I made a tour of the City of London around midnight to check out the final stages in the construction of a major new street installation by Santiago Sierra entitled The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. The controversial Spanish artist, represented in London by the Lisson Gallery, had workers boarding up a series of buildings. These were mainly shops since apparently the many banks in the area didn’t want their frontages spoiled by an artist. The greatest concentration of sealed buildings are located immediately around the Bank of England, but more can be found in Moorgate and Bishopsgate too. The businesses participating range from shops selling shoes and bagels to at least one branch of Carphone Warehouse. Since the city is traditionally a relatively quite area of London outside of business hours, I didn’t feel the intervention was particularly effective and that it would have had much more impact in Soho or Camden. The installation is coming down at the end of the week, so get along to the City today if you want to judge it for yourself.
For those who aren’t familiar with Sierra (born 1966), this is how the Wikipedia summarises his work. It “…reflects his views on capitalism, labour, and exploitation. For instance, he paid a group of workers to move a heavy rock from a point A to a point B and vice versa. On another occasion he paid drug-addicted prostitutes from Brazil in their drug of choice to have a line tattooed across their backs. He also caused controversy by covering ten Iraqi immigrants in insulating polyurethane foam and waiting for it to harden. Another of his well known projects is a room of mud in Hanover, Germany, commemorating the job-creation measure origin of the Maschsee. In 2006, he provoked controversy with his installation 245 cubic metres, a gas chamber created inside a former synagogue in Pulheim, Germany.” And, of course, he has also done things like block off the Spanish Pavilion at the Venice Biennial, allowing only Spanish nationals inside…. and made work around boarded up banks in Buenos Aires when the Argentinian currency collapsed.
And while you’re at it don’t forget to check – www.stewarthomesociety.org – you know it makes (no) sense!