20 Aug mono.kultur #49 Santiago Sierra
Surprise Subscription #8
The Berlin magazine mono.kultur has been one of our favourite titles from the start. Don’t let its small format mislead you – this magazine has what it takes! The compact zine dedicates each issue entirely to one creative mind at a time. In a long and intense interview, the reader dives into their world – from the creative process to inspiration to persistence and experience. But it’s not just this profound focus that sets mono.kultur apart. It is above all the fantastic way in which these interviews are conducted, which go into depth and awaken a fascination for a person and their work – even if you have never heard of them before.
But mono.kultur #49 hits even deeper.
It is the haunting work of artist Santiago Sierra, accentuated by an all black and white design, that makes this issue so evocative. Santiago Sierra holds up a mirror to us, to humanity, to our present-day civilisation – a mirror that is difficult to look into and yet impossible to turn away from.
In his performances, he has had workers, who are paid minimum wage, perform meaningless and degrading tasks, such as moving concrete blocks from one end of the room to the other or shining visitors’ shoes during an exhibition opening. For the Venice Biennale 2003, he built a wall in the Spanish pavilion that blocked the entrance. Only Spanish citizens were allowed to enter, after having their passports controlled. In one of his most extreme productions, he lined up prostitutes like criminals in front of a wall and tattooed a continuous line on their backs for the price of a shot of heroin.
“Sierra’s remunerated actions are intentionally humiliating, offensive, and arguably immoral, pushing the worlds of art and privilege face first into a nightmarish and desperate reality of the less fortunate. They pose daunting questions about our society from the vantage point of the disadvantaged,” reads the introduction to this issue. And it is true: Sierra’s work is an uncomfortable, inescapable, confrontational social and political commentary that often causes outrage.
This issue won’t be light beach reading, but it definitely won’t leave you indifferent, either.
In case you missed out on our eighth round, you can find the latest issue of mono.kultur here or to be on the save side and never miss one of our handpicked surprise love letters from us to you – subscribe here!
And of course check out all those fantastic past issues of mono.kultur here!