Pedro G. Romero has developed the Archivo F.X. since 1999. The archive consists of a vast collection of images and artefacts documenting examples of Spanish political and religious iconoclasm in the first half of the 20th century. For example, the archive includes decapitated statues, deteriorated pictures, expropriated sacred spaces, or melted religious items reused for civil industry. Romero is now in the process of institutionalising the Archivo F.X. with the intention to open it to others. GIBCA 2017 marks the first time an artistic researcher has been invited to develop a new project using the archive.

Curator and theorist Bassam El Baroni’s project considers the history and contemporary valence of the largely underrepresented figure of Averroes (Arabic name: Ibn Rushd), the 12th century philosopher who created early and highly influential examples of secular thought during the era of Islamic Andalusia. Averroism was a late 13th century movement of mostly Paris-based philosophers, who contributed to founding modern secularity through their separation of theological and philosophical perspectives. Archivo F.X. and Pedro G. Romero additionally invited artists Doris Hakim and Yassine Chouati, and the activist media collective Equipe Media to collaborate.

The installation is composed of numerous elements. Essential to the work is the ‘conversation piece’, a wall text representing a long e-mail correspondence between all the contributors to the project, moderated by El Baroni. In this thread, they discuss secularity and Averroes’ legacy in relation to their contexts, art, the image, and contemporary political struggles. Moreover, Romero and the Archivo F.X. team have collated for display a selection of documents and images from the archive under the entry Averroes and Averroism. The aim of the archive selection is to parse together underlying connections and associations between Averroism’s historical and philosophical trajectory, its possible concrete manifestations, and questions around sovereignty in Spain. The overall title of this multi-participant installation, The Destruction of Destructions, alludes to the first Spanish translation of Averroes’ polemical work The Incoherence of the Incoherence.

The work was presented at Röda Sten Konsthall.

Destrucción de destrucciones (Destruction of Destructions) 2017
Pedro G. Romero and the Archivo F.X. (Jose Iglesias Ga-Arenal and Charo Romero Donaire) lives and works in Seville
Bassam El Baroni lives and works in Alexandria
Doris Hakim lives and works in Seville
Yassine Chouati lives and works in Seville
Equipe Media lives and works in the occupied territories of Western Sahara

The work is commissioned for Göteborg International Biennial for Contemporary Art (GIBCA) 2017
Supported by AC/E – Acción Cultural Española, Embassy of Spain in Sweden and Mophradat

Destrucción de destrucciones (Destruction of Destructions) 2017, installation view WheredoIendandyoubegin – On Secularity, Göteborg International Biennial for Contemporary Art 2017, Röda Sten Konsthall. Photo Hendrik Zeitler.