Archive by Author

Santiago Serra rejects the Spanish National Prize for Fine Arts 2011

9 Dec

Rejecting this prize, the artist makes another conceptual work of art that questions power relations.

Santiago Serra is known by his work representing Spain in the Biennale of Venice where he criticised the Spanish immigration policy. The artist, in the letter he sent to the Ministry shortly after being awarded the National Prize, appealed to his independence and rejected being instrumentalised by the government. This opinion goes along the concept of questioning power relations that was behind his latest works. Examples of this are the exhibition in Venice where anybody who wanted to enter and see the Spanish Pavilion had to show a Spanish ID, or the project “NO, Global Tour” where a huge NO was travelling throughout the world as a enormous visual opposition to the “establishment”.

In the letter to the Minister of Culture Gonzalez-Sinde, he defends his position arguing that art has given him a freedom that he is not willing to renounce. Therefore, to be consequent with his values, he has to reject this award. He believes this prize instrumentalises the prestige of the awarded in the interest of the State.

The power of the seed

17 Nov

It’s difficult to believe that simple sunflower seeds can arouse contradictory feelings. But they do. The simplest the idea, the strongest the impact if there is a deep reason under it. Weiwei’s Sunflower seed installation at the Tate Gallery provokes, in the controversy of being made by real seed or by porcelain, a strange feeling to those walking over it.

Chinese artist Weiwei’s Sunflower seed installation at Tate Gallery, this last October didn’t pass unnoticed. If you approach the installation from the entrance, the view is of a beach-like carpet but then, if you walk over it and take a closer look, you realize that what is under your feet is not sand, but seeds. Moreover, once you overcome the horrible sensation of walking over food, Weiwei gives then another turn of the screw. The seeds are not real seeds but tiny pieces of hand-made porcelain, more than 100 million porcelain sunflower seeds. Tiny pieces that together made up a whole beach with uncountable sand grains. I don’t know if the sensation of walking over food was worse than realizing that I was stepping over the result of the work of so many people. I admit it. Weiwei knows how to give a punch in the weakest part of our Western consciousness and at the same time leave us flabbergasted with China proportions. His true art is how he aroused all these contradictory feelings with such simplicity. With simple materials such as sunflower seeds, porcelain and the labor of more than a thousand craftsmen.

Red Pump

28 Jul

Red Pump, 2010. 60 x 55 cm. Acrylic on canvas.

If I had to define this picture, I will say that is a visual haiku. As for me it shares some of its characteristics. As A.C. Missias defines it a haiku is “a poetry marked by brevity, reality, nature/seasonality, a moment’s duration, and insight or intuition”.

It shares as well the most usual shape for haikus:

“This bell curve (See Highly Technical Figure I) can be seen as a distribution of haiku along an axis of, say, objective <——–> subjective, and most haiku will tend to group in the center. There are some poems that are far more subjective than the haiku norm, and others than the haiku norm, and others that are far more objective, but the bulk, the haiku most typical of the genre, can be expected to array themselves toward the middle of the curve.”

Haiku figure resembling a pump

For me, the picture Red Pump is a haiku in the way its meaning is structured and in its visual structure.