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ARCHIVO F.X: On Zero Economy 25.05/02.09.2012 A project by Pedro G. Romero


www.fxysudoble.comThis first activity of the project has a workshop character but, at the same time, is closer to the spirit of an experimental laboratory, mainly exploring a definition of economy that is related to the dominant conventions in a culture of money, that are the exchange of value, trade and work, in this instance in art. The brutal economic restructuring of our days, the famous crisis, only serves to highlight a critical, structural situation, that at some point had to be reconsidered.

We have invited several authors and actions that make up a wide topography of relations to the “Archivo FX” and to Pedro G. Romero and their work environments, as well as readings, focus of attention, collaborations and controversies. It is, in short, a set of communications, presentations, dialogues, round-tables and performances that operate, as the artist himself says, ‘between the question mark and the exclamation mark', exploring other possibilities for understanding and working a different sense of the art economy.

Exchanges Picasso's work, beyond their work style, is the focus of these early days of the seminar. It is facing criticism Picasso and some of its clichés. Picasso, Kahnweiler and the Great World War include agents of the economy founders of this art. It makes sense that his constant questioning is part of your own value chain. But can we learn from all these refutations?

Exchanges One consequence of the extent of this economic system from Picasso, oddly enough, is the loss of privilege of the artist that is not the only agent capable of artistic utterance. The device's expansion "art" is not only to increase the disciplines, but also because the actors and others are in a constant process of democratization. Thus, as we have a bureaucracy that administers the arts and in the opposite direction, new forms of authorship that escape. What new strengths teach us?

Exchanges If the artist survives in this economy of art it is due to his or her role as minter of new trinkets, goods of all types, distinctive imaginations for many forms of the same money and its circulation. Technological progress has done no more than duplicate this effect, highlighting it, and making it mere information. The outward appearance, in the old way of Picasso, seems to use simply a guarantee of copyright. However, only the systemisation of these two confronted fields, materialism and information, allows us to continue making headings and calling them art. Will it be true the saying that “Where danger threatens, that which saves us from it also grows”?


Partitions, the second laboratory in the project F.X. File: On Economy Zero, presents, in the form of various seminars, some of the divisions underlying the present distribution of the sensorial: thought and action, aesthetics and poetics, pedagogy and manufacture. In line with the theatrical model of the exhibition Economy: Picasso, the talks are divided into different areas, unregimented by any kind of hierarchy, but clearly indicating the nature of the discourse that each venue accommodates. The museum and various social and cultural spaces around the city are hosting a series of paired interventions concerned with the need for the democratisation of reproduction in the face of policies that police the cultural heritage, the indebtedness of the body as the socialisation of the worker and citizen, and the old debate between caritas and fides that revolves, today, around the opposition between communism and finance capitalism.


From 14 to 18 May and 28 to 31 May 2012.
Museu Picasso, Centre de Coneixement i Recerca del Museu (Knowledge and Research Centre). Plaça Sabartés, 1. 08003 Barcelona; and various social and cultural venues around the city.

Entrance free. Limited capacity. Price no charge.
For further information


Friendships, the third and last laboratory of the project Archivo F.X.: On Zero Economy, presents, by means of different mediations that are anchored in the Internet network, some exemplary accounts that, taking the myth of Pablo Picasso as an argument, proposes the reinterpretation of topics, nudes, and anchoring of the modern economy of art.

Following the radial model of the exhibition Economy: Picasso, the works have been published in different printed and digital media, and can be visited from distinct links included in this document. The starting point, History of new art in its details, by Juan José Lahuerta, was published, in a first version, in the second volume of Cultures of Archive, edited by Jorge Blasco.

Walter Benjamín was the first to give a political way out to collecting by means of the systematic practice of the gift, and also, the first to establish a simile between these two concepts, collecting and his women, with the accumulation of illustrated knowledge and the story, the tale, the narration. The correlation between knowledge and fiction should be understood in a cultural landscape of revaluing the culture of gift or talent, gifts and friendship.

