In good times and in bad. How to operate. Chiharu Chiota – Pilar Millan. Museum für Neue Kunst. Freiburg, Germany. From 14th October 2017 to 8th April 2018
Curators: Elena Frickmann y Christine Litz.
Museum für Neue Kunst. Freiburg
Curators’ presentation text (excerpt)
How can art endure, age, change? How can the museum create and cultivate relationships with artists, as well as with private and public partners? Indeed, how can it use and enrich the history of its own collection? How can the collection be developed and extended in future? Both in good times and in bad?
A new special exhibition will address these questions, focussing in particular on one influential feature of the museum as a public site: it undertakes a responsibility over a long period, promoting discourse and fostering connections and relationships. Five artists from the contemporary collection: Monika Baer, Katharina Grosse, Svenja Kreh, Chiharu Shiota and Georg Winter, were asked for suggestions regarding which artist or which work they consider to a be fitting counterpart for their work.
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Pilar Millán answers to the curators about Chiharu Shiota’s invitation as her counterpart for her work Waiting 2012:
I found this concept in the curatorial proposal itself: bring things to light again or bring them to re-birth from the ashes like the mythic bird. The ashes from the seats burnt by Shiota.
In the Textum project (2008 – 2015) I recorded the images and voices of weavers from different cultures and languages: the loom as the symbol for communication. In the images of the films shot and the materials used for weaving, ash is always present since it is used to whiten the threads. Clarify, illuminate, lighten. From the black thread of Shiota to the white thread I filmed in southern Mali.
Bring to light and also to come to light, appears in the insight of Die Lichtung (the clearing, an open space in a forest)as a site or state of openness, as the only way to get insight. Though looking at my pieces, as selected by the curator, it’s plain to see that I prefer Maria Zambrano’s idea of Claro (clearing) as a place for listening more than a place for vision. Or maybe: the perfect space for a dialogue to start. So dearly needed these days.
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Politicizations Of Discontent. Arts Santa Mònica, Barcelona. October-November 2017
Arts Santa Mònica, Barcelona
Politicizations Of Discontent stems from a desire to examine in depth other ways of managing discontent via creative processes, shaping an itinerary structured around various experiences that define discontent in terms of its collective, political dimension, returning to society what society itself makes invisible. In today’s society discontent is mainly treated through psychiatry and behaviourist psychology, which encourage medical solutions to unease and favour passive treatment.
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In the face of this progressive alienation, imposed by hegemonic institutions, art can provide an effective route for seeking other ways to relate to unease, for playing an active, responsible role regarding our own condition.
These creative processes for managing discontent, applied individually and collectively, politically and through participation, show how art becomes a tool for channelling conflict. The relationship between the personal and the public, inked to the concept of “The personal is political” and the “ethics of care”, connects to the creation of “other ways” of managing and politicising unease through creative work, thus fostering critical thought.
This collection provides an approach to different projects and activities that have already been carried out by artists Francesc Abad, Nora Ancarola / Marga Ximénez, Pep Dardanyà, Domènec, Núria Güell, José Maria Martín, Pilar Millán, Matilde Obradors, Carlos Pina, Maria Ruido and Eulàlia Valldosera, with a view to highlighting and sharing the management of unease and vulnerability from various angles, in all of which the process, commitment and an element of cooperation are essential.
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TEXTUM  Grazalema | Cádiz 2010-2015  Neilson Gallery (Grazalema) Sala Rivadavia (Cádiz)
Curator: Alicia Chillida
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Su peso en oro (its weight in gold) 2015
bronze scales for weighing threads from 1837 from the old Barcelona customs and
Saharawian melhfa thread 
20 x 21 x 10 cm

