Santiago Sierra – Films and Works
20 January–10 April 2012

Reykjavik Art Museum – Hafnarhús
Tryggvagata 17
101 Reykjavik

Films and Works will be the first presentation of the complete collection of Santiago Sierra’s films and video documentation up to his most recent project Destroyed Word.

The exhibition comprises 48 videos as well as the continuation of the NO, Global Tour project. The monumental sculpture NO will be brought to Reykjavik, where it will appear at politically and economically significant sites.

In his work, Sierra confronts the underlying structures of social and economic hegemony with a sophisticated political irony and a biting social critique. The driving force behind such projects as NO, Global Tour is a rejection of complacency and conformism to established power structures. It is an expressed dissatisfaction with the failures of democracy in the light of democracy’s own principles. If the emphasis in Sierra’s work is on disagreement and differences of positions, it is to underscore those principles. This is why Sierra’s art has a particular significance for Icelandic audience at this time. With all of the country’s major banks collapsing in 2008, Iceland’s small population suffered a major economic and political crisis, which has called for a far-reaching rethinking of the country’s social and political institutions. By presenting a comprehensive documentation of Sierra’s approach in diverse sites and socio-political situations, the intent is to focus attention on the importance of uncompromising critical evaluation and continued opposition to the social and political structures that caused the crisis.

Born in Madrid in 1966, Santiago Sierra studied in Madrid, Hamburg and Mexico City. He lived for 14 years in Mexico, which deeply influenced his views on art and politics. Sierra has participated in numerous group and solo exhibitions in such prestigious international institutions as Tate Modern, London; KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Irish Museum of Modern Art – IMMA, Dublin; CAC, Malaga; ICA, Boston; and P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, New York. He represented Spain at the 50th Venice Biennial International Art Exhibition in 2003. In 2010 Sierra was awarded the Spanish National Prize for Visual Arts, which he rejected on the grounds that the prize “exploits the prestige of its winner for the benefit of the state.” Currently, Sierra lives and works in Madrid.


Film Screening, Tuesday 24 January, 8 p.m.: NO, Global Tour will be released at Cinema Paradise.

Performance, Saturday 18 February, 3 p.m.: Destroyed Word. The event is one of ten similar actions at different locations around the world, each offering the destruction of a new letter in various materials, which will accumulate and form the destruction of a significant word representing the demise of western culture.

Symposium and Panel Discussion, Sunday 11 March, 2 p.m.: Moderated by philosopher Egill Arnarson.

*Image above:
Santiago Sierra, NO Pope, Madrid 2011. Courtesy of Santiago Sierra & Lisson Gallery, London.