The distinct mythologies created by Economy: Picasso is the leitmotif of a whole series of works around, and they are quoted in rigorous order of appearance, the following questions: the relations between Duchamp and Picasso as models of the new financial capitalism and the old materialist commerce; the ideological failures of the questioning of the communist Picasso based on a moral understanding of his lifestyle; the detailed analysis of the techniques of cubism in Picasso so as to know how to re-approach the relations between representation and reality and the new economy that this generates; the reconsideration of the writing of Picasso as something completely poetic of which the economic expression of his paintings would be no more than an appendix; the links between Picasso and libertarian activism, the vital paradoxes of this attitude but also the direct filiations with the anarchists and their different party machines; a hypothesis about the contradictory attitude of Picasso with Franco’s regime, and his resistance to assume some of its policies of national identity – flamenco, bulls and tourism, as a culture belonging to the Spain of Franco; the reappearance of old Mediterranean myths in the legend Picasso and his women and how here the genre critic emerges and their paradoxes in the political economy.

Friendships, is therefore presented as a way of extending the meanings and significances mixed together in Archivo F.X.: On Zero Economy, many of which being present in any of the itineraries of the exhibition Economy: Picasso. With the exhibition being conceived as a more inner project of the project, the function of Friendships also includes the determining of the reach of the expositive event, a kind of secret guide of what you can see, read or listen there, this being related to one more of the transits that can be reached in the project Archivo F.X.: On Zero Economy.

Friendships Nuria Enguita Mayo A misleading letter

I want to thank you for your collaboration in Concreta, I think the news about ALIAS will be a point of maximum interest in this first number. I am now writing to you about a different question. A friend from Barcelona who is doing a thesis about the “economies” of Marcel Duchamp – and who was especially interested, among other activities, in that of his facet of merchant/salesman of works of Brancusi-, has gained access, in the archive of Pierre Cabanne (donated after his death in 2007 to the public library of the locality in which he lived a great part of his life, Meudon), to the original materials of the book Conversing with Marcel Duchamp, that you had published in ALIAS and that I imagine will have a great repercussion as the Spanish version published by Anagrama is very difficult to find.

Friendships Carlota Gómez Qu’en pensez-vous, mademoiselle?

On many occasions reference has been made to the relation between Pablo Picasso and the Communist Party, through monographic texts, essays, exhibitions and others, using the less generalist and sensationalist terms, or even at times I would dare to say propagandist, that hardly had anything to do with the reality of what was underlying the ideological life of the artist. There are some who are inclined towards a politically aware positioning, and others that arrived through his friend Louis Aragon who presented him to the party as a trophy, like those taken to a dinner of idiots. There are others that moreover want to find perverse perspective to this Picassian anecdote, one more added to bulls, women, money, remembering the archives of the FBI of the cover of Lettres françaises of 1949, in which he toasted the health of the dictator Stalin.

Friendships Juan José Lahuerta History of the new art in its details.
Chapters II, III, IV, V and VI

We transcribe here and reproduce in facsimile a series of sheets, that written with tight handwriting, contain the confused text in which the author, without much success, tries to explain some of the problems of the cubism of Picasso commenting on a series of works from 1912-13, in what would be the outline of Chapter IV, and brief fragments of the chapters II, III, V, and VI of a “New history of art in its details”, the pretentious title of which there only remains this testimony. The works that this author tries to analyse, are illustrated with drawings and in other parts, some pieces of paper with notes in the same handwriting, accompanied by enrolled photographs that add self-critical and ironic comments.

Friendships Antonio Molina Flores Unpublished poem by Picasso

The text, that you can make the pertinent checks, we will shortly make fully known, begins with a game about the known verses of Mallarmé. But in this case, the “Throw of the dice” is a blow on the eyes, as if the look was active and throwing darts, not dice, on objects, naked lovers, and the utensils of the studio. There appear some words in Spanish such as “escarabajo pelotero”(in English, dung beetle), but all the text is in French. Its first addressee seems to be Juan Larrea, the poet from Navarro who had so much to do with the genesis of Guernica, because it is among the pages of a magazine that belonged to his archive, where the loose piece of paper was found. The pile of magazines of Larrea, along with other books and manuscripts, was acquired by Abelardo Linares, among the million books of the Eliseo Torres bookshop of New York. Now a text of Picasso has appeared, but we cannot discount the fact that others appear.

