Artist
Santiago Sierra
See images of Work

Cerdos devorando la península ibérica
Photographic diptych print
124 x 220cm
2014

Pieces of road
100 x 100 cm
1992

A construction company specializing in road works was asked to pull the road up in rectangular blocks each measuring 100 x 100 cm. At first it was neces-sary to negotiate this project not only with the construction company. but with the workers themselves, having them pulling these pieces out. Not all workers were willing to carry out this job, therefore different groups of them were engaged in the production of this piece. Once the large pieces of road were pulled out they were placed in the gallery and arranged according to a reticular structure. The bits of road that exceeded the fixed measure-ment of 100 x 100 cm were cut, leaving the remaining parts on the floor.

Cubo de carroña
Silver gelatin print
150 x 221 cm
2015

Edificio iluminado
C-Print
245 x 150 cm
2003

Economical Study on the Skin of Caracans
Digital print
35 pieces
70 x 46.7 x 0.7cm
2006

The skin on the back of 10 persons who declared to have zero dollars was photographed. A medium tone in a greyscale was assigned to that value. The skin on the back of 10 persons who declared to have a thousand dollars was photographed. A different medium tone in a greyscale was assigned to that value. Finally, the skin on the back of 10 persons who declared to have million dollars was photographed. A medium tone in a greyscale, different from the other two, was assigned to that value. Once a tone of grey in the scale had been assigned to zero, ten and million dollars, the value of black and white was calculated in dollars. The value of black turned out to be minus 2.106 dollars; and the value of white 11.548.415 dollars.

Those in Charge
Collaboration with Jorge Galindo
Gran Vía, Madrid, España
2012

Los Encargados [Those in Charge], 2012, shows the procession making its way along the Gran Vía of Madrid while accompanied by a soaring soundtrack. The song, “Warszawianka,” used as an anthem by Polish workers in 1905, has been adopted by populist movements worldwide. Heard frequently in Spain during their Civil War (1936–39), it is also recognizable as the score for footage of the October Revolution in the opening credits of the 1997 movie The Jackal.

Those in Charge
Collaboration with Jorge Galindo
Gran Vía, Madrid, España
2012

Los Encargados [Those in Charge], 2012, shows the procession making its way along the Gran Vía of Madrid while accompanied by a soaring soundtrack. The song, “Warszawianka,” used as an anthem by Polish workers in 1905, has been adopted by populist movements worldwide. Heard frequently in Spain during their Civil War (1936–39), it is also recognizable as the score for footage of the October Revolution in the opening credits of the 1997 movie The Jackal.

World’s largest graffiti
Smara refugee camp, Argelia
2012

In October 2012 upon the invitation of Artifariti and the Frente Polisario the letters “S.O.S” were carved into the ground of the Western Sahara/Algeria near the Saharaui refugee camps. The graffiti measures 5km x 1,7km, which makes it the largest graffiti in the world.

Plate
2015

Placa (Plate) is a sculpture-object of melted bronze making reference on one side to the arbitrary cult mechanisms of effigies that are often made in a public space in Mexico, and on the other side, it locates spatially the dis-tance from which the spectator is to the Official Residence of Los Pinos, the country’s epicenter of power and political control.

The Anveil
Mexico City
2015

Yunque shows an anvil, which belonged to a Mexican goldsmith’s family during the Second World War and who used to make flagships for the militia. Once again, the plaque duplicates the forms of homage in the public space, but with a sentence coming from colloquial language referring to situations where survival becomes the essential element.

La lona
15 young people under a tarpaulin
Dimensions variable
2015

La lona (Tarpaulin), favors the physical encounter between the piece and the spectator, people coming from different contexts create the sculpture. The formal configuration reminds us of a scene from Battleship Potemkin (Sergei Eisenstein, 1925) a film that described the epic first year of the Russian Revolution through the representation of power and its connection with the masses, the worker strikes and the Odessa rebellions.

Veteran of the war of Mexico facing the corner
Archive ink on paper
60 x 30cm
2015

Bio

Madrid, Spain, 1966.
Lives and works in Madrid and Mexico City.

Santiago Sierra’s work depicts situations where survival plays a fundamental role. It translates into an artistic practice the inhuman aspects of the economic system, of corruption mechanisms and the exploitation of the in- dividual. Sierra interweaves varied references and the direct experience of reality in order to explore and represent the world of labor, to the point where he also articulates a critical posture towards the relations between the art world and its agents.

In the 90s, his projects achieved recognition by establishing negotiation me- chanics with third parties and sparking actions—mostly in public spaces—that revealed the materialistic procedures linked to capitalism’s systemic vio- lence and the labor conditions it thrives on. This body of work has questioned the operation and function of institutional structures, the control of public spaces and the appearance of informal architecture in the urban landscape as a by-product of survival measures. Lack of use and rejection are viewed not only from a material perspective but are also applied to individuals, as a reflection of social contrasts.

With his work and the accompanying documentation, Sierra urges the spectator to experience the brutal nature of reality in light of the scenes he recreates; his strategy is to repeat the power operations that he himself criticizes.

Indebted to the premises of minimalism and conceptualism, his work takes shape through sculpture, documentation, public acts, film projects, and photography to reveal the perversity of power. His titles, also distinctive, serve as instruction or reproduction manuals and question in turn the positive use of images embraced by the capitalist system.

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