The yellow trumpet of Kandinsky is a classic. And the blue freedom, also. Everyone we associate ideas to the visual. But what about people who do not see? What does it mean to see in reality? Can a person with visual diversity to enjoy a painting? just ask Ignasi Terraza, the blind pianist of jazz in 2015 created an album inspired by the descriptions and poems that the art historian Carlota Polo wrote of Miró’s work. We have gone to museums to look at responses to discover that contemporary art is much more to all of what you actually think.
Start a visit pivoted to collection “Under the surface” of the MACBA for people with visual diversity facing the group four giant mirrors may seem like a joke… But it is precisely this collection is make us reflect on what is meant by the verbs see and watch : the goal is that when we are between the four walls of the museum let us look at what we see on the surface to get to explore the surface itself.
The activity is one of the many and varied the network: Apropa Culture —which is also part CosmoCaixa and CaixaForum centres, which also works for accessibility through universal design and make guided visits tailored to different groups— recommends in its web to bring culture to all over the world this summer.
“Normally, we start by asking what experience they have of the object mirror”, has the first technical accessibility in the history of the MACBA, Guillem Martí. “What do you see? What do not see? What is for them a mirror?” According to Guillem, this work of Michelangelo Pistoletto, titled Architecture of the mirror, it is not made for you to look at it and you see it perfectly, but to start to speculate with certain aspects of contemporary art . “One of them is that the history of painting up to a certain point was ruled by the idea that the boxes had to represent reality with fidelity and this is something that contemporary art has broken down completely: the mirror has begun to use to create games of light and distortion of the image. There are examples from in Las Meninas to Picasso.”
“Truly blind people are those who understand best what is a mirror,” says the guide, leaving me intrigued. “We tend to define the mirror object from our gaze: it is a site where we see things. These mirrors, for example, are reflecting constantly what happens in this space. And if they were here for days, weeks, years, would capture all the people, all the movement and all of the light, and in the end will happen what happens with the camera if you leave the shutter open: you get a picture completely white. The total blindness. mirror in itself is an opaque surface, completely blind . That’s why I think that a person with a visual impairment can have a vision more true of this work of art precisely because it is not fixed on what is outside of the mirror, but on the idea of the object itself”.
it Is the beauty of contemporary art. That demands to get carried away by the imagination. “In many works the important thing is not what you can see or not, but the reflection is behind the concept,” says Guillem. “I would even say that the contemporary art, although you sometimes have the mistaken notion that it is more elitist, in reality it is more for all, more inclusive . Because it is full of gestures that involve a great democratization of art, and once you work the strange initial, all of us says some thing”.
Guillem teaches us the materials that he uses in guided tours for people with visual diversity: booklets in braille, foil embossed, recreations touch of some works made by the catering service of the house, audio guides, magnifying glasses, containers of water for assistance dogs… A program of accessibility, supported by the Fundación Repsol, that has been fueled even more with the addition of its role of technical accessibility less than a year ago.
we walked through the different rooms with our guide. Boxes-error deleted with típex. Rooms that are paintings. Canvas covered in sulphur, sand or gold dust. Guillem account that the visits with persons with visual diversity, that can be done in group or personalized, in addition to touch, made descriptions of the colors and shapes of the works, “but also try to explain through the word, the feeling that transmits each piece ”. It is never a simple translation, such as who changes from English to mandarin chinese. There is always a person interpreting.
While I play some of the reproductions, and I enjoy the contact with the textures, I think that the museums should, in general, have more opportunities sensory for all. This society in which we live, so focused on the look, makes us almost forget the rest of the senses. The monopoly of the eyes makes us pure passive spectators. what Are perhaps the people who do not see with their hands, the true explorers of the art?
“contemporary art is not made for you to see the work and instantly you have a syndrome of Stendhal,” says Guillem. “The look is not so obvious”. you do Not see the work input. You have to explore with the look or with any sense that you have to hand; the more, the better . As always, think about the needs of a few can bring small benefits to all. Why don’t we do this more often?
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