LOS EMBARRADOS by Santiago Sierra

Labor is pleased to announce the upcoming opening of the solo exhibition of renowned conceptual artist Santiago Sierra, entitled "Los Embarrados", which will take place on Thursday, April 11th in the gallery’s main space.

The exhibition features six photographs and thirteen drawings capturing the installation created by Sierra for a fashion show held in Paris in October 2022, in collaboration with the renowned Spanish luxury fashion house, Balenciaga.

On this occasion, Sierra revisited his work "House in Mud", originally presented at the Kestner Gesellschaft in Hannover in 2005. The artist used 320 m3 of material, including 55 m3 of mud and 265 m3 of peat, to create a visual representation of the discomfort and anguish associated with German history. In "Los Embarrados", this anguish is transposed to contemporary reality, manifesting itself as a symbolic indigestion, a palpable nightmare of the current geopolitical situation. The work is inspired by elements of Caspar David Friedrich's Romantic painting, the lead-splattered performance in Richard Serra's Gutter Corner Splash: Night Shift (1969/1995), as well as Linda Benglis's melting sculptures.

Reflecting on the trajectory of Santiago Sierra, born in Madrid in 1966, 2024 viewers will notice the deep connection between his exploration of contemporary capitalism’s dynamics and his denunciation of precarious labor. Sierra reveals how dictatorship and neoliberalism are intertwined, forming part of the same oppressive structure. Through his art, Sierra directly confronts the viewer with the systemic violence of capitalism, by using the human body as a means to express political criticism and expose the inherent dehumanization within the system. While Sierra offers no easy solutions, his work seeks to challenge established norms and question the normalization of neoliberal violence in contemporary society. His radical and uncompromising approach provokes reflection and debate, challenging the viewer's complacency and complicity with the injustices of the system.

As for the artist's controversial stance towards the act of denouncing, Sierra stands out for taking his criticisms to "obscene" extremes, without offering any consolation or humanistic idealism. His aim is to directly confront the brutality of the capitalist system, laying bare its barbarism without embellishment or justification. Ultimately, Sierra forces us to confront the uncomfortable and often indigestible reality of our own complicity within an oppressive system.