For the past two decades, Santiago Sierra has carried out provocative actions around the world. Influenced by the formal language of the minimal and conceptual art movements of the 1960s and 70s, Santiago Sierra’s work addresses the hierarchies of power and class that operate in our modern society and everyday existence. Sierra became well known for his actions in which underprivileged or marginalised individuals were hired to perform menial or pointless tasks in exchange for money. Pieces such as Person paid to have a 30 cm line tattooed on them, Regina Street # 51, Mexico City, May 1998 (1998) or 8 people paid to remain inside cardboard boxes, G&T Building. Guatemala City, August 1999 (1999) underline the situations of labourers’ exploitation, isolation, and repression within capitalist structures. By transforming individuals into consumer goods, Sierra also highlights current socio-political issues while challenging the intrinsic mechanisms of reality. As a result, the essence of his work can often be found exemplified in the tension that is generated and sustained between the ephemeral performance, its documentation, and the spectator. The latter is hence exposed to the edges of morality and permissibility, but also to the formal and poetic articulation of the voices of those who are ordinarily invisible or unheard.
Santiago Sierra was born in Madrid in 1966, where he lives and works. He has undertaken projects in many countries including Argentina, Algeria, Korea, Poland, Cuba and Iceland. He studied Fine Arts at the Universidad Complutense in Madrid and at the University of Fine Arts in Hamburg (HFBK) between 1989 and 1991, as well as at the Academy of San Carlos in Mexico City between 1995 and 1997. Recent solo shows include ACVic Centre d'Arts Contemporànies, Barcelona, Spain (2018); Museu de Lleida, Spain (2018); Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea, Milan, Italy (2017); Centro Cultural Recoleta, Buenos Aires, Argentina (2017); Prometeo gallery, Milan, Italy (2016); Helga de Alvear, Madrid, Spain (2016); Labor, Mexico (2015); Kunsthalle Tübingen, Germany (2013); Te Tuhi Centre, New Zealand (2013); Reykjavik Art Museum, Iceland (2012); Museo Madre, Napels, Italy (2009); CAC Malaga, Spain (2006); Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens, Ghent, Belgium (2004). Santiago Sierra has also been featured in numerous group exhibitions including the Imperial War Museum, London (2018); ECCO, Cádiz, Spain (2018); Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center, Moscow, Russia (2018); Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt (2017); Museum of Modern Art, Poland (2016); National Gallery of Art, Poland (2015); Kunsthalle Dusseldorf (2014); Hamburger Bahnhof - Museum for Contemporary Art, Berlin (2014). Santiago Sierra represented Spain at the 50th Venice Biennale in 2003, where he presented his works Covered Word and Wall Enclosing a Spaceand Hooded Woman Seated Facing the Wall.
Santiago Sierra: Impenetrable Structure
14 July – 26 August 2017
Santiago Sierra: Dedicated to the Workers ...
1 February – 3 March 2012
Santiago Sierra: New Works
30 November 2007 – 19 January 2008
13 July – 28 August 2004
Santiago Sierra: Part 2
16 October – 6 November 2002
Santiago Sierra: Part 1
10 September – 10 October 2002