About Santiago Sierra

 

Santiago Sierra (b. 1966) is preoccupied in his practice with, among other issues, problematizing the value of labour, as can be seen in the many works where he pays excluded social groups to participate in what are often quite pointless, physically exhausting, directly humiliating, labour. This can be seen in the work '10 People Paid To Masturbate' (2000) where ten men from Havana, Cuba, were paid 20$ to masturbate alone in front of a video camera. In '133 Persons Paid To Have Their Hair Dyed Blond' (2001) 133 illegal immigrants from third-world counties in Asia and Africa were paid to have their hair bleached in connection with the Venice Biennale the same year. A small group of immigrants who primarily lived by selling copied bags were subsequently invited to sell bags as part of the actual art exhibi­tion. The work 'NO' (2009) consists of a simple “No” in large black-painted letters. The expression only takes on meaning when it is placed in a context and the mean­ing changes depending on the specific setting of which it forms a part. Sierra in other words offers us a work that is on the one hand meaningless, but on the other hand can be inserted in a multitude of contexts and functions as a kind of protest or opposition to the way things work.

Portrait Santiago Sierra