Jointly developed by M HKA and the KU Leuven, this long-term, interdisciplinary research project focuses on a specific, yet complex body of work; multifaceted and variably installable, unfinished and open-ended: Ship of Fools / The Dockers' Museum (2010-2013) by artist and theorist Allan Sekula (1951-2013). Informed by the research of the team members, the project continues to evolve in a succession of research outputs, such as this digital platform.

Allan Sekula. Collective Sisyphus

135 ff8 c011 nsb 13 (c)image: Núria Solé Bardalet, Fundació Antoni Tàpies - Available under the CC BY-NC-SA license.
14 June - 25 September 2017
Fundació Antoni Tàpies, Barcelona

Allan Sekula. Collective Sisyphus

The artist’s first individual exhibition in Spain. The Fundació will show the work in which Sekula observes and analyses the impact of maritime economy on the incipient globalisation of the 1990s, as well as the new moral premises imposed by neoliberalism.


Opening & conference: Tuesday June 13, 2017, at 7 p.m. Free entrance. 

Conference: Back to the Drawing Board. Maritime themes and discursive crosscurrents in the notebooks of Allan Sekula, by Sally Stein.

Co-curators: Hilde van Gelder, Anja Isabel Schneider and Carles Guerra. 



Allan Sekula (Erie, 1951 – Los Angeles, 2013) is one of the most important figures in modern photography of the second half of the twentieth century. His work focuses on a critique of the links that photography has always maintained with the economy, work and the politics of representation. From his beginnings in the seventies, Sekula became a reference by incorporating textuality into photography in a way that had been previously denied by modern art. His book Photography Against the Grain: Essays and Photo Works, 1973–1983 (1984), a key work of the new photographic discourse of the late twentieth century, enshrined him as one of the least orthodox historians of the medium. 

Allan Sekula. Collective Sisyphus will be this artist’s first individual exhibition in Spain. The Fundació Antoni Tàpies will show two main areas of his work in which Sekula observes and analyses the impact of maritime economy on the incipient globalisation of the 1990s, as well as the new moral premises imposed by neoliberalism at the beginning of the twenty-first century. And all within a geographical span of extraordinary dimensions. Fish Story (1989–95), a classic among works initiating a critique of global capitalism, and Ship of Fools / The Dockers' Museum (2010–13), the work to which he devoted himself in the last years of his life, put forward a new way of understanding photographic practice. Activism, literature, the economies of access to images and the precarious status of artists led to a new photographic genre that could be described as visual essays, halfway between photography, a museum of trivia and social literature. 

The exhibition pays tribute to an artist closely linked to post-Olympic Barcelona, a city that fascinated him as a case study for examining the new forms of injustice imposed by neoliberalism. Influenced by Barcelona’s maritime location, Sekula incorporated it in a tale of globalisation together with other cities such as Los Angeles, Athens, Bilbao, Rotterdam, Tokyo and others with a relation to the sea. 

This is an exhibition jointly produced between Fundació Antoni Tàpies, M HKA Antwerp and KuLeuven, the University of Leuven, with the generous support of the Allan Sekula Studio, TBA21 Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary Collection and sensitive lenders to Allan Sekula’s legacy, like Musée des Beaux-Arts de Calais, Frac Bretagne Rennes and Galerie Michel Rein Paris . 

Items

Antique Perry Safe Document Holder

1930’s Krazy Kat Mickey Mouse Wood-jointed Figure 

Captain Ahab Royal Doulton Toby Jug

Costa Cruise Line Linea Genova Ashtray

BAIRSTOW MANOR 'MARGARET THATCHER' CHARACTER JUG – NEW

Unfinished Wood - 6” Coffin Box w/Hinged Lid

STEVEDORE

Unusual Handmade Basket

Nautilus Jules Verne Ron Miller Submarine Model

Container ship/vessel/model/ZIM/Virginia/shipping

ILWU Longshoreman Bloody Thursday

Reagan 6 Inch Bust White

Aluminium Ingot Bullion Bar Scrap or Not? Casting

Wolf Original Soapstone Inuit Eskimo Sculpture Kayak

Koch Industries Poly ¼” (8) Hollow Braided Poly Rope

BABYLON IRAQ

5 TWO Pound ZINC Bullion Ingot Bars 99.9%

Subbuteo Team Santos Ref. 165 Heavyweight Mint & Boxed

Vintage Coal Miners Bird Cage Pottery/Clay Waterer

Germany DDR Communist Badge Miner’s Day 20 years 1950-

Vintage Cast Lead US Navy Figure Sailor Holding Signal Flags

Antique Boat Ship Maritime Block & Tackle Pulley

IPR. Hertel & Reuss Binoculars 15x 60

Costa Lines Cruise Ship Liner Souvenir Model

Lot of 8 ca 1950 Enciclopedia Pulga titles SPAIN miniature books

50’s/60’s Florida Snake at Reptile Farm Sarasota #2

Vintage Sifo Kinder City Wooden Building Block Set

BABYLON IRAQ (THE ANCIENT RUINED WALLS OF BABYLON. BABYLON. ANCIENT CITY OF ASIA, ON THE EUPHRATES, CAPITAL OF THE BABYLONIAN EMPIRE)

