From 25 November to 5 March! The Galería Ana Serratosa opens to the public the triple project by the artist Ghada Amer (Cairo 1963 Egypt), created in collaboration with the Kewenig Gallery in Berlin. The garden sculpture “THIS WILL SAVE US” is the first major event of the city of Valencia as ‘European Green Capital 2024’ and has been produced entirely in Valencia by the Ana Serratosa Gallery, from the letter-shaped pots in Corten steel to the design, management and choice of vegetables and the representative cereal of the Valencian Community: Rice. All for the installation located in the gardens of the River Turia, between the Palace of the Arts and the Science Museum, an extension of the other two exhibitions that can be seen in the two spaces that the Ana Serratosa Gallery has in Valencia.
The title of Ghada Amer’s intervention is a declaration of intentions. In effect, “THIS WILL SAVE US” promises encouragement, although it also denotes a critique that cannot be mere posturing, but rather a structuring element of a work that is rooted in society. This piece belongs to the series of garden-sculptures that Rosa Martínez exhibited at the Venice Biennale in 2005, with the particularity of turning, for the first time, the piece into a vegetable garden where real plants grow (triple red lollo, green lollo, red cabbage, green kale, fennel, red chicory, beetroot, green oak leaf, black Tuscan kale, red oak leaf, smooth cabbage, red kohlrabi, curly cabbage and rice), describing a chromatic path designed to present striking contrasts.
All the vegetables have been planted in the Cajamar experience centre in Paiporta and will be transferred to large reusable pots, ensuring that no leftovers are generated and that the environmental impact is kept to a minimum. The main objective is to raise awareness in order to generate a change of mentality about nature. It is therefore a political action that aims to become a collective exercise, from which to involve citizens in other practices that are more respectful of the environment. And it is approached without resorting to the usual documentary approach, often given over to fear and the literal message. In this way, a new place of authority is constructed where the importance of the work as an element of communication is emphasised.
In the second space in the Ana Serratosa gallery in Pascual y Genís, 19, the work links up with another of Ghada Amer’s most famous currents, those linked to a look at women’s rights through the female body. It was in 1999 that her style and message were internationally recognised, as an exploration and defence of femininity, with her presence at the Venice Biennale, curated by Harald Szeemann, where she also received the UNESCO prize. She currently lives and works between New York and Paris. She has exhibited, among other places, at the Venice Biennale, the Biennale of Sydney, the Whitney Biennial and the Brooklyn Museum.
She maintains this discourse to this day, mainly in ceramics, where femininity and eroticism provoke intense reactions, as can now be experienced in the Ana Serratosa gallery. The impact and sensuality of these images comes from this desire to “liberate them thanks to their power of seduction”, but it is also due to experimentation in ceramics, which has allowed her to discover chromatic ranges unknown until then.
Amer is also exhibiting two new works in the same space, which apparently look like stylised QR codes or labyrinths that contain a message. They were made in Cairo using an Egyptian technique used for centuries by tentmakers, a craft that is now showing its last vestiges.
Finally, the third space is located in the shop window of a historic building at Carrer Cabillers 5, which is brimming with art on all sides as it has been intervened by eight artists inside. On this occasion, Ghada Amer’s piece will assault passers-by from a large window overlooking the street and will be on view from 10 a.m. to 12 midnight. “100 words of love” is the suggestive title of the striking sculpture.
Valencia is part of an ambitious project where Ghada Amer’s work, from 25 November 2023, will be shown simultaneously in three places around the world, New York, London and Valencia in their respective galleries: Tina Kim Gallery and Boesky Gallery in New York, Mariam Goodman, in London and Galería Ana Serratosa in Valencia in collaboration with Galería Kewenig.
The Ana Serratosa Gallery opened its doors in an attic in C/ Pascual y Genís in 2000. With a careful selection of national and international artists and works, the gallery shows us in a pedagogical way how to coexist with art and, in turn, how art coexists with us. Some of the most representative artists of the Ana Serratosa Gallery are: Bernardí Roig, Venske & Spänle, Marco Veronese, Javier Riera, Shirin Salehi, Bob Verschueren, etc….
Since 2012, some of the artists represented by the gallery have presented large-scale projects in the gardens of the River Turia. From “Alameda Llum 2012” by Javier Riera with light projections on the vegetation of the river to “Eclosión en Valencia 2014” by the artists Vesnke & Spänle with organic sculptures that invaded the most emblematic spaces of the city to “Ecos de la Memoria 2016” by the artists Bob Verschueren and Dominique Sintobin with plant compositions that accompanied us along the riverbed while they spoke to us about the historical memory of the river.
With the project “THIS WILL SAVE US” by Ghada Amer, the Ana Serratosa Gallery once again takes art to the street, to an open space that is easy to access for all passers-by and on this occasion with the project designed for Valencia. Quite a challenge and not without its difficulties.
This triple exhibition will have a catalogue that will include the entire project and which has been directed by the curators Pedro Medina and Viviana Kuri. It has also been made possible thanks to the support of Valencia City Council, the CAJAMAR Cooperative Group, Arroz de Valencia. Denominación de Origen, GIMETAL, Grupo El Alto, Muñoz-Bosch, AINIA, Restaurante Contrapunto, Consejería de Turismo Comunidad Valenciana, Dicoval, Gustavo Marina Paisajistas, Angel Olleros Consultora de Seguridad and Coca-Cola Royal Bliss.
Report by ‘24/7 Valencia’ team
Article copyright 24/7 Valencia