Contrapose by Antonio Díaz Grande

12 Apr 2018 – 26 May 2018

Event times

From Tuesday to Saturday 12-14 h and 18-21 h

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Cantabria, Spain

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JosédelaFuente presents Contrapose, Antonio Diaz Grande's new exhibition at the gallery, an exploration of social behaviours, culturally modelled and choreographed since childhood.


Antonio Díaz Grande takes lightness to the politics of surface ascribed to the body. He delves into the performative dimension of gender by exploring the construction of the gaze on gesture based on an ironic study of how social behaviour is culturally modelled and choreographed since childhood.

The disciplinary regime hegemonic in the nineteenth century and part of the twentieth strived to regulate bodies through a rigid set of rules governing social behaviours, patterns and restrictions which resulted in legitimisation or exclusion in consonance with the binary lines of sexual difference. There was a need to control any spontaneous movement in such a way that apparently denaturalised gestures, expressions and attitudes invariably ended up being faked, acted, perhaps because the mise-en-scène of gender tends to generate the illusion of self.[1] Thus, by virtue of the dynamics of power, the body was prescribed, reinforcing its asymmetry in order to transform itself into a space for the production of ideology and into a repository of the symbolic social order, and into the ideal vehicle to propagate its norms and laws. Growing and socialising therefore involve adopting certain corporeal aesthetic impositions, following perfectly delimited patterns to build our identity with.

In this proposal, lightness is embodied through the pose, which, according to the dictionary, is a scarcely natural posture which by extension implies a certain affectation in the way of talking and behaving, hence its association with the feminine and particularly with the effeminate[2], that is, the delicate, the frivolous, and the superficial. On the contrary, the masculine pose lays down roles and stereotypes connected with power, with strength, in other words, with virility. The “male” is trained to eliminate any trace of femininity from his postures and movements given that the aesthetics of lightness is solely deemed legitimate for women. [...]

Text by Marta Mantecón

[1] Construed gestures “are performative in the sense that the essence or identity that they otherwise purport to express are fabrications manufactured and sustained through corporeal signs and other discursive means”, cf. Judith Butler: Gender Trouble. Routledge, New York, 1999. p. 173.

[2] The first Spanish dictionary by Sebastián de Covarrubias, published in the early seventeenth century, defined the effeminate man as delicate and of a “womanly condition.” It was later when the “macaroni” and the phenomenon of dandyism arrived, with their calculated manners and poses and the exquisite care of appearance, elegance and distinction. Little by little the adjectives grew in number (mariquita, petimetre, barbilindo, currutaco, fifiriche, pisaverde...), but for a man it was as socially wrong to adopt a feminine pose as for women to take on a masculine appearance.

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Antonio Díaz Grande


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