Hard Counter Club
with: RV VertiKal, Jaime Asins, David García, Alberto Feijóo, Irene Faus, Sandra Mar, Juan Ripoll, Aina Monzó and Guillermo Ros
18 December 2021 - 18 February 2022
Avenida Divino Maestro 25
Photography by Alberto Feijóo
Any person who wishes to be considered an active agent of the art world, recognised and remunerated, wishes to be proletarianised. To be just another worker, happy and dedicated to a passion within this great enterprise of the art world. Within an intellectual and elitist world that is ultimately linked to objects and events that imply astronomical prices and an evident class bias. Thus, everyone who wants to is destined to serve a single institutionalised patron. In the case of artists, when they are recognised as such in this vast enterprise, moreover, they will automatically become its performers and showcases. Alienated, self-censored agents, they will continuously try to negotiate between freedoms and vassalage, rather than be condemned to marginality.
But in a world guided by the neoliberal agenda, where labour precariousness becomes the norm, the illusion of affirming one's own singularity, materialising critical intentions and being considered a worker with the corresponding rights, remains just that, an innocent and stupid illusion. No workers, no workers, no fucks. At the most, a lot of false self-employed, and be careful that the label doesn't come to you too big. If you are not even capable of earning enough to boil the pot, what's the point. In the end, the prowess of the system consists in the assimilation of this anguished precariousness as its own choice, and that of this art world company in particular, in having managed to ensure that the artist can no longer aspire to prosper outside of it, that he/she settles into domestication and servility and becomes its agent of defence.
There is no longer any room for criticism, because even this kind of institutionalised patron will participate in these intentions and the satires aimed at him in order to turn them to his own advantage. What's more, it has led many artists and self-styled artists to look down their noses at other agents who are not denied the role of workers, such as artisans. Another melon to be opened on intellectual paternalism and snobbery. If they have the same etymological root, then what differentiates the artist from the craftsman? Prestige and recognition? How much money does he earn? Functionality? Mechanical elaboration? Agility and speed? Research? Virtuosity? Aesthetic standards? Taste for beauty? Control of materials? If we take into account the different definitions of artist in different contexts and periods, any answer is too nuanced. Enough of using the word craftsman with paternalistic contempt. We would like to use it to confront the refusal to recognise the artist as just another worker, to fight against capitalisation at the cost of precariousness itself, or to arm ourselves against power relations.
Against all these violent dynamics of this company and its agents, Hard Counter Club presents itself as a counter-attack. An association that is intended to be ephemeral, made up of people from many different fields and linked together precisely because they have collaborated, in the form of a cooperative network, in an institutionalised artistic project. People who move in hostile territories and have in common a creative capacity that transcends beyond this great enterprise of the art world. It is against this that the associative name is imposed: Hard Counter, a term used in the field of videogames to refer to the attack or strategy that completely dominates another strategy that is presented against us. A counterattack that keeps you alive.
From the ways of doing and the cooperative and horizontal work of RV VertiKal, Jaime Asins, David García, Alberto Feijóo, Irene Faus, Sandra Mar, Juan Ripoll, Aina Monzó and Guillermo Ros have generated a series of connections and material and conceptual narratives around their own creative practices, the different roles and the questioning of the artistic act. An articulated dialogue that, in the framework of a new space that opens its doors, becomes a declaration of inaugural intentions.