Autumn, Summer, Winter
That history repeats itself seems for many to be a constant feature in the development of humanity. This idea of the eternal return, which has been revised and updated so many times since antiquity, takes the cyclic and timeless as the basis for the understanding of the different stages that society has passed through, is passing through and will pass through, and, with certain nuances and charged with a powerful conceptual density, has become converted here into a basso continuo accompanying this project from Miguel Aguirre.
Autumn, Summer, Winter, the title of the series, provides an unusual -and enriching- key for reading what has come to be known as the Arab spring, in which social networks and new technologies have played a vital role and which has contributed to reviving the debate about oligarchic systems of power as well as the relations between Middle East and the West or religion and laicism.
Owing to the powerful modernity of these events and their complexity when it comes to being analysed with a certain critical objectivity through images captured by the mass media and their own protagonists, Aguirre picks up this idea of the cyclic, and proposes three cinematic works that relate events that have taken place in Arab countries at different historical moments. With his painting he reproduces some of their scenes, extrapolating them from their context (filmic and historical) and offers them as a metaphor for the current revolts, as a text to be signify again by the viewer in a universal way, far from the historical and subjective positioning of the director who, paradoxically moreover, in each film has a nationality that is not Arabic, and very often far from their original physical space as well, with Uzbekistan or France being the settings for the filming and not always the Middle East. The films which he works with are: The Battle of Algiers by Gillo Pontecorvo (1966), Pharaoh by Jerzy Kawalerowicz (1966) and I saw Ben Barka get killed by Le Péron and Saïd Smihi (2005).
There is another point to emphasise: the importance which Aguirre grants not just to the scenes that were shot but also the making-of, to the recording team, to that group of people who are located the other side of the action and who formalise its reality, and who, through the camera, the lenses, are capable of recreating a defined historic moment. Directors, assistants and technicians show themselves in various canvases as being the alter ego of ourselves -the audience- and of the actual testimonies which with their mobile devices -and not just those- leave a trace of what is happening in these societies.
Autumn, Summer, Winter is an emphatic project in which Aguirre returns to his continuous games of perception, in which he makes what is represented lose its primitive origin of truthfulness in order to become converted into itself and via the copy and the simulacrum into an autonomous reality, ready to be analysed and connected with and from the present. It also highlights his personal vision and recovery of the genre of the history painting, in which subservience to the commission and to heroics which that style of painting was accustomed to its days of glory, in the hands of Miguel Aguirre gives way to a critical and pitiless vision of what is occurring, a non-idealised manifestation open to the explanation of key moments of humanity.
Madrid, October 2011