PERFORMANCE 21, 22 AND 23 MAY AND 18, 19 JUNE, 6-9 PM
May 21st – June 20th, 2009
Opening: Thursday May 21st / 6 pm
Prometeogallery di Ida Pisani via Ventura 3, Milano
Curated by Marco Scotini
Prometeogallery di Ida Pisani is pleased to announce the second solo exhibition by Santiago Sierra in its premises in Via Ventura, following on from the Los Anarquistas project presented two years ago. On this new occasion, Sierra will not be presenting documentary material but rather carrying out an authentic action: this is the first action created for the city of Milan and it is one of the few that the celebrated artist has put on in Italy.
Internationally recognised as one of the most controversial names on the present-day art scene, Santiago Sierra has been working since the 1990s on the fundamental contradictions of contemporary capitalism. While from many quarters there has been a stress on the importance of relationships and coexistence, Sierra was one of the first to present forms of antagonism, as Claire Bishop has written, and right from the outset he has sought to adopt a concrete social and economic approach. Taking up a minimalist inheritance, Sierra has constantly proposed an aesthetic frontier – a physical barrier and a juridical borderline – as the perceptive relationship between the subject that sees and the object that is seen. And indeed, the perceptive dualism that Modernist aesthetics has attempted to overcome returns in Sierra in the form of renewed contrasts: oppressor/oppressed, friend/enemy, accepted/excluded, subject/sovereign.
This is a completely revised form of dualism because, as Marco Scotini maintains, the type of capitalism revealed by Sierra is one that has shifted the exercise of power from “work time” to an all-inclusive “life time”: better known as biocapitalism. The human lives and bodies that throng Sierra’s works are paid to show themselves either as idle subjects or for actions that are extreme or equivocal. So far, the artist has repeatedly shown the relationship between work and workforce in actions that have become immediately legendary for the way they scandalise the public, but now Sierra has decided to enter 2009 by focusing his attention on another system of domination. This is no longer work or the economy, but sex. Again we find entangled bodies, but now they are caught up in a different device: that of sexuality.
And it is sex that appears as a powerfully dense passageway for power relationships and subjection: between men and women, young and old, parents and children, religious orders and lay society, teachers and pupils, rich and poor, administrators and citizens. But there is more, for the sexualisation of the body appears as the original template for the distribution or disciplining of sensitivity and as a system of submission. In January, Sierra presented his 45-minute film “Los penetrados”, in which ten couples of different sexes (women and men) and different races (black and white) perform every possible combination of anal penetration. If this is the work that was presented in Madrid, what does he have in mind for Milan?