Notes On Hospitality
Hospitality and hostility are more related than it may at first appear. The first one finds its etymological root in the Latin word hospes, the second one in the word hostis, which designates the stranger, the foreigner, the unknown. Considering the drift of meaning that has distanced these two words so much, it is hard to think that hospitality would require a relationship between hospes and hostis, an openness to the other. How can there be true hospitality without this openness?
In the exhibitions we are hosting this summer at L21 we have aimed to open the doors of the gallery to others, an idea that has taken shape in collaborations with other galleries and in the group exhibition “Guest Room”. Galería Alegría features the work of Enrico Della Torre and Matthew Musgrave in “Cuanto más primo, más me arrimo” while Bombon Projects has developed a project with Diane Guyot and Pere Llobera titled “Blown-up”.
“Guest Room” brings together the work by Dasha Shishkin, Valerie Krause, Ian Waelder, Erika Hock, Stevie Dix, Alejandro Leonhardt, Moritz Karweick, Erris Huigens (Deconstructie), Richie Culver, Jenny Brosinski, Szabolcs Bozó, Joe Cheetham, Vítor Mejuto and Eleonora Agostini. The show takes place on 1st Floor, an exhibition space that distances itself from the characteristics of the white cube to move towards the domestic space, one in which the artworks must do without the context’s neutrality, a place in which one can become a guest and gather with others. The intensity of this shift of meaning in domestic spaces does not escape Kirsty Bel when she writes:
A lived-in house is animated by assorted daylight practicalities: the tasks and furnishings associated with eating, cleaning, and sleeping; revolving arrangements of domestic clutter; the coming and goings of friends, lovers, children, and relatives; or the intricate rituals of the solitary dweller. (…) the shift of focus and scale that the domestic interior affords lets the personal, the intimate, or the peripheral become the locus of meaning, rather than exterior events or public occurrences. 1
The events outside this guest room continue to place hostility above hospitality, from the closing of borders to the distrust of all those who are strangers to us, not to mention the cautious and ubiquitous distance in every social encounter. So that coming and going of friends, lovers and relatives that brings every home to life is a flow that slows down or stops completely. Guest rooms remain empty while the dust accumulates on their surfaces… The artists participating in this exhibition have been to Mallorca in the last year or were supposed to be in the coming months. In this exhibition they become our guests and with it we reactivate that flow, that coming and going of ideas and experiences, to gather at least symbolically in the same room. And so, we do not completely forget the practice of hospitality.
Esmeralda Gómez Galera
1 Bel, Kirsty. The Artist’s House: From Workplace to Artwork. Stenberg Press: Berlin. 2013. 7-8.