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HABITACIÓ (ROOM). Pedro G. Romero
The F.X. Archive, the psycho-technical Chekas by Laurencic and its function in the art

Arxiu F.X. Pedro G. Romero. Tesaurus: Dècor. (reconstrucció de la Cheka de l'Església del carrer Vallmajor de Barcelona, 1937-1939). Col·lecció MEIAC. Fotografia de Vicente Novillo.
Arxiu F.X. Pedro G. Romero. Tesaurus: Dècor. (reconstrucció de la Cheka de l'Església del carrer Vallmajor de Barcelona, 1937-1939). Col·lecció MEIAC. Fotografia de Vicente Novillo.
Habitació. Pedro G. Romero. L'Arxiu F.X., les txeques psicotècniques de Laurencic i la funció de l'art is an exhibition created from the F.X. File, which since the late 1990s has been working on the psycho-technical chekas that Alfonso Laurencic built for the Santa Úrsula convent in Valencia and the churches on Vallmajor and Zaragoza streets in Barcelona between 1937 and 1939. The project explores the disappointments of the psychotropic expansion of perception, the necessary crises of utopian vision and the very limits of art.
Reconstruction of the cheka of the convent of Santa Úrsula, Valencia
Ownership of the F.X. File
El ojo que ves no es
ojo porque tú lo veas;
es ojo porque te ve.
Antonio Machado.
From final of the 1990s, the F.X. Archive [1]; has been working on the Psychotechnical Chekas that Alfonso Laurencic built for the Military Information Service, S.I.M., of the Spanish Republican Army, between 1937 and 1939. The circumstances, not entirely coincidental, that these buildings were built in sacred spaces, temples and convents seized from the Catholic Church, made them a work of special attention. In a sense the antagonistic sense fields that operated in the F.X. File were here naturalized: aesthetics, knowledge and violence given both as experimental art and as religious profanation.
The Chekas (with a "k" and not a "c" to distinguish these constructions from the myth of the Czech Republic, illegal detention centres that proliferated during the Spanish Civil War on both sides) used elements of modern art, especially from the Bauhaus years of Wassily Kandinsky, to carry out tortures, known as psycho-technical tortures, on the convicts. Beyond its effectiveness, attention is drawn to the investment that certain utopian and spiritual tools of modern art and design undergo, and so what should serve to broaden awareness and emancipate us now serves as a punitive and subjective element.
The central core of the exhibition would present the three 1:1 scale reconstructions from the F.X. Filehave been produced: (Decòr) the psycho-technical cheka of the Church of Vallmajor in Barcelona, property of the MEIAC in Badajoz; (Notes on sculpture) the cheka piscotécnica of the Convent of San Juanistas in Zaragoza Street, also in Barcelona, property of the MNCARS in Madrid; (Barraçao) the first experimental chekas of the convent of Santa Úrsula in Valencia, deposited in the gallery Casa sin fin in Cáceres. Around it would be all kinds of documentary works, photographs (the Hermes series in Barcelona, the works of Pérez de Rozas on Himmler's visit to Vallmajor), filmes (for example the film Vivan los hombres libres by Edgar Neville of 1939), works of art (engravings by Kandisky, Paul Klee or Antoni Tàpies), operations (Juan José Lahuerta's displays), background bibliográfico, architectural designs (the models of the Ferrer Foundation of Barcelona, the first issue of Carrer de la Ciutat), etc.).
Reconstruction of the psychotechnical torture cheka, 1937 - 1939, in the Church of Vallmajor, Barcelona, 2003
MEIAC Collection Extremaduran and Iberoamerican Museum of Contemporary Art, Badajoz, Department of Culture of Extremadura
The catalogue of this exhibition includes the sum of the texts that have been produced up to now in relation to these works, in addition to the fichas of the F.X. File itself, the writings of Juan José Lahuerta, Slavoj Žižek, Boris Groys, Quico Rivas, Fernando Rodríguez de la Flor, Marisa García Vergara, Francisco Espinosa and Joan Villaroya.
For ‘Habitación’ (‘Room’), the artists Patricia Gómez and María Jesús González, Lola Lasurt and Álvaro Perdices were also invited to work on the Chekas with the same materials and categories from the F.X. Archive itself.
Definitively, we are trying to find out about the functioning of the Art Apparatus and that room of our own -an obvious reference to the space of autonomy that Virginia Wolf demanded for women: before talking about us, let me talk to you about art, about money and about our own room- that art demands. In this journey, historical events as paradoxical as those of the Republican rearguard in the Spanish Civil War, the contradictions between goodness and violence of the modern radical project, the disappointments of the psychotropic expansion of perception, the necessary crises of the utopian vision and the very limits of art are explored. It is evident that art needs its own space to speak and that the radical avant-gardes have exhausted themselves in its construction. The Chekas sharpen the contradictions that this gesture has brought to the social body and do so as an allegory, the only possible way of knowing in the disaster, as Walter Benjamin said. That paradox is what the Chekas sum up with clairvoyance. This exhibition reflects the need for this space for art, its property, and, at the same time, its urgent and necessary expropriation.
Reconstruction of the psychotechnical torture cheka, 1937 - 1939.
The core dedicated to chekas is extracted from the F.X. File and the goal is to close down the tracks in their line of investigation. It is presented as a project already sealed within the scope of the archive itself and is therefore the first time that this set converges in the same exhibition space.
Habitación (‘Room’) is the result of the collaboration of three related institutions that approach current critical thinking from different positions. The CA2M Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo of the Community of Madrid, the La Nau Cultural Centre of the Universitat de València and the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya host this project within their programme with various discursive readings. Exhibition calendar:
CA2M: 24 May - 2 September 20
La Nau - Universitat de València: 20 September - 25 November 2018
MNAC: 4 December 2018 - 3 February 2019








The F.X. File is a documentary collection "under construction" which aims to lay the foundations for the urbanization of the province of nihilism, to paraphrase Habermas. On the one hand, it is an archive of images of political iconoclasm in Spain. On the other hand, and in this light, in a reflector of the radical projects of the modern avant-garde from Malévich to Rothko, from Dada to the Situationists. At a time when, as is the case today, there is a review of the clichés of 20th century art history, the parallelism between political and aesthetic radicalization is often underlined: an enlightened revolution that produces monsters. In this sense, the criticisms made by Jean Clair or Eric Hobsbawm, but also by Hans Magnus Enzensberger or Christian Ferrer, highlight a community of interests between the radical political projects of fascism, communism, capitalism, and the aesthetic excesses of the artistic avant-gardes: acculturation, alienation, dehumanization, de-vertebration, hyperaesthesia of the senses, elimination of the human figura, deposition, dememory, etc.  Definitively, it is the description of a landscape: nihilism. Return