The Tabakalera exhibition "Cybernetics of the Poor: Tutorials, exercises and scores" among the 10 best in Europe in 2020 according to Frieze magazine | Tabakalera - Donostia / San Sebastián
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11-01-2021 11:00

The Tabakalera exhibition "Cybernetics of the Poor: Tutorials, exercises and scores" among the 10 best in Europe in 2020 according to Frieze magazine

The prestigious publication places the exhibition that took place in Tabakalera in 2020 alongside exhibitions from the Centre Pompidou in Paris and the Museum of Contemporary Art of Rome, MACRO, among others.

The Tabakalera exhibition Cybernetics of the Poor: tutorials, exercises and scores has been selected by the prestigious British magazine Frieze as one of the ten best contemporary art exhibitions in Europe in 2020. In the annual list produced by the leading contemporary art and culture magazine, Tabakalera joins nine other exhibitions organised by centres such as the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Rome, MACRO, and the German national centre for contemporary art, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, and is the only one from Spain included in the influential annual list.

The general director of Tabakalera, Edurne Ormazabal, emphasises the significance of being chosen by one of the most influential magazines in the field of contemporary art: “Frieze is the most renowned international publication in the sector and such recognition represents an important boost for the international positioning of Tabakalera as a centre for creation and exhibition in the field of contemporary art.”

The exhibition, curated by German cultural critic and curator Diedrich Diederichsen and by the head of Tabakalera’s contemporary art department, Oier Etxeberria, proposes an analysis of the various forms of connection that have historically occurred between cybernetics and art.

The magazine Frieze, founded in 1991, makes this selection in the context of a year unlike any other, which “if there was anything positive about it, it was that we were given the opportunity to rethink the status quo. It has led us to reassess our priorities and expand our knowledge in areas where we previously had blind spots. In many ways, 2020 has been a series of lessons to unlearn ignorance, something to which art can also contribute.”

The Cybernetics of the Poor exhibition, co-produced by Tabakalera and Kunsthalle Wien, opened on 6 March, a week before Tabakalera was to close its doors due to Covid 19, and was visited by 6,000 people between its reopening in June and the end of August. The exhibition uses the same name as the international seminar held in 2019 between the cities of Vienna and San Sebastian. And the exhibition project, which opened its doors at the Kunsthalle in Vienna on 18 December and can be visited until 28 March 2021, arose out of that collaboration. It is a collaboration which, in addition to creating the possibility of producing new artworks, has offered the chance for several Basque artists to exhibit their work in Vienna.

The exhibition, which examines the intersections of art and cybernetic systems, includes work by 24 local and international artists, and features pieces from private collections, galleries and museums such as the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía and the Musée d’art contemporain de Lyon and involved the participation of the Austrian Cultural Forum in Madrid and Flanders State of the Art.

The exhibition includes four newly-produced works which are a reaction to present day cybernetics and also works by artists from over the last fifty years which address and challenge the original idea of cybernetics. In their works, the artists use strategies that can be understood as a “cybernetics of the poor”. The spectator will find a variety of works that refer to music, pop culture, film, sculpture or even activism. The exhibition offers the opportunity to reflect on the complexity of today’s world and makes it possible for us to do so through the senses, not just based on an intellectual reading.

The founding objective of the magazine Frieze is the dissemination of contemporary artistic practices. Since 2003, it has also organised one of the largest contemporary art fairs in the world in London, with an edition in New York since 2012. The fair, which receives an average of 60,000 visitors each year, involves the participation of 150 galleries from around the world and exhibits and offers for sale works by more than 1,000 contemporary artists.


> Article in Frieze “Top 10 Shows in the EU of 2020”:


Photo credits: Mikel Eskauriaza-Tabakalera