5 Cultural Suggestions — Miguel von Hafe Pérez
Every week, UMBIGO invites a person to share their 5 cultural suggestions. What can we do at home? From a book to a podcast, album or film: here are recommendations from artists, curators, gallery owners, cultural activists, friends.
We will share the recipe for what makes us better, and we remain united and positive.
Miguel von Hafe Pérez
During the confinement, I base myself on my surroundings to share the suggestions that were asked of me. I’m going against the general tendency to mention digitally diffused programs. Yes, I’m getting old-fashioned, but for better or worse, the small scratches on vinyl records and the fingered pages of books still thrill me. And we’re all a bit fed up with work meetings and compulsive leisure in front of screens, aren’t we?
First, the musical suggestion: the 1968 Delay record by Can. An album released only in 1981, but which could have been the band’s first if any label had dared to release it. Recorded between 1968 and 1969, it materializes an experimentalism that was decisive for contemporary music.
Speaking of decisive authors, and as I’m compulsively attracted to books with artists’ writings, I mention two fundamental elements to understand 20th-century art: Marcel Duchamp and Richard Hamilton. Without the second, we would not be able to understand the first. In the compiled correspondence entitled Affectionately, Marcel, we read the darkest thoughts and the banalest request for monetary loans or difficult collections. The life of a genius is obviously also related to these banalities. Richard Hamilton’s Collected Words exudes intelligence: in addition to being a pivotal artist, he created the seminal exhibitions Man, Machine and Motion of 1955 and This Is Tomorrow of 1956, among others.
Different from the artist’s books, we have the artist’s books, which I also cherish. I have the privilege of having, together with Marta, the almost complete collection of books published by Maria Nordman. With her, publishing is a natural and irreplaceable extension of the sculptural exercise. An artist with undeserved visibility disproportionate to her importance in the history of art of the last fifty years, sometimes her projects of public art can take more than ten years to materialize (hence the generalized resistance on the part of institutions to work with someone with such a strong demand and commitment to her work and how it should be articulated with the audience). An artist that I recommend to all who like art, because they should discover her in greater depth. Her interpersonal proposals and the construction of new cities/communities with a primordial relationship with nature should be paradigms of possible and necessary utopias.
Finally, a fundamental guide to the work of Mark Manders, his Reference Book, published by Roma Publications, which he co-founded. An artist who has always been surprising and unique, whom I had the privilege of exhibiting at the CGAC in Santiago de Compostela, when I was director, in a beautiful and disconcerting exhibition curated by Javier Hontoria. An artist I hope to show in a comprehensive exhibition in Portugal!