Lisson Gallery presents a major retrospective of video work and new work by controversial artist Santiago Sierra. The exhibition includes a timetabled cycle of performance based films shown alongside documents, photographs and a curated selection of Sierra's shorter and less linear video works.
New works include the recently completed No Global Tour - a film documenting the manufacture and transportation through various world cities of a monumental sculpture in the form of the word "No". Conceived to be understood in as many contexts as possible; and unchanging in form and immediate meaning, the "No" gradually assumes a complex semantic load during a journey full of eventualities, accidents and unexpected events. A monumental "No" sculpture situated in the sculpture yard accompanies the film's pared down minimalism presenting a powerful portrait of a humanity that is able to assert itself everywhere and at all times by forcefully saying: "No". Death Counter, a piece comprised of an LED display counting annual number of human deaths worldwide since the beginning of the year will be mounted outside the gallery.
Addressing situations of exploitation and marginalisation Sierra's provocative works often spark controversy; especially those in which underprivileged individuals are paid for performing degrading or uncomfortable actions. Drug addicted prostitutes have received the price of a shot of heroin in exchange for having their backs tattooed 160cm Line Tattooed On 4 People (2000) - and homeless women paid the price of a night in a hostel in exchange for standing for long periods with their faces to the wall of a museum - Group Of People Facing A Wall (2002).
Sierra forces us to question the commodification of human life, exposing and challenging the structures of power that operate in our society. The essence of these works is often in the tension generated and sustained between the event or its documentation and the spectator. Sierra has created a body of work that rescues and renews the expressive power of minimalism and conceptualism, with a political charge that encourages reflection on the classical problems of Western art while denouncing our current situation.