Laveronica Arte Contemporanea presents Dora García: Letters of Disappointment from December 30, 2022 to March 25, 2023.
An exhibition debuting at the end of the year must inevitably have a transitional element. This is true of this one, titled Letters of Disappointment.
It is a presentation that includes preparation or research studies for larger or collaborative works, as well as some recurring “reading” styles like I Read It with Golden Fingers or Annotated Books.
Letters of Disappointment condenses three years of reading texts on disappointment written by notable historical authors such as Rosa Luxemburg, Alexandra Kollontai, Audre Lorde, Clara Zetkin, and Angela Davis. Disappointment is the Lot of Women, an 1855 speech by US feminist Lucy Stone, begins, “From the first years to which my memory goes, I have been a disappointed woman.” However, the emotions expressed in these works are not bitter or defeatist. Over the last three years, I’ve realized that all revolutions have been launched by women, and in all of these revolutions, “the woman question” has been postponed on the route to victory. Disappointment caused by these historical snubs fuels the feminist struggle today. This collection of letters is presented as handwritten notes made in books that link to the letters in various ways, similar to how love letters are frequently preserved between the covers.
A preliminary investigation is represented by 18 original drawings. They are the initial study for The Bug, a collaborative work-in-progress that will be shown three times in 2022. The Bug is a collective performative elaboration of Vladimir Mayakovsky’s theatre play The Bedbug (1929), written a few months before his suicide, after being disappointed in love and revolution. This is the text describing the work for its last iteration in Madrid: “The time-travel storyline of The Bedbug was already popular in the science-fiction craze of the ’20s, and multiple works of fiction have used it ever since: a visitor from the past arrives in a future that is our present. In Mayakovsky’s work, a (dubious) Soviet revolutionary is frozen by accident together with his insect parasite in 1929, and both are brought back to life 50 years later, in 1979. […] in our own version, The Bug, we imagine a collective author who analyses questions such as: ‘What happens in 50 years?’ ‘Who evaluates and values the importance of countless events?’ ‘How are these events told?’ ‘With what words?’ ‘Who writes and who reads?’ ‘Who speaks and who listens?’ Imagine that history repeats itself cyclically. In this eternal return there is a recurring fault, a parasite, an insect, something that prevents the repetition from flowing without casualties.”
Amor Rojo soundtrack, to be listened to in the dark, is presented as a sound installation, which could be regarded a third aspect of study. It is based on a song written by Friedrich Hollaender in 1930 and performed by Marlene Dietrich. This song is central to the work-in-progress film Amor Rojo (2018-23), which establishes links between early twentieth-century Marxist feminisms and the contemporary “fourth wave” of feminism. This song’s lyrics may shed some light on Letters of Disappointment:
“No one had asked us, when we were still faceless whether we’d like to live, or rather not. Now I’m wandering around alone in a large city, and I don’t know if she cares for me. I’m looking into living rooms through doors and windows, and I’m waiting and waiting for something. If I could wish for something I’d feel awkward What should I wish for, a bad or a good time? If I could wish for something I’d want to be only a bit happy because if I were too happy I’d long for being sad.”
Finally, the show includes a new piece from Antonio Gramsci’s series Annotated Books: Letters from Prison, as well as two new works from Jean Genet’s series I Read It with Golden Fingers: The Thief’s Journal and The Workers Opposition by Alexandra Kollontai.