"This is not a love song" is an exchange of glances between the alienating industry of Rock'n'Roll and the pop era in the saturation of visual media.

The Virreina explores rock&roll and pop through photo and video.
Barcelona - JUN 05, 2013
This is not a love song reads the sign of the exhibition, and it is permissible for the viewer to ask, then, what is it? For starters, a recently opened exhibition at the Centro de la Imagen La Virreina the same week during which also took place in Barcelona two other events closely related to music and video art: the Primavera Sound and the LOOP Screen Festival; both co-producers of this installation open to the public until September 29, 2013.
The Virreina explores rock&roll and pop through photo and video.
Assume Vivid Astro Focus. Walking on Thin Ice, 2003.
The exhibition achieves a structure graphically differentiated in two sections: the first one - Pop and video creation - projects a journey through the history of experimental film and its confluence with pop art; while the second - Music for your eyes - exposes the origins of the music video during the 60s and the evolution experienced when visual stereotypes of the moment started to be deconstructed.

"The true stars - said Andy Warhol - are those that are able to do something you can not stop staring at for a second,even if it is only a movement inside your eyes." Warhol belonged to the first generation of artists who were educated under the influence of rock and therefore adopted iconographic motifs of the genre in their creations.
The Virreina explores rock&roll and pop through photo and video.
Candice Breitz, Babel Series, 1997-2004
Five screens enclosed in a room the footage of the components of the experimental rock band The Velvet Underground, such as Lou Reed, John Cale and Sterling Morrison. Their faces are retained during a few seconds without any sound in a project that Warhol would end up editing like Screen Test, A Diary, adding to the already existing, other personalities from the artistic circles. It is possible that the eyes of the extras pretend to, for a moment, pay attention to the camera that watches them. Their smiles are fleeting, at the same time that they aim, in a vague gesture, their hand to their lips to hide the discomfort or light a cigarette. In many cases, these brief portraits served as a backdrop during their performances. It was in the joint creation of the album covers that pop art and rock music were intertwined, influencing the subsequent fame that the group would acquire.

The Virreina explores rock&roll and pop through photo and video.
Charles Atlas, Hail the New Puritan, 1985
This kind of projects were contemporary to those that arose during the hippie movement in the 60s, and also picked to connect the music with the artistic scene. The first recordings of music festivals in New York by the Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, for example, reflect this aesthetic overloaded with sounds and colors synergy that probably tried to emulate the effects of the drug LSD, offering an escape route to the present reality. Moreover, artist the new yorker Jud Yalkut, tried to demystify media icons in his works such as The Beatles, distorting fragments of their songs and accompanying them with visual deformations, since they insinuated a first approach to psychedelic art. The group Largen & Bread also performed a job similar to Yalkut's, appropriating and disfiguring rock sequences, suggesting that the artist was no longer able to create from scratch but was sentenced to reprogram existing works, to manipulate their codes by making their secrets visible thanks to the feedback mechanisms that allowed the new technology.

Among the video installations that host the second section, we find Three Love Songs of Adel Abidin, in which three Western archetype singers interpret with melodious voices what at a first glance seem lyrical ballads. Since they are reproduced in Arabic, we do not know the meaning of the lyrics and it is not until we read the subtitles on the screen, that we understand the deception, because in reality they are odes to the previous leader of the Iraqi regime, Saddam Hussein. Perhaps this is one of the installations that more strongly suggests how easily information can be tampered with to stimulate the convergence a given message based on the interests of the one that employs it.

This is not a love song, although we are tempted to easily be seduced by the passionate interpretations and avoid the uncomfortable contrast of a reality that our senses, at first glance, may not be able to guess but do sense. 

Mar Schoenenberger

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