· The Concrete Realities. Espacio Marzana. Bilbao. España (2017)

Enrique Marty’s third exhibition in Marzana Gallery responds to a request by the gallery to present a new project in different formats to those commonly used by the artist. ‘The concrete realities’ investigates the concept of reality from the point of view of its own terminological abstraction. Reality has been described and explained from different points of view depending on the period and the author. However, these descriptions have proved generally unsatisfactory because of the apparent impossibility to define or delimit a term for which language is not a valid instrument.

From this point of departure, Marty proposes a reflection in which language — understanding language as any kind of codified communication — is excluded. Thus, visitors will be confronted with a disappearance game in a space where nothing is on show but their own reality, which will leaves them wondering what their role as individual is, and what defines them as such.

The viewer enters a nearly empty room. On the walls there are several QR codes that are the key or the switch that will allow access to the work, which is not in the same physical space as the viewer, but in the virtual space of Internet.

This intervention confronts the viewer with the fact of being in two places at the same time; on the one hand, the physical space of the gallery — a place where he has gone, with this ‘going’ being an action that involves time and effort. And on the other, the Internet, the virtual space where the work finds itself. This contradiction, the need to go to a space / art container, to have access to a digital work is one of the main points of interest for the artist as a matter of reflection. While commercial galleries and museums only offer in their websites some small samples of their shows, Enrique Marty has flipped the equation locating his work only on the Internet, somehow ‘wasting’ the physical space.

It is very common to find people who only look at the world through their smartphones. At the cinema, the theatre, exhibitions etc. there are people who are checking Twitter to know what others say of the film that he or she is watching at the moment, and, whenever friends meet up, we can see someone sending WhatsApp messages to others friends, ignoring those that are present.

The artist was shocked to see one photograph taken in the Rijksmuseum’s room that showcases the Night Watch, in which we can see a large group of teenagers absorbed in their smartphones, while none of them is looking at the painting. He considered it shocking since Internet can be consulted at any time and place, whereas the painting is located physically in a place to which we need to go to see it.

The work will remain alive during the entire period of the exhibition, growing in length and content and reproducing the visitor’s journey to get to the physical space of the gallery in a metaphorical way. By scanning each QR code, the visitor will be able to travel through a world that needs to be deciphered — a maze-like world that requires you to find out certain travelling patterns in order to be able to see the whole of it.