Friendships Antonio Orihuela Picasso anarchist

Question. -Oscar, How did it occur to you to write a book about Picasso? What can you say about him that we don’t already know?
Answer. –Well, to tell you the truth, Picasso sprung up in the middle of my thesis just two years ago. Then I was researching about the Modern School of Ferrer i Guardia, another personality of the 20th century about whom a lot has been written but we knew little about his professional circle, and this is where I unexpectedly bumped into Picasso.
Q. –Are you telling me Picasso was a friend of Ferrer?
A. –I couldn’t say what level of friendship there was between them. In reality I believe there was greater contact with Clemencia Jacquinet.
Q. –Who was this person?
A. –I’ll explain. When I started to carry out research about the Modern school and the circle of Ferrer, the figure of Clemencia Jaquinet particularly caught my eye. She seemed to me to be the most original character of all those who moved around the school. So I took advantage of a scholarship to investigate about her, first in the Departmental Archive of Paris, and afterwards in the Ministry of Education, where I found a document in the name of Clemencia Jaquinet in which it requested a sort of document proving the working life so as to be able to retire as a teacher due to a chronic illness. The document was dated 1925 and provided an address in Dijon in the French region of Burgundy.

Friendships Julián Rodriguez A trip incognito: Picasso in Spain
during Franco’s time. Jean-Luc Rendo.

In the middle of his research about the presence of Jean Cocteau in Spain, the young French essayist Jean-Luc Rendo found a series of documents about Franco’s Social-Political Brigade where it made reference to the meetings of Cocteau himself with some of the top positions of the regime, thanks to the mediation of two of his Spanish friends: the bullfighter Luis Miguel Dominguín and the film director and writer Edgar Neville. The aim of these meetings was to get the written authorisation so that Pablo Picasso, intimate friend of the writer, artist and French film director, and very close to Dominguín, would visit Spain. According to the research of Rendo, this safe-conduct was issued in the name of Pablo Ruiz, simply, three years after the death of Cocteau in 1963.

Friendships Susana Serrano Women and Picasso as a subgenre

The two passions of Pablo Picasso that dominated his life and were confused between them. He dominated art but not women. On the contrary he placed all his power and all his contempt on his three wives, girlfriends and lovers. All of them passed through the canvas, and then were destroyed in body and painting. Through the portraits of his women you can perceive what the state of the relationship was in that moment and what happened with his art and with his love. Paula Izquierdo, Spanish writer and doctor in psychology, recounts in her recent book “Picasso y las mujeres” (Picasso and women), published in Spain by Belacqua and that Seix Barral will publish this year in Argentina. The book is a journey through the biography of a man by means of his women, those that hated him, loved him, adored him, gave him children or slapped him…. Freddie (Terence Stamp) is a shy and introverted young man, who collects butterflies. In the street he observes a young girl, Miranda (Samantha Eggar), an art student, that he likes. He follows her every day in his car, studying her timetable, until one day he manages to abduct her without anyone noticing. He takes her to an isolated house in the country and locks her in a basement he has prepared for the purpose. Miranda, frightened and desperate, tries in vain to escape from her kidnapper, even managing to try and seduce him in the hope that in this way he will let her free...The author analyses the archetypal ways that Picasso dresses up as a woman. Based on the impossibility of assuming the image of the Mother he changes her work into the complementary archetype of the Prostitute. All this happens, figured how Celestina carries out the work of author so as to pass through all the forms and archetypes that psychologically represent what is female Jewish-Christian. It is in this way that he continually feeds his relation with what is feminine, biographical and poetic, with an increase in his particular way of becoming a woman.

Economy: Picasso

The question asked by the F.X.Archive can also be visualised, moved to a marginal place that corresponds to this economy of art, shifting its attention in front of other phenomenon and orders which are surely central. The invitation by the Picasso Museum of Barcelona turned out to be ideal to tackle these questions, as it allowed enormous efforts to be joined and the possibility of starting the exploration of one of the fundamental areas of this highly mentioned economic order. On the one hand, it was Picasso and the capital nature of his work in the extensive field of art of the 20th century, and on the other hand, the museum itself as an institution that brings together in its ownership the success of publicity, the public space and the model of a certain cultural regime.

The possibility of working with "Picasso", without doubt, the definitive gesture of the current art economy, of which Duchamp is his greatest glossator, and Russian productivism his counter figure, has allowed us to personify this experiment with original materials, exploring first-hand the way value functions, the distribution, and gift.

Presented in the Picasso Museum of Barcelona between the 25th May and the 2nd September 2012, the project Economy: Picasso doesn’t only offer a valuation of the works of Picasso, focusing on the contributions of Ángel González García, Rosalind E. Krauss and Georges Didi-Huberman, but also a whole series of eccentric visions that allow us, still, to continue speaking about what his effect signifies for the economy of art, based on the views of Orson Welles in F for Fake and of Guy Debord before the La sociedad del espectáculo (The ‘Spectacle’ Society) of Jusep Torres Campalans i d'H Bustos Domecq, of Luciano San Saor and of Marius de Zayas, of Felipe Aláiz and of many others. It is therefore a question of observing the continuities and discontinuities of the works of Picasso in the economy of art, taking a retrospective look, from today back to the beginning of the 20th century.

