The Mediterranean – etymologically speaking “mare midi terra”, the sea in the middle of the land – is presented as an apparently closed basin which actually opens up to the west through the strait of Gibraltar. A place that has always been at a crossroads of cultures – Mesopotamian, Carthaginian, Berber, Semitic, Persian, Phoenician, Greek and Roman – and a cradle of religions – Jewish, Christian and Islamic. This sea was and is the economic and cultural birthplace of incipient nations, favoured by the maritime exchanges that enabled supremacy of the so-called Western civilisation. Regions of diversity that question the idea of frontier, transforming the models of identity and of the political figures which emerged from revolutionary events.
The goal of“La Mer au Milieu des Terres // Mare Medi Terraneum” – exhibition curated by Cécile Bourne-Farrell - is to reveal the real, critical view certain artists have of a space that is not only that of Shengen or the Euro, but the habitat of all the civilisations in the world gathered together in the shared waters of the Mediterranean. So far and yet so near, current affairs overtake the present; what art tries to propose is a certain essential distance in the epicentre of that which has connected men to the earth and the sea, above or below the water level, for millennia.
Not a day goes by without allusion to the Mediterranean as a drama, and not as a participative space of culture. Braudel’s Mediterranean is remote, his wonderful descriptions of landscapes have become tourist destinations and Palma de Mallorca is no exception. Because of its location and condition as an island, Mallorca lies at the heart of this western and eastern sea access which gives rise equally to attraction and rejection towards an increasingly protectionist contemporary Europe. The goal of this curatorial project is not to illustrate the Mediterranean, but to offer up a different perspective on these ancient regions, proposing that we act as potential agents of certain practices and situations of the Mediterranean. This tangle of practices and situations are those that favour reasoned observation, knowledge and negotiation, which continue to be the essential driving force for meetings of worlds ignorant of each other and which are revealed in these waters and on the coast. The artists selected and their works approach this proposal from different stances: Ali Cherri, Marcel Dinahet, Lara Fluxà, Chourouk Hriech, Bouchra Khalili, Yazan Khalili, Farah Khelil, Ange Leccia, Rogelio López Cuenca, Geoffroy Mathieu & Bertrand Stofleth, Antoni Muntadas, Hervé Paraponaris, Marco Poloni, Zineb Sedira, Oriol Vilanova, Yorgos Zois.