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PERSON PAID TO REMAIN TIED DOWN TO A WOODEN BLOCK, 2001

Centro de Arte Santa Mónica. Barcelona, Spain. June 2001

This piece was presented as part of a group exhibition entitled “Trans Sexual Express”, inside an art space that shares its location with the Catholic church of Santa Monica, situated in a part of town renowned for its busy sex trade. Ropes were tied from one of the pillars inside the building and connected to a wooden block situated on the upper floor. A window had to be broken in order to let the ropes go through into the level above.

Two women took turns during a week, for three hours each day, to remain tied down from their ankles to a wooden block. They were paid 5,000 pesetas an hour, some $24, the equivalent to the fixed price for sexual services in the streets of this zone. The room where they worked remained closed, without anyone seeing the women enter or leave. One of them, aware of the possible commercial workings of the piece, requested, as a condition for doing the job, 10% of the profits the artist might receive.

Santiago Sierra, Person Paid to Remain Tied Down to a Wooden Block, Centro de Arte Santa Mónica. Barcelona, Spain. June 2001, protocol work
Santiago Sierra, Person Paid to Remain Tied Down to a Wooden Block, Centro de Arte Santa Mónica. Barcelona, Spain. June 2001, protocol work
Santiago Sierra, Person Paid to Remain Tied Down to a Wooden Block, Centro de Arte Santa Mónica. Barcelona, Spain. June 2001, protocol work
Santiago Sierra, Person Paid to Remain Tied Down to a Wooden Block, Centro de Arte Santa Mónica. Barcelona, Spain. June 2001, protocol work
Santiago Sierra, Person Paid to Remain Tied Down to a Wooden Block, Centro de Arte Santa Mónica. Barcelona, Spain. June 2001, protocol work

protocol work

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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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