When she started writing the Corona Tales, Chus Martínez had been weighing how people and the media were addressing the outbreak of the virus as an unprecedented disaster. One possible contribution, as curator and writer, would be to write a short story a day and post it on an Instagram account that many could access…
Martínez grew up with her grandparents till she was four, and so did her cousin, while both their parents migrated to a big city—hers to Barcelona, his to Basel—to work. The grandparents' childhood was marked by extreme poverty: the Spanish flu left the grandfather orphan of both parents; the grandmother's family, from the same small village in the north west coast of Spain, was also forced to encourage their children to help and work for money. These circumstances were reflected by them—with no trace of sorrow or bitterness. The recovery was so slow that the author's mother could not afford to attend school and it was only when she married that she and her father enrolled a night course. The stories about these two generations, posted daily, from Basel, around 7pm, offered a chance for gathering, if just virtually, demanding to identify vulnerabilities, how the COVID-19 crisis was being generalized, and how to research ways of doing. Accompanied for the first time in this book by new imagery, they provide tools for reflecting in the past and present tense.
“The effort to smile in the face of devastating circumstances is a sign of generosity that is embedded in our cultural codes. So, what could I do to entertain? Would they smile with the sweet embarrassment of reading stories on an open instagram account?” (Chus Martínez)
Chus Martínez (born 1972 in Ponteceso, Spain) has a background in philosophy and art history. Currently she is the Head of the Institute of Art of the FHNW Academy of Arts and Design in Basel, Switzerland. Before she was the Chief Curator at El Museo Del Barrio (2012-2014), New York. She was dOCUMENTA (13) Head of Department, and Member of Core Agent Group. Previously she was Chief Curator at MACBA, Barcelona (2008-2011), Director of the Frankfurter Kunstverein (2005-2008) and Artistic Director of Sala Rekalde, Bilbao (2002-2005).
For the 56th Biennale di Venezia (2015), Martínez curated the National Pavilion of Catalonia with the filmmaker Albert Serra; for the 51st Biennale di Venezia (2005) she also curated the Cyprus National Pavilion; in 2014/2015 served as alliance of the 14th edition of the Istambul Biennial; in 2008 served as a Curatorial Advisor for the Carnegie International and in 2010 for the 29th Bienal de São Paulo. During her tenure as Director of the Frankfurter Kunstverein she curated solo exhibitions of Wilhelm Sasnal among others; and a series of group exhibitions including “Pensée Sauvage” and “The Great Game To Come”. She was also the founder of the Deutsche Börse Residency Program for international artists, art writers and curators. While at MACBA Martínez curated the Thomas Bayrle retrospective, an Otolith Group monographic show, and an exhibition devoted to television, “Are you ready for TV?” In 2008 Martínez was the curator of the Deimantas Narkevičius
retrospective exhibition, “The Unanimous Life” at the Museo de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, which traveled to major European museums.
Martínez lectures and writes regularly including numerous catalogue texts and critical essays, and is a regular contributor to ArtforumMousse
, among other international journals.