Economy: Picasso The New Canto

In January 1929 Lucía Sánchez Saornil was involved in her first public controversy concerning avant-garde art. The pages of the Heraldo de Madrid newspaper reproduced her war of words with Santiago Lorenzo and Victoriano Fernández de Asís. Saornil’s knowledge of Cubism (‘and to speak of Cubism in Spain was to speak of Picasso’) contained a kernel of energy that would lead her to avant-garde aesthetic positions and would subsequently characterise her vital and ideological drift. A Fine Arts student, Saornil would soon become a poet publishing in Ultra under the pen name Luciano de San-Saor, a pseudonym that her future homosexual activism would make more meaningful. While her subsequent artistic ventures would lead her away from the Ultraist ranks, her affiliation to the CNT trade union, the important role she played in the Mujeres Libres, her social and militant poetry, her activism in favour of sexual liberation and her fight for the equality and independence of women were vital sources of inspiration that derived from her early avant-garde alliances, as announced in her poem ‘El canto nuevo’: ‘Those of us who created this time / shall achieve all audacious feats, / WE SHALL CONSTRUCT / THE INVERTED PYRAMIDS.’

Economy: Picasso Oro Molido

Oro Molido, the leading character in the novel of the same title published by Felipe Aláiz in 1923, visits a Cubist exhibition. The works she contemplates – the image is a pedagogical explanation Aláiz gives young Helios Gómez on the 1912 exhibition at GaleriesDalmau – will resolve the shortcomings of a whole life, and place the girl on the path of emancipation. The novel is a moralist newspaper serial that hopes to remove from the life of Oro Molido – a young worker marked by the fact of being a single mother – he sentimental newspaper serials that alienate her. However, what is most interesting is the role played by the Cubist pieces as works of art. According to Aláiz, artistic work serves a biological purpose that triangulates our relationship with others and with society. Hence, Cubism’s abstraction enables us to rearrange the remaining social connections and, unlike the newspaper serial, produce reciprocal relations in terms of equality, liberty and fraternity. In spite of a certain naïveté in Aláiz’s appraisals, the new status he confers upon the fetishistic object, modelled by its abstract capacity, would enable us to distinguish between value and price in the manner of Juan de Mairena. Pablo Picasso. Bottle and Violin on a TablePablo Picasso
Bottle and Violin on a Table
3 December 1912 or later
Papiers collés and charcoal on paper
61 x 47,8 cm
New Orleans Museum of Art: The Muriel Bultman Francis Collection, 86.275
©Successió Pablo Picasso, VEGAP, Madrid 2012

Economy: Picasso The Return to Primitive Art

The controversy surrounding the influence of Black African art on Cubism has proved fruitful. The accounts of the direct transfer of masks and statues to the paintings by Picasso and Braque are obviously anecdotal. In 1928 Marius de Zayas suggested that the study of the influence of primitive art had to focus on the works by Cézanne, even on those by El Greco, for this was not a superficial appropriation but a structural change. As a Mexican, de Zayasalso pointed out another development: the archaeological investigation that the ethnographic turn had given to modernism had favoured the immediate integration of subaltern artists and ways of making art into the movements prevalent in Paris and New York, ‘Mexican natives and African blacks and Cubist painters and modern photographers.’ The analysis made by de Zayas, a permanent exile, begins with Picasso himself, who forms a part of this colonial market on account of being Spanish. For de Zayas, a caricaturist, the motorcar symbolised the synthesis between modern and primitive. According to this uniquely controversial geopolitical vision, the plundering of the colonies also provided some of the tools for their emancipation. Pablo Picasso. Cap d’indi bigarratPablo Picasso
Motley Head of an Indian, 1907-1908
Oil on wood
Private Collection
©Successió Pablo Picasso, VEGAP, Madrid 2012

