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DANI MONTLLEÓ AND THE MEANING OF ANTI-IDENTITY - David G. Torres

In a photograph of The Who, Pete Townshend appears with an adolescent look posing in a safari-coloured shirt that harks back to the military (both the shoulder flaps and the colour) and is full of logos and medals. In another photograph taken sometime later, though now in black and white, Keith Moon, the drummer of The Who, poses among Lambretta scooters wearing a turtleneck jersey on which appear in writing the letters POW. POW are the initials used to designate and identify prisoners of war. The strategy of The Who was the underlying strategy that was used years later by London’s first punks with a mixture of logos, medals or signs that would range from the A within a circle representing anarchism to the swastika. Thus the aim was to dismantle all the signs by taking them out of context, used very skilfully by the highly situationist techniques of detournement and very Dada.

 

All these are references (clear in the case of the photographs of The Who) in a small work by Dani Montlleó ideal for us to consider issues regarding identity: Otto-Bloch “Townshend’s shirt” (now it’s clear what we meant about the photograph). This piece by Dani Montlleó is a small doll measuring fifteen centimetres in height which he has produced for Arts Coming. Apart from not having a head (which turns it into a kind of prototype or uniform) it is worth noting in what would be the torso, shoulder and arms, that it is full of logos and signs. It is hyper-labelled. With one peculiarity, most of the labels have been used by various regimes to designate several kinds of people excluded, locked up, marked and socially marginalised: Jewish woman corrupting the race, delinquent Gypsy, politically dangerous and recidivist Pole, homosexual Jew, republican Spaniard and over fifteen other logos.

 

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“Townshend’s shirt” refers to “the super-discriminated”, which contains all the repudiated identities, the identities made up by One and The Same and relegated to the margins. Identity, that which clearly distinguishes between the same and the other. The otherness that remains marginalised, which does not want to be represented but is represented and marginalised.

The work by Dani Montlleó denounces difference, whose current place in our days in which new ways push toward uniformity is disturbing.

 

Posted in A-desk on September 14, 2013

 

 

Doppelgänger Goldfinger (Architect and villain) Dani Montlleó

 

Gathering Objects or Preserving Knowledge? David G. Torres

 

The market has a profound effect on collecting. In the art world everybody makes lists, and the names always coincide. These lists satisfy people because there are no disagreements, but we might ask what has happened meanwhile to criteria and debate. Promoting knowledge and debate is supposed to be the basic purpose of critique.
The great majority of art critics and curators define their professional profile precisely as art critics and exhibition curators. I do the same. This is a convention. But a convention marred by multiple contradictions. There seems to be a general consensus that when one works as curator to an institution one has to give up critiquing exhibitions. It is as though being a curator one has to conceal the real criteria according to which certain things are valued and others rejected. This hints at the constant suspicion that the critic/curator is acting out of interests that are not always related to criteria, valuation, discourse or research…

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