 
Wo-man. Moon weaver, is a multidisciplinary artistic journey in which Pilar Millán proposes to arrive at the word through the back door: unravelling the narrative thread in the form of myths, to return to the essential: communication.
Appealing to the capacity for synthesis of the African forms, the Andalusian artist submerges into an exercise of abstraction of the word to regain confidence in language. Since Textum (2013), Millán recovered the element of the loom as symbolic axis for her series (to weave in Latin: texō), learning to intertwine etymological meanings, actions and oral tradition from several cultures, while exploring concepts of female individuality, the self and the community.
In this synthetic exercise of formal refinement, we access language through rhythm, movement, the kinetic and the loom. “One of the most interesting Animists myths from the African Sahel tells the story of how humans lacked words. To compensate this, the god of water decides one day to give them the word through the loom – a tool chosen by the gods. The weaver enters the words between warp and weft. Sentences are then, formed. The cloth is knitted. When wearing that cloth, man acquires language.
At the centre of the myth lies the principle of woman as “maker” – a symbolic matrix where the creative word takes root (the narrator being masculine); and from the (sexual) act of oral transmission language is engendered: the instrument of human communication. The voice. “As the genie recited, his words started filling the interstices of the cloth. They were knitted between the yarns and formed a whole with the beam. They were the same cloth and the cloth was the verb.
The artist continues to knit symbolic images in the present project, recovering the etymology of the English word “women” (from Ancient Sanskrit origin). A compound formed by “man”, which means moon, and the root “wo”, meaning wife. The Old English word for “wife” is derived from “weef”, meaning “maker” or “weaver”. Again we are confronted here with the archetype of the mother creator, the maker, whereas the fabric stands as a metaphor for understanding the relationship between the everyday and the sacred. Wo-man: moon weaver. The weaver, who teaches and conveys the language. The sacred feminine, weaving yearns into the continuum fabric of time, holding the world in it – the verge of that, which can be said, expressed, remembered (“the structure of narration protects us”).
Constructing and deconstructing myths, in the several works on display (Retorno, 2013, Vox Populi, 2015), the hands of Penelope knit and unravel, make and undo time inside a circular score weaving memories of  the artist herself, in an odyssey passing through many Ithacas (Galicia – Catalunya – Mali – Algeria – Sáhara – Cádiz). The weaves, the yarns, the sands.
This travel of symbolic intermittences is loaded with ambivalent elements (just like the swinging of the loom), where the voice, represented through sound, and rhythm, represented by the moving image in the video, is conjured up and contained at times, muffled by tridimensional elements absorbing it, together with changes in the light: revealing or concealing it.
The repetition of these rhythmic elements constitutes the foundation for a political-conceptual framework inside Millán’s oeuvre, underpinning an affirmation of the voice of women who narrate (or weave) from the edges of neglect and marginalisation.
In Melhfa (2015), 210 wood pellets padded with Saharan cloth present a canvas-like composition which refers to minimalism’ nostalgia for the body, here featured as omitted subject of a sentence, together with an exercise of formal refinement.
But what does the silent loom of Pilar Millán want to tell us?
One; two; one, two; one, two; one, two; one, two; one, two. The loom’s axis twirls, counting, singing: a kinetic soliloquy progressing, rewinding, turning, returning, knitting, unravelling, writing, erasing, doing, undoing, joining, isolating, speaking, silencing, remembering and forgetting. Like The Waves of Virgina Woolf: a stream of consciousness by six voices, a prose poem, a rhythmic atmosphere where each character is different but together they compose an image on the basis of a core silent consciousness.  Bernard, Susan, Rhoda, Neville, Jinny and Louis. The waves, the yarns, the sands, the weavers, the words and the voices.
WWW (Women, Weavers and Waves) (fragment)                                                               Paz Ponce Pérez-Bustamante 2015
http://www.dipucadiz.es/cultura/exposiciones/WO-MAN-de-Pilar-Milln
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Melhfa (201 velos) 2015
textile wrapped wooden pieces, antiquary objects and video
201 pieces of solid wood, 10 x 5 x 2 cm each, white primer and Saharawian melhfa fabric
variable dimensions
 
 
 

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Nó-madas (La haima de Muyeb) 2014-2015
Video in wooden box
digital looped video recorded in the Saharawian Refugee Camps in Tinduf, Algeria,
 7” tablet
original wooden box from 1837 for scales for weighing threads
14 x 46 x 11 cm
 
 
 

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Silencis-Dona, 20102015
digital video 1: interviews with the weavers 
digital video 2: semiautomatic loom
21 insulating polyurethane foam pieces 
each foam piece 20 x 20 x 70 cm 
variable dimensions
 
 
 

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Silencis-Ciutat I-IX, 2013
digital color photography
limited edition of six copies
variable dimensions
 
Silence Wor(l)ds, 2013-2015
object with optical glass from moon telescope and digital print
3 x 16 cm diameter 
 
 
 

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Wo-man (tejedora de la luna) 2015
series of eight drawings
graphite and charcoal on hand made paper
21 cm diameter each 
aluminum box with glass cover containing, fabric, hank of linen and tablet with looped video of a catalan textile colony worker  
30 x 30 cm
 
 
 
 

Cuadernos de viaje

El cuaderno de viaje, 2010-2015
looped digital video of the four chapters of the project 
four notebooks of the respective chapters hand sewn, recycled paper and waxed thread, digital photographs by the artist and documentary b/w photographs in the catalonian chapter (source: Museu de les Mines de Cercs).
27.5 x 18 cm each
 

nº1 Galicia 2010


nº2 Andalucía 2010


nº3 Mali 2010


nº4 Cataluña 2011

Centro de Eventos Feria Valencia. Valencia. V ENCUENTRO ESPAÑA-AFRICA Mujeres por un mundo mejor   Centro de Eventos Feria Valencia. Valencia. V ENCUENTRO ESPAÑA-AFRICA Mujeres por un mundo mejor   Centro de Eventos Feria Valencia. Valencia. V ENCUENTRO ESPAÑA-AFRICA Mujeres por un mundo mejor  
  Sala Convento Santa Inés. Sevilla. Les Éléments, 2009. Videoinstalación de tres canales, tres pantallas de 2 x 3 m., dispuestas horizontalmente, sonido estéreo, 2’11’’   Sala Convento Santa Inés. Sevilla, 2009. Canaris des eaux I – XVI, 2009.   Sala Convento Santa Inés. Sevilla, 2009. Femmes des sables I – V, 2008.   Sala Convento Santa Inés. Sevilla, 2009. Femmes du feu, 2009. Estudios previos I – XXIV.   Sala Convento Santa Inés. Sevilla. Le Canari (la Vasija) 2009.
  Museo Provincial de Cádiz. Cádiz. La espera. 2006 tinta s/papel. Estructura iluminada, base de barro 148 cm. x 15 cm. de diámetro   Museo Provincial de Cádiz. Cádiz. Figuras de luz. 2006-07 Instalación de 14 piezas tinta s/papel. Estructura iluminada, 160 cm. x 25 cm. de diámetro cada pieza, 1 base de arena roja 1500 cm. x 100 cm.
  Galería Giart. Gerona. Triptico 2005 3 piezas de 1.20m. x 0.80m Tinta y Collage de papel teñido a mano sobre papel japonés.   Galería Giart. Gerona. Vista de la Galería Giart Planta baja.