Economy: Picasso Green Notebook

Amidst the Mexican jungles of Chiapas, Max Aub reveals this Green Notebook to us, the author of which, Jusep Torres Campalans (JTC), was a painter, a friend and a contemporary of Picasso’s. The comments by Silverio Lanza on Cubism – ‘My coevals made art to be understood and admired by the ignorant while you, modern artists, make art to be admired and understood by artists. That is the way to hell’ – had led Aub to try and gut modern art by means of an unusual journey to the heart of darkness. The novel was presented together with an exhibition of works by JTC the artist, a catalogue and a series of considerations on his work by Octavio Paz, Carlos Fuentes, David Alfaro Siqueiros, Olga Tamayo and Elena Poniatowska, among others. In fact, as insinuated by Jean Cassou who is very present in the novel, JTC is none other than Picasso without André Level or Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler; in other words, a Picasso defeated in all senses of the word, even politically. He is his biographical opposite and, at the same time, his counter-figure, various stories against History with a capital H. Max Aub proclaims this on the first page: How can there be truth without lies? Vaquer amb una cigarretaCowboy with Cigarette, 2012
Private Collection
Hans Haacke
© VEGAP, Barcelona 2012

Economy: Picasso An Abstract Art

Jorge Luis Borges’ eccentric condition granted him an excellent vantage point from which he could perfectly understand the functioning of the different centres – London, Paris, New York, but also avant-gardism, return to order, anachronism – and their areas of influence. As a result of a certain acceleration of time, quite often, when news reached the periphery from the metropolises, the news item had already turned into the place from which it was broadcast. The centre was a critical space, the echoes of which could be perceived in its surrounding areas as classical and stabilised. Abstraction became a narrative as soon as it began to be explained and vice versa, for only a good narrative was truly able to generate abstract notions.‘Abstract and concrete: the two words are obviously synonyms.’ This understanding of his age led him, somewhat pragmatically, to cultivate paradoxes. He solved the poetic debates on metaphor and metonymy like Mallarmé, by giving words the value of coins. In Crónicas de Bustos Domecq [Chronicles of Bustos Domecq], with Adolfo Bioy Casares, he applied this procedure to modern art. The book is dedicated ‘To those three great forgotten figures: Picasso, Joyce, Le Corbusier.’ Marcel Duchamp, Tzanck CheckMarcel Duchamp
Tzanck Check, 1919
The Vera nad Arturo Schwarz Collection of Dada and Surrealist Art in the Israel Museum, Jerusalem
© succession Marcel Duchamp / Vegap et ADAGP, Paris, 2008.

Economy: Picasso Magic

Giorgio Agamben has defined the gag as the answer to the impossibility of images being circumscribed by language. He recalls how the gag, literally, means something placed in the mouth of an actor to prevent him from speaking, thereby favouring gestures and improvisations in attempts to overcome this impossibility of speech. Furthermore, the philosopher relates this definition to that of mysticism, in the sense of Wittgenstein; in other words, that of showing what cannot be said, the unreal estrangement we find in some of Buñuel’s films. The gag always makes us laugh even if the actor tries to express serious or tragic events. The gag appears as a gesture in the sense of painting or the cinematographic image. The documentary F for Fake by Orson Welles deals with the idea of genius through its counter-figure, fraud. Despite its autobiographical nature, the narrative motif is Picasso and his mirror, the forger Elmyr d’Ory. The film focuses on trompe l’œil, the essential gag about all that is related to sight. The fate of the work of art is to become a trompe l’œil and the artist is simply the officiating actor. The magician is merely an actor.

Economy: Picasso Ur, the magazine

‘We are taking the liberty of sending you this magazine in order to make our activity known to you. We respect you as one of the great masters of painting, and would like to interview you on the subject of Lettrism. Please accept, Sir, our respectful tribute.’ The conciseness of this note sent by Hervé Falcou and Guy Debord to Picasso, together with UR magazine, to request his collaboration, allows us to reconsider the taxonomical notions that the clichéd historiography and its classifications establish in the construction of an independent economy of art. It turns out that Guy Debord, author of La Société du spectacle [The Society of the Spectacle], and other Situationists – Jorn and Constant began to paint under the direct influence of Picasso’s Guernica – had been educated under Picasso’s Communist affiliation, and preferred to maintain this contradiction rather than those of their Neo-Dadaist, Fluxus or Conceptual contemporaries, ‘pale reflections of the complete consolidation of financial capitalism’. In other words, the Duchamp galaxy or the Productivist constellations are only a part of the aura surrounding Picasso. If the history of men was written in the skies, since the invention of the telescope only its reflection in puddles is of any use to us. Asger Jorn. Quatre pòstersAsger Jorn
Four posters, 1968
Museum Jorn, Silkeborg
Photo: Lars Bay
Asger Jorn: © Donation Jorn, Silkeborg/VEGAP 2012


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