Apertus. International Contemporary Art Seminar-Workshop, is an initiative of Escola Massana with the support of the Han Nefkens Foundation. The goal of Apertus is to encourage exchange between professionals and students from various different art schools.  

The seminar consists of two parts: a day-session or seminar with a number of lectures and debates; and the workshop The Ass between Two Chairs, directed by Iranian artist Arash Nassiri.


July 1 – Day-session of lectures and debates


Narratives and Imaginary Conceptions of Place

The Ass between Two Chairs is the title of the workshop proposed by Arash Nassiri, expressing the uncomfortable sensation of being between two places or states. This is precisely the situation in which Escola Massana presently finds itself, in transition from its historical building to a newly-built facility. What are the contexts of meaning the notion of in-between brings to us? In architecture we speak of “intermediate” spaces as those which serve to articulate, connect or communicate between inside and out, as well as in reference to temporarily inhabited spaces. Meanwhile, the field of thought refers to the idea of being in suspense, unfinished, or in permanent transit. What is it then that identifies “intermediate” spaces and ways of knowing? What does an artistic work refer to when it speaks of placing itself “in-between”? This seminar seeks to weave together perspectives on the value of the “in-between”, in philosophy, geography, architecture, art and anthropology, that might help us explore new spaces of creation and critical vision as engaged with the immediate context.

Morning Session (9:30 am – 1:30 pm)

9:30 am. Welcome and presentation of the session, by the Han Nefkens Foundation and Escola Massana.

10 am. Ester Jordana, “The ‘In-Between’: Metamorphosis from the Immaterial” (the concept of “in-between” in philosophical reflection”). In Catalan.

Coffee break

11:30 am. Núria Benach, “Spatiality of the ‘In-Between’. On Frontiers, Centres and Margins” (the concept of the in-between in new tendencies of geographical thought). In Catalan.

12:30 AM. Open debate between Ester Jordana and Núria Benach, moderated by David Gràcia. In Catalan.

Afternoon Session (4–7 pm)

4:30 pm. Arash Nassiri, presentation of the main themes of his work and the proposed workshop, The Ass between Two Chairs. In English.

5:30 pm. Roger Sansi, “Betwixt and Between: On Liminal Futures”, (the concept of the in-between in anthropology, in relation to the work of Arash Nassiri and his exhibition in the Nivell Zero of the Fundació Suñol, part of Festival LOOP 2016). In English.

6:30 pm. Open debate between Roger Sansi and Arash Nassiri, moderated by Antonio Ontañón. In English.

Open to the public (free entrance). No simultaneous interpretation provided.

Escola Massana Auditorium. Hospital, 56. 08001 Barcelona.

Ester Jordana is Associate Professor at Bau, University Centre of Design. She is a member of the Contemporary Philosophy Chair at the University of Barcelona.

Núria Benach is Professor of Geography at the University of Barcelona and co-director of the collection of publicationsEspacios críticos [Critical Spaces], published by Icaria Editorial.

David Gràcia is Professor of Aesthetics in the University Degree of Art and Design, Escola Massana – UAB. He is a member of the collective Espai en Blanc.

Arash Nassiri is a visual artist. Originally from Iran, he lives in Paris. He graduated from the École nationale supérieure des Arts Décoratifs of Paris in 2012, and Le Fresnoy – National studio for contemporary art in 2014. His work has been shown in various countries. He was awarded with the Video Art Grand Prix of Côté Courte Festival of Pantin in 2014 and the Studio Collector Award, amongst others.

Roger Sansi is a professor at Goldsmiths College (London) and a Ramón y Cajal researcher in the Department of Anthropology of the University of Barcelona.

Antonio Ontañón has a PhD in the History of Art, and is head of the Department of Humanities of Escola Montana. He is director of Situaciones, a journal of history and criticism.

2-8 July – The Ass between Two Chairs

Workshop offered by Iranian artist Arash Nassir, directly exclusively to twelve young artists by means of an open call to students of the invited schools (Llotja Advanced School of Art and Design and Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Barcelona) and former students of Escola Massana. The workshop will take place in different areas of the Escola Massana building.

Friday, July 8, at 8 pm. Presentation of the workshop results of the workshop in the Escola Massana Auditorium (event open to the public). The HNF will offer a concluding reception for the APERTUS 01 seminar.