Press Release

La Casa Encendida presents the exhibition Vulnerable Critters, curated by Andrea Bagnato and Ivan L. Munuera, which gathers architectural and artistic explorations of infection, illness, and health to frame the recent pandemic within a broader spatial and temporal context.

Vulnerable Critters is the outcome of long-term research by the curators that looks critically at modernity’ obsession with preventing contamination.



International exhibitions

International Archives 1st half of 2022

Vulnerables Critters

La Casa Encendida, Madrid (Spain)

27.05 - 18.09.2022




We all live in a state of vulnerability—ven though some of us are much more vulnerable than others. Philosopher Judith Butler has proposed that reclaiming such condition of shared vulnerability can be a route toward forms of living together that are grounded in common experience and solidarity.

The modern paradigm of infection relies on the metaphor of a healthy body (the individual as much as the political body) under attack by an external agent. Yet, continual contact, friction and interpenetration are essential elements of any biological and social interaction. Linguist Mary Louise Pratt coined the term “ontact zone”to counter ideas of the community as a homogeneous entity, and think instead of social relations in terms of clashes and asymmetries of power.

The artistic practices that make up Vulnerable Critters predate the Covid-19 pandemic. As such, they problematize the recent events in light of other experiences that have been sidelined in the public debate. Understanding epidemics in context, rather than as “lack swan”events, is all the more urgent as outbreaks are predicted to become more and more frequent. In spite of the gloom of such a prospect, the works on display are cunning, compassionate and entertaining—eaffirming the power of art to speak about the most difficult aspects of existence and, perhaps, to help toward collective healing.

In the exhibition, an extensive display of drawings and sculptures by the late Pepe Espaliú conjures forgotten histories of collective suffering. Pratchaya Phinthong and Işıl Eğrikavuk question the ways that epidemics and public health are narrated with respect to geographies of the "South."

Meanwhile, Himali Singh Soin and P. Staff suggest that contamination can be a counter-hegemonic act, while Monica Bonvicini challenges the architecture of gender with boldness and fragility. Three new commissions by visual artist Michael Wang and architects all(zone) and C+arquitectas (Nerea Calvillo with Manuel Alba Montes) re-enact the experience of contagion within flowering plants, domestic space, and the air itself.

During the summer, a series of film screenings, performances, and dialogues will be part of La Terraza Magnetica to expand on the topics of the exhibition.

The exhibition is the second stage of the Vulnerable Beings project. In October and November 2021, a two-part public assembly at MAAT, Lisbon, brought together artists, academics, scientists, and activists to reflect collectively on vulnerability and cohabitation.

Artists: all(zone), Monica Bonvicini, C+arquitectas (Nerea Calvillo con Manuel Alba Montes), Işıl Eğrikavuk, Pepe Espaliú, Pratchaya Phinthong, Himali Singh Soin, P. Staff, and Michael Wang.

Michael Wang, Contagion Garden, 2022. Photo: La Casa Encendida, Guzmán Infanzón.

Exhibition 27 May - 18 September 2022. La Casa Encendida, Ronda de Valencia, 2 - 28012 Madrid (Spain). T +34 902 43 03 22.  Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 10am–10pm.






Vulnerables Critters, La Casa Encendida, Madrid, Spain

© ArtCatalyse International / Marika Prévosto 2022. All Rights Reserved

Michael Wang, Contagion Garden, 2022. Photo: La Casa Encendida, Guzmán Infanzón.