Uncheck the box to avoid the aggregation and analysis of your behaviour data collected on this website. Done
Looking for something specific?
Just start typing anywhere to search anything.

Yours, KOW

World’s Largest Graffiti, 2012

Smara Refugee Camp, Algeria

For more than three decades, tens of thousands of people have lived in tents in the Smara Refugee Camp in Algeria. In October 2012, Santiago Sierra had the letters S.O.S. engraved into the desert floor outside the camp using a road grader, creating the world’s largest piece of graffiti: 5 kilometers long and 1.7 kilometers wide, with a contour extending for 37 kilometers. Sierra’s emergency call inscribed on the landscape recalls the ongoing occupation of Western Sahara by Morocco, which began in 1975 and has driven a large majority of the population into exile; most refugees have been stranded in camps in Algeria. To this day, Morocco, backed by France, has ignored UN resolutions and rulings of the International Court of Justice demanding the return of the occupied territory to the region’s tribes. The refugees will manifestly not be able to count on earthly assistance, and so Santiago Sierra chose a size and orientation for his S.O.S. that make it seem addressed to an observer in outer space. His “world’s largest piece of graffiti” was documented in a picture taken by the satellite Ikonos III.

Santiago Sierra, World’s Largest Graffiti. Smara Refugee Camp, Algeria. October 2012, C-Print, Diasec, 240 × 450.8 cm
Santiago Sierra, World’s Largest Graffiti. Smara Refugee Camp, Algeria. October 2012, C-Print, Diasec, 240 × 450.8 cm, detail
Santiago Sierra, World’s Largest Graffiti. Smara Refugee Camp, Algeria. October 2012, C-Print, Diasec, 240 × 450.8 cm, detail
Santiago Sierra, World’s Largest Graffiti. Smara Refugee Camp, Algeria. October 2012, C-Print, Diasec, 240 × 450.8 cm, detail

C-Print, Diasec, 240 × 450.8 cm

Santiago Sierra, World’s Largest Graffiti. Smara Refugee Camp, Algeria. October 2012, HD Video, b/w, sound, 16:9, 1:13 h, videostill
Santiago Sierra, World’s Largest Graffiti. Smara Refugee Camp, Algeria. October 2012, HD Video, b/w, sound, 16:9, 1:13 h, videostill
Santiago Sierra, World’s Largest Graffiti. Smara Refugee Camp, Algeria. October 2012, HD Video, b/w, sound, 16:9, 1:13 h, videostill
Santiago Sierra, World’s Largest Graffiti. Smara Refugee Camp, Algeria. October 2012, HD Video, b/w, sound, 16:9, 1:13 h, videostill
Santiago Sierra, World’s Largest Graffiti. Smara Refugee Camp, Algeria. October 2012, HD Video, b/w, sound, 16:9, 1:13 h, videostill
Santiago Sierra, World’s Largest Graffiti. Smara Refugee Camp, Algeria. October 2012, HD Video, b/w, sound, 16:9, 1:13 h, videostill

HD Video, b/w, sound, 16:9, 1:13 h

  • INDEX:

Santiago Sierra

Pigs Devouring The Italic Peninsula, 2012
Destroyed Word, 2012
World’s Largest Graffiti, 2012
Franz Erhard Walther and Santiago Sierra Demonstrating No. 46 From Walthers First Workset, 2011
NO Projected Above The Pope, 2011
War Veterans Facing The Corner, 2011 - Ongoing
Person Obstructing a Line of Containers, 2009
Attempt to Build Four 100x100 cm Sand Cubes, 2009
Teeth of the Last Gipsies of Ponticelli, 2008
THE PENETRATED (box), 2008
Burned Buildings (Found Scene), 2008
89 Huichols, 2006
Doorplate, 2006
245 m³, 2006
House in Mud, 2005
Hooded Woman Seated Facing The Wall, 2003
Hiring and Arrangement of 30 Workers in Relation to Their Skin Color, 2002
Person Saying a Phrase, 2002
3 Cubes of 100 cm on Each Side Moved 700 cm, 2002
PERSON PAID TO REMAIN TIED DOWN TO A WOODEN BLOCK, 2001
20 WORKERS IN A SHIPS HOLD, 2001
Object measuring 600 x 57 x 52 cm Constructed to be Held Horizontally to a Wall, 2001
10 Inch Line Shaved on The Heads of Two Junkies Who Received a Shot of Heroin as Payment, 2000
Obstruction of a road with different objects, 2000
The Wall of a Gallery Pulled Out, Inclined 60 Degrees From the Ground and Sustained by 5 People, 2000
8 PEOPLE PAID TO REMAIN INSIDE CARDBOARD BOXES, 1999
Obstruction of a Freeway With a Truck‘s Trailer, 1998
Gallery Burned With Gasoline, 1997
Footbridge Obstructed with Wrapping Tape, 1996
50 liters of gasoline in an abandoned field, 1994
50 kg of Plaster in the Street, 1994
2 Cylinders Each Measuring 250 × 250 cm, Composed of Posters That Have Been Torn Down, 1994
20 Pieces of Road Measuring 100 × 100 cm Pulled Up From the Ground, 1992
Walks, 1990
Mountains, 1990
Prism, 1990

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.



Full Biography

Close