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50 kg of Plaster in the Street, 1994

Marqués de Corbera Street. Madrid, Spain

In Madrid, the construction sector has a strong presence, transforming the city into an authentic field of manu- facturing operations. It is not unusual to find the streets marked and stained with building sand or plaster from a truck or construction site. On this occasion, plaster was emptied onto the street, and left there so the vehicles would trace a drawing corresponding to the journeys made.

Santiago Sierra, 50 kg of Plaster in the Street, Marqués de Corbera Street. Madrid, Spain, December 1994
Santiago Sierra, 50 kg of Plaster in the Street, Marqués de Corbera Street. Madrid, Spain, December 1994
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Santiago Sierra

Santiago Sierra's oeuvre stands out from the art history of the past 30 years like a massive black monolith. The Spaniard, who was born in 1966 and also lived in Latin America, knows like no other how to use the established forms and rules of contemporary art to give the violence and injustice of Western modernity a face - a face that is our own. The formal language of minimalism, in its distanced, cool way, is particularly suited to being short-circuited with the abstract economic and institutional apparatuses that bind people into the dehumanized conditions of production, migration, (self-)exploitation, and stigmatization. Those conditions, in other words, that guarantee the privileges of most of the viewers to whom Sierra's work addresses itself in the art world. Not everyone likes that. Sierra is the living shadow in the repressed bad conscience of power and money, with which people rule over people. His work has been honored institutionally many times, and in 2003 he represented Spain at the Venice Biennale.



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