Domenec is a socially-minded artist who has been showing his work in Spain and abroad since 1989. He is committed to an avant-garde and multi-disciplinary practice, and often offers a penetrating and critical approach to the effects of architecture on community life. He functions as a critic and innovator for whole communities, an installation artist whose domain is not just the gallery, but such unusual spaces as the window of a hairdresser's shop, a hospital, a factory about to be demolished or the interior of someone's home.
One of the two Barcelona artists chosen by the JCVA for a Jerusalem exchange, Domenec stayed at the JCVA in January of 2006. As he is an avid student of Bauhaus architecture, he was particularly interested in following the Bauhaus trail in Tel Aviv. He was struck by the run-down condition of these buildings, whose counterparts in Europe have been expensively renovated. His expertise is such that he knew more than his initial guides, but the JCVA consequently provided him with a fulfilling learning experience. The work he made as a result of the residency was shown in a joint exhibition with the work of his fellow Barcelonian, Daniel Chust as well as with that of Koby Levy and Doron Rabina from Israel, who were chosen for the Barcelona exchange. The exhibition, Passer By, co-curated with the JCVA by Barcelona curator Marti Peran, opened in May 2007 in the Artists' Studios gallery space in Tel-Aviv and was very well-attended. It opens in Barcelona in the La Capella Gallery in September 2007.
In response to the situation in Israel-Palestine as he experienced it during his JCVA residency, Domenec created a multi-media installation. It includes a rickety bench over which hangs a sign saying “Real Estate,” a newspaper, and television monitors. But both of these media operate rather differently in the gallery than in day-to-day life.
Free of text, the pseudo-newspaper, which is stacked for the taking and also hung on the wall across from the bench, offers black and white images of a range of local dwellings: unfinished homes in Palestinian neighborhoods, tight beehive apartment buildings in north Jerusalem, settlement homes beyond the Green Line, and more. The juxtapositions create an uneasy image of a crucial and difficult to articulate aspect of our dwelling places -- their rootedness or unrootedness in their surroundings, and in some cases, the way they are uprooted. Meanwhile, four television monitors showing works investigating home building and demolishing in Israel are set on the floor, below normal eye level.
The floor-level presentation of the videos seriously implicates the seated audience. The housing situations seen on these monitors are in fact the ground of viewers' existence, and just below conscious attention. The entire piece rings with what Jean Baudrillard has called "three-dimensional violence." This is the sometimes indirect, often total societal violence which entire societies watch and entire societies are complicit in.
Unite Mobile (roads are also places)
located at Unite d'habitation, Marseilles
Here Domenec created a striking and active commentary on the disconnected quality of the famous Unite d'habitation building, planned by Le Corbusier in Marseilles. Like many of these initially austere, somewhat industrial dwellings, designed with a utopian vision of a progressive community life for the working class, Unite d'habitation has been renovated and turned into a prestigious apartment building for the very wealthy. One of the building's unrealistic features is its playground, which is set on the top floor of the building, a place least fit for children. Domenec created a play-size model of the renowned structure, and set it on a play-truck which can be maneuvered by remote control. Neighborhood children, especially those living in the building, were invited to play with this truck, which they did joyfully, feeling even if not realizing, that they are symbolically controlling their living environment.
Ici Meme. Old Train Station
This station, built by Domenec for the remote village of Benifallet, Tarragona is not quite what it seems. No roads lead to this remote rural community. To leave it, one must cross a river — though there is no bridge — then take a train. Domenec built a train station at the village center; from the perspective of contemporary art-making, this could be viewed as an ironic comment, but its effects on village life were far removed from irony. The station became a social meeting-ground for community members, a place where they congregate and engage in solidifying their connections to each other, if not to the outside world.