Labor is pleased to present 52 lienzos expuestos al aire de la Ciudad de México, Santiago Sierra’s second solo show at the gallery.
Indebted to the premises of minimalism and conceptualism, Santiago Sierra (Madrid, 1966) has produced a body of work shaped through sculpture, documentation, public acts, film projects, and photography to reveal the perversity of power and the capitalist system. Through his work, Sierra forces the spectator to experience the brutal nature of reality in light of the scenes he recreates; his strategy is to repeat the power operations that he himself criticizes.
52 lienzos expuestos al aire de la Ciudad de México is composed of 52 canvases with an adhesive that were located reposing on the floor ready to receive whatever the environment might bring. Every week during a year, one canvas was removed, and taken to a conservationist to seal the contaminants captured by these witnesses of the precipitous decline of air conditions in Mexico City’s notoriously polluted environment. —A blight that earned the capital the dubious distinction of most polluted megacity on the planet in 1992*.
52 lienzos expuestos al aire de la Ciudad de México not only refers to Mexico, as the rest of the world’s urban areas and their associated congestion continues to expand, most countries are witnessing increases in airborne contaminants, from noxious gases such as nitrogen oxides and ozone to fine particulate matter such as dust, soot, and nanospheres of metals that penetrate deep into the human body.
Time being a crucial element of this equation, the piece brings a sentiment of urgency that supports the militant voices of our time.
The World Health Organization’s officials gathered blunt data in the same scientific manner as this oeuvre. Statistics show that polluted air is implicated in more than 7 million premature deaths per year, visually this piece manifests this process.