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House in Mud, 2005

Kestnergesellschaft, Hannover, Germany

On the ground floor of the Kestnergesellschaft, 320 m3 of material consisting of 55 m3 of mud and 265 m3 of peat were brought onto the floor and walls. At the beginning of the project it was planned to use sediment of the Maasche because of its sociological implications. This proved to be impossible due to the fact that the health risks which could have occurred from its use in the exhibition spaces of the Kestnergesellschaft could not be assessed. There existed the danger, because of micro bacteriological activity, of an uncontrolled release of organic decomposition products, which can in part be highly dangerous to health. As a substitute, peat and moor-mud from Bad Nenndorf and from a moor cultivation area near the Steinhuder Meer was used. This material is bacteriologically harmless, consisting as it does of sediment whose nutrient-poor composition and high degree of acidity prevent processes of decay and the accompanying spread of harmful micro-organisms. On the first floor only the muddy footprints of the visitors were found.

Santiago Sierra, House in Mud, 2005, tryptich, lambda print on forex, 100 x 150 cm each
Santiago Sierra, House in Mud, 2005, tryptich, lambda print on forex, 100 x 150 cm each
Santiago Sierra, House in Mud, 2005, tryptich, lambda print on forex, 100 x 150 cm each

tryptich, lambda print on forex, 100 x 150 cm each

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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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