In his 1924 short story “Josephine the Singer, or the Mouse Folk,” Franz Kafka proposes summoning an audience to attend the cracking of a nut, thus turning a trifling gesture into a collective artistic event. In a nod to this idea, Lúa Coderch’s exhibition “Cracking a Nut” offers a tribute to the attention that minor acts can command.
The exhibition is split among three floors. Curtains divide the first two exhibition rooms into different alcoves, creating an almost hospital-like setting for Coderch’s minimalist spectacles. In nearly all of these nooks, the artist crafts modest installations from pseudo-physiotherapeutic armature, which prop up videos, photography, sculptures, and sound pieces. For a few minutes each day, given the right weather conditions, The Rainbow Statement, 2022, ingeniously uses a prism to project a rainbow across an enlarged photograph of the artist’s son’s hand. For Seesaw-Bench, 2022, the hybrid furniture forces visitors to negotiate the movement with their companions as they watch the nearby Rehearsal for a Spell, 2020, a five-minute digital video exploring “ground zero” of the image. For Orientation Exercises, 2022, the artist engraved wooden sticks with descriptions of exercises that, like a musical score, demand concentration, attention, and connection with one’s body to perform.
In the space on the top floor, videos and sound pieces allude to the passing events of child-rearing, such as constructing a makeshift roof, pointing out what surrounds us, or retrieving an old Catalan lullaby from one’s memory. If Kafka intended to underline the extraordinary potential of gestures as small as cracking a nut, Coderch follows suit, revealing the therapeutic potential of mindfulness, activated from within the universe of care.
Translated from Spanish by Michele Faguet.
— Maria Iñigo Clavo