Speaking of Others: Inaki Garmendia

07.06.2006 — 02.07.2006

Opening: June 6, 2006, 7 pm

The Basque artist Iñaki Garmendia (1972) has, within the framework of “Speaking of Others”, presented two new video works at the Frankfurter Kunstverein, “Red Light / Straight Edge” (2005) and “Izarra” (2005). This year he was the receiver of the annual Visual Arts Prize, Gure Artea, which is awarded every two years by the Basque government.

Iñaki Garmendia explores the narrative possibilities of the ideological universe of subcultures. His videos are part of an ongoing process of investigating the theme of the way in which they are represented.The work “Red Light / Straight Edge” consists of a double projection where two persons are shown singing a capella versions of the songs Red Light by ‘Siouxsie and the Banshees’, a post-punk band from the early 1980s, and Straight Edge by ‘Minor Threat’, a hardcore band from the youth sub-culture ‘Straight Edge’. Both projections show the parallel shooting with the performers alone in an empty room, in which different ambiences are created through the use of harsh and direct lighting. The fact that the backing music is only heard very low and weakly, as the performers are listening to it on headphones, the rawness, the lack of instruments, and the atmosphere created in the videos, make the viewer focus attention on the lyrics and the expressions of the faces and bodies of the performers. The effect is near a subjective portrait, and the methodology is similar to the “up-tight” technique, a technique of deliberately making the person in front of the camera feel uneasy instead of relaxed.

The other work shown is entitled “Izarra” (Star). In a gloomy and mysterious atmosphere, the camera concentrates on the constructed action of a group of people who apparently perform an unknown ritual in the darkness, only lit by a flashlight. The narrative built up in the video has an enigmatic and abstract quality.

The works of Iñaki Garmendia have a documentary interest that is situated in their subject matter, which he works on through the staging and creation of specific atmospheres via using lightening and fragmented and almost abstract images. He uses an editing process that is based on the montage technique, very much like the one used in music videos. His body of work has the poetical qualities of a mix between the politics of style and ideological, political and artistic take on youth culture.

In connection with the exhibition, a discussion took place on Wednesday, June 7 with Iñaki Garmendia, the Basque curator Peio Aguirre and Chus Martínez.

“Speaking of Others” was a two-year project platform inviting international initiatives to the Frankfurter Kunstverein.