DDR Communist Badge of Miner Coal & Energetics Ind.

Mammoth wharf, 4700 ft., Port Los Angeles, California no. 580

1955 Chicago Longshoremen Gather for Work Wire

Malaise chez les dockers du Port du Havre

An artist's concept of the proposed "walking machine", bearing the designation Ambulating Quadruped Transporter (Truck)

1959 Calumet Harbor Longshoremen Wire Photo

Playbill Bertolt Brecht Langston Hughes 1965

Man being whipped VINTAGE Photo Mutiny on the Bounty

MARLON BRANDO vintage '62 MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY portrait

STEVEDORE, DOCKWORKER STARKWEATHER NEW MARKET, VA

NEW SHADE ["Costa Brava"] FOR STOCKINGS, [Barcelona]

MARY QUANT SPRING '72 COLLECTION 1971 (LORRAINE wears 'Lollipop' a deckchair striped halter top and trousers)

Playamar – the projected vacation-center on the Spanish Costa del Sol Keystone Zurich

1969, Playamar - The projected vacation-center on the Spanish Costa del Sol

STATE OF FLORIDA, DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION, FLORIDA NEWS BUREAU, TALLAHASSE, FLORIDA (A "swinging" miss shows that Florida is the place to go --winter, spring, summer or fall)

Lahore, Pakistan: Hotel Intercontinental Swimming Pool

BS PHOTO aaz076 Maryland Drydock Company Strike

Vintage ’37 SS California Maritime Labor Strikers Photo

FOX. AUG. 21ST. 33., HEADACHE ON MONTGOMERY STREET

Saudi Arabia – Mecca (Pilgrims kiss the Black Stone)

Saudi Arabia – Mecca (During the Hajj Pilgrimage, Muslims from all over the world pray facing the Ka'bah)

Submarinos americanos clase “C” en las esclusas de Gatún, Canal de Panamá

Barco escuela “Iwate” de la escuadra Japonesa, pasando el Corte Gaillard

East Chamber looking north Gatun locks, Panama Canal

Looking through gates, Gatun locks, Panama Canal

El "Richmond", Crucero Ligero de 7,500 toneladas de la escuadra de EE. UU., pasando el Corte Gaillard, Canal de Panama. (U.S.S. "Richmond", 7,500 ton light cruiser, passing Gaillard Cut, Panama Canal)

El "Pensacola" nuevo crucero ligero de 10,000 toneladas de la escuadra de EE.UU., en la exclusas de Miraflores, Canal de Panama.

Vintage 8 x 10 Photo Matson Line S.S. Mariposa/Palm Trees

September 30th 1980. POLES CALL STRIKE FOR FRIDAY (Lech Walesa, the Polish Union leader, has called on his members to hold a one hour strike this Friday, to protest at what is described as a government failure to honour its pledges)

August 22nd 1980 A Woman Address, Striking shipyard Workers in Gdansk

August 22nd 1980. THE STRIKING WORKERS OF GDAŃSK

Lech Walesa said Hello to Geneva Worker 

Poland "Ferrum" Foundry at Katowice

TWENTY POUNDS OF BANANAS ON HER HEAD

Ronald & Nancy Reagan at “Moby Dick” premier party

P6338 Belgium postcard Anvers Les Dockers Antwerp Docks

Stereoview Workers Loading Docks Valparaiso CHILE So Am

1946 Swabbing the Deck of the SS Freighter 1 Ship Wire Photo

SPANISH BOAT [the 5,000-ton freighter Navemar] HELD IN NEW YORK AFTER OWNERS [Compania Espanola de Navegación Maritima of South America] CHARGE CREW SEIZED HER

Seamen aboard the Cabo Pilar snare a small leader line

1949 Italy Genoa Harbor Seamen's Strike Press Photo

Santos. Caregadores de Café com 302 kilos

Architectural Model Antique Replica - Lighthouse Steps