanceerd op de 7de Biënnale van Liverpool in 2012. In het kader van de tentoonstelling The Unexpected Guest ontwierpen Libia Castro & Ólafur Ólafsson een monumentale knipperende neongraffiti voor de zuidgevel van St. George's Hall, een belangrijke plek in het hart van Liverpool vanwege zijn beladen geschiedenis. Daarbij boden zeeen gelijknamige gratis krant aan, geschreven door de Britse feminist en filosoof Nina Power in samenwerking met de kunstenaars: 'The Partial Declaration Of Human Wrongs'.
BKOR onderzocht de mogelijkheid het neonwerk een plek te geven in de stad. AVL Mundo, opgericht door kunstenaar Joep van Lieshout, in het M4H-gebied bood zijn enorme silo aan als drager ter beschikking te stellen. ThE riGHt tO RighT/WrOnG is het eerste werk van Libia Castro & Ólafur Ólafsson in de openbare ruimte van Rotterdam.
The neon sign reads alternately ThE riGHt tO RighT and ThE riGHt tO WrOnG, and also introduces a new unspeakable word that blends RighT and WrOnG together, visualizing a conundrum. A provocative gesture that points among other at the painful paradoxes of law and justice.
Through this campaign, the artists assert that this fundamental right to right is the first step towards a real and communal socio-political emancipation: above and beyond the multitude of internatconventions, declarations, protocols and constitutions that specify and regulate the rights that nation-states and transnational agencies have made available to, or withhold from, citizens.
ThE riGHt tO RighT/WrOnG is a work that Rotterdam and Berlin based artists Libia Castro and Ólafur Ólafsson created for the 7th Liverpool Biennial (2012): The Unexpected Guest exhibition. Since then the work has been shown in different venues and cities. For the Biennial the artists launched a project and campaign entitled ThE riGHt tO RighT/WrOnG, with two iterations: a flashing monumental neon sign that illuminated the City from the south facade of St George's Hall, a symbolic landmark of Liverpool; and a free newspaper made in collaboration with feminist writer and Philosopher Nina Power, distributed throughout the Biennial venues, in city libraries, cafes, bookshops, as an insert in the Liverpool Post and online.
Libia Castro (Madrid, 1970) and Ólafur Ólafsson (Reykjavik, 197 collaborative artists based in Rotterdam and Berlin. Formed in 1997, their artistic practice - executed across media and a variety of genres and disciplines, from political history, through gender studies and sociology - concentrates on the phenomena of exclusion and exploitation within an injured world of non-belonging and denied participation.
Libia and Ólafur wish to sensitize critical questions on racism, socio-economical inequalities, migration, identity, decision-making, urban space and how globalization affects society and peoples life. Libia and Ólafur's works go from the creation of situations and experiential environments, to interventions, sculpture, video and photography.
Asymmetry is a guiding principle in their interdisciplinary, collaborative, multimedia and interventionist work, which often addresses injustice and inequalities, and portrays the oppressed as well as the authoritative subject and the emancipating one. Amongst their works are the ongoing research and campaign prour Country Doesn't Exist (2003-ongoing) and ThE riGHt tO RighT/WrOnG (2012-ongoing).
Their exhibitions include Voices Outside the Echo Chamber (2016), Framer Framed, Amsterdam; Asymmetry (2013), TENT, Rotterdam; The Unexpected Guest (2012), Liverpool Biennial; Germans, Speak German! Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow; Under Deconstruction, Icelandic Pavilion, 54th Venice Biennial (2011) curated by Ellen Bluemenstein; and Manifesta 7 (2008). Their music video Lobbyists was awarded the Basis Prize of the prestigious Dutch art prize the Prix de Rome in 2009.
The Partial Declaration of Human Wrongs - Distorted Projections (Articles 1, 2, 3 and 4), 2015.
The materials of the work in display are acrylic paint and paint marker on wall.
The Partial Declaration of Human Wrongs (2012) is a rewriting of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), written by British philosopher, writer and political activist Nina Power in collaboration with Castro & Ólafsson. This first appeared in the ThE riGHt tO RighT/WrOnG - Free Newspaper, and like the newspaper, is part of the ongoing research and campaign project ThE riGHt tO RighT/WrOnG (2012-ongoing), which the artists launched at the 7th Liverpool Biennial. The Partial Declaration of Human Wrongs has also appeared as a monumental outdoor corner-poster, as wall paintings and is existing as a special edition of prints.
The discussion of migrations in the western European public sphere seems to have reached a peak since the beginning of the 'refugee crisis' in 2015. In response a growing number of artists and curators have been using their works to express concern regarding the current situation over the past years.1) Within this contex