Santiago Sierra's Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

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 – – you know it makes (no) sense!


Comment by David Hockney on 2009-04-01 14:15:14 +0000

I thought the shattered frontage of the Royal Bank of Scotland was a nice added touch.

Comment by Benjamin Péret on 2009-04-01 14:42:09 +0000

I found Sierra’s “Four Horsement” truly surreal!

Comment by Michael Bakunin on 2009-04-01 15:58:00 +0000

I want ice cream!

Comment by Hughie Green on 2009-04-01 16:57:17 +0000

I enjoyed the entertainments but felt they were a bit drawn out, about an hour would have been long enough for anyone… also all the actors deployed around the Bank of England made it very hard to view the art work.

Comment by Paula Yates on 2009-04-01 17:16:47 +0000

You’re not my dad!!

Comment by The Fake T. J. Clarke on 2009-04-01 18:09:44 +0000

Art can’t kill the proletariat’s urge to rebel!

Comment by K Mail on 2009-04-01 18:34:24 +0000

Don’t forget your history or your destiny, rat race, rat race…. PS Bob Marley isn'[t really my father…..

Comment by TT on 2009-04-01 18:52:04 +0000

Seems that some of those banks would have benifited from his work today. As I see it, he has also left up new canvas’ for street artists work to be done! Top blog.

Comment by TT on 2009-04-01 18:52:43 +0000

i meant benefited…

Comment by The Real Tessie on 2009-04-01 19:00:33 +0000

The death of art spells the murder of artists… then the real anti-artists appear!

Comment by David Gell on 2009-04-01 19:09:22 +0000

I’d like to hear more about Sierra’s Latino love for sale girls.

Comment by Wilhelm Reich on 2009-04-01 20:31:33 +0000

How right people like Santiago Sierra are to struggle against this sexually repressive society.

Comment by Joe Cassano on 2009-04-01 23:39:10 +0000

Kill the pigs! Acid’s groovy!

Comment by The New Brian Sewell on 2009-04-02 09:57:29 +0000

That isn’t art, that’s just a load of old rubbish!

Comment by Timothy Leary on 2009-04-02 11:08:22 +0000

I heard that Jamie Oliver is in cahoots with Stewart Home and the KLF and has laced the food of G20 (b)leaders with LSD!!!
Turn out, tune off and drop in!

Comment by King of (t)he World on 2009-04-02 14:05:49 +0000

The concept of occult war must be defined within the context of the dilemma. The occult war is a battle that is waged imperceptibly by the forces of global subversion, with means and in circumstances ignored by current historiography. The notion of occult war belongs to a three-dimensional view of history: this view does not regard as essential the two superficial dimensions of time and space (which include causes, facts, and visible leaders) but rather emphasizes the dimension of depth, or the “subterranean” dimension in which forces and influences often act in a decisive manner, and which, more often than not, cannot be reduced to what is merely human, whether at an individual or a collective level.
Having said that, it is necessary to specify the meaning of the term subterranean. We should not think, in this regard, of a dark and irrational background which stands in relation to the known forces of history as the unconscious stands to consciousness, in the way the latter relationship is discussed in the recently developed “Depth Psychology.” If anything, we can talk about the unconscious only in regard to those who, according to the three-dimensional view, appear to be history’s objects rather than its subjects, since in their thoughts and conduct they are scarcely aware of the influences which they obey and the goals that they contribute toward achieving.

Comment by Michael Roth on 2009-04-03 04:44:24 +0000

I’m not familiar with Sierra but his works sound interesting. I assume he choose the City because it is seen as a financial centre. Maybe he wanted that ghost town look in the night, an effect he would not have gotten in some of the other parts of London? Unfortunately, there wasn’t much about this work on his website. Did you get a chance to meet him?
I’d also like to hear more about Sierra’s love for sale girls. Include photos or video, if possible.

Comment by mistertrippy on 2009-04-04 09:00:05 +0000

Strange how the art world and the net still don’t entirely match, although art etc students do their research on it now, so in the longer term that is impacting…. I think we should pay Sierra not to make work and to have an ink line on his back! We could make a movie, “The Revenge of the Love For Sale Girls”…..

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