Lisson Gallery

Santiago Sierra: Part 1

10 September – 10 October 2002

Santiago Sierra: Part 1

Lisson Gallery is delighted to announce the inaugural exhibition at their new gallery, 29 Bell Street, with the installation ‘Space closed by corrugated metal’ 2002 by Santiago Sierra.

Originally from Spain, but now based in Mexico, Sierra has become well known for his controversial video work and installations, which highlight the problematical nature of a capitalist economy. His past projects are remarkably diverse; in an earlier work he used petrol to set fire to a gallery on its opening night and in New York he hired someone to live behind a wall at P.S.1 Gallery for 15 days, 24 hours a day. The tasks Sierra selects are usually repetitive, pointless and absurd. For his solo exhibition at the IKON Gallery earlier this year Sierra paid an Irish street vagrant in Birmingham’s New Street to say “My participation in this piece could generate a profit of 72, 000 dollars. I am being paid five pounds.” While this appears highly exploitative, the beggar in the video, and many other of Sierra’s participants are willing victims and paid at least as much as the local average wage.

His work could be seen as merely reflecting the harsh reality of a market economy where everyone has their price, but much of his work has a powerful minimalist aesthetic and a poetic simplicity that transforms its political rhetoric into something more subtle and indeterminate. It can also be seen in the tradition of Arte Povera and the socially engaged process artists of the 1970s.

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