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Object measuring 600 x 57 x 52 cm Constructed to be Held Horizontally to a Wall, 2001

Galerie Peter Kilchmann, Zürch, Switzerland

A sculpture made of materials like wood and asphalt was lifted horizontally. One end rested on a wooden socket on the wall of the gallery and the other end was supported by four workers –two workers at a time. They were paid 20 Swiss francs per hour, about $12, during the opening of the show. Political exiles from different countries were employed for this work, having been contacted directly through the local authorities. The laws in this country do not allow exiles to work but the authorities are fairly permissive in this matter. The authorities are given permission to pick possible jobs for political exiles.

Santiago Sierra, Object measuring 600 x 57 x 52 cm Constructed to be Held Horizontally to a Wall, Galerie Peter Kilchmann, Zürch, Switzerland, April 200, protocol work, 600 x 57 x 52 cm

protocol work, 600 x 57 x 52 cm

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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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