This project arises as a proposal to create in the public virtual space a collection of testimonies of artists from all over the world about the way in which confinement influences the processes of artistic creation. Project curated by María Arregui Montero and created within the international study program Commissioning and Curating Public Art, taught by Valand Academy at the University of Gothenburg.

– What is the Confinement Archive. An Archive on the Contemporary Creation Process in the Pandemic Era?

As an art historian, learning about the different eras of artistic creation is not only a curiosity but a necessity. Adverse times are, paradoxically, one of the most powerful creative periods. I have always understood art in its broadest and most diverse sense, as a means and an end in itself that does not understand borders or temporalities, not even formats.

We are facing an exceptional situation at a global level. In Western societies we have so far enjoyed a social stability and freedom that, since the establishment of democracies, has not suffered incidents with repercussions beyond their borders. But a pandemic has reminded us that any state of stability is vulnerable and that there are dangers common to all societies. Antagonistic concepts such as ‘solidarity’ and ‘selfishness’ reach their highest expression at a time when fear and uncertainty guide the present for many people, yet the commitment to move forward and improve our present and future also emerges in these times.

Artistic creation has been kept alive in history and artists have always found the way to express themselves through their own language whatever the circumstances. In keeping with this idea of the survival of art, Confinement Archive wishes to contribute its commitment to the conservation of memory regarding the experiences lived by artists during this period, with the idea of opening up new debates and avenues for reflection on the role of the artist in this new and unknown world.


– Why create an archive in virtual space?

The virtual space is one of the spaces considered to be public. Being aware of this unusual moment, curatorial thought must assume the challenge of adapting to it as a public space not yet confined. The differential value of Confinement Archive is its intention to become an archive that will maintain its continuity in the future, hosting content for consultation and serving as a source for those who wish to study the creative processes of artists who are experiencing the confinement at first hand.


– Curatorial perspective of Confinement Archive.

This project is not a virtual exhibition but a reaction to an imposed circumstance, a step forward in the way of making and thinking about art. It is not an adaptation of the exhibition format to the virtual space, but a project born from the full awareness of the conditions in which we play in this new context. It is not an exhibition of works but of ideas, it is not thought to stimulate the retinal sense but to activate our mind, it is not thought to be forgotten, but it acquires a character of permanence.

One of the most interesting aspects of Confinement Archive is the importance that it give to the process, and that is that we are in front of a living archive that will present new artists and their contributions on a weekly basis. It will be when all the documentation is published that the study and analysis phase begins, a stimulating process where we will see how visual artists embrace the textual or videographic format, generating an interesting crossover of means of expression. Thanks to them, this project will allow us to know and reflect on contemporary artistic creation in the pandemic era, and open new avenues of debate on what this means. Carrying out a project under the discourse of real-time confinement has been a great experience, a work that could not have existed without the commitment of the artists involved, who have collaborated from the certainty of the need to make a record of their situation in this historical moment, because art will always be the mirror where human reasoning and emotions are looked at and reflected.   I hope you will accompany us on this journey and that Confinement Archive will make us all feel a little closer. 

Stay well,

María Arregui Montero.


María Arregui Montero (1988, Osuna, Seville) has a degree in Art History, a Master's degree in Art, Museums and Historical Heritage Management and is currently a PhD student at the University of Seville (Spain), where she is researching the history and development of curatorial practice in Spain. At the same time, she develops her studies in the international study program Commissioning and Curating Public Art taught by Valand Academy at the University of Gothenburg (Sweden).