Nuevo Monumentalismo / We just want to set the world on fire
Third solo show of Kepa Garraza in the Gallery presenting his last two last projects: Nuevo Monumentalismo and We just want to set the world on fire.
With Nuevo monumentalismo, Kepa Garraza proposes a critical and reflexive vision of the role and function of the public monument, also inviting us to explore the relationship between art, power and propaganda. The artist creates fictitious alternatives to the monumental statues that we usually find in public spaces, as a kind of “substitution game”.
His creative process begins with digital 3D modelling to generate these sculptures, allowing the artist to play with scale, texture, lighting and finish. Kepa then contextualises the imaginary sculptures by introducing them into famous public monuments of monarchs, military men and leaders. In this way, he replaces these characters and places his creations in their place, while leaving the other structures of the original monument intact.
Also part of this series is a group of works that function as a preparatory study in which the sculptures appear against a black background, highly contrasted, generating great drama. With them, the artist tries out various solutions with regard to their lighting and finish.
With this new project, Kepa Garraza seeks to generate dystopian stories about the representation of authority and power, since the invented images are not presented as a real or desirable alternative. Nuevo monumentalismo makes us reflect not only on the function of the public monument in relation to power and violence, but also on the symbolism used in the representation of any kind of authority.
The series We just want to set the world on fire, with its provocative name, is inspired by the protests that erupted when the restrictions resulting from the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic were lifted. These demonstrations, which shook the whole world, are rooted in feelings of anger, frustration and indignation due to the ineffectiveness of governments and the impoverishment of many sectors of the population. All this has led Kepa Garraza to create a series of works as a visual testimony of these revolts and protests that show the turbulent and uncertainty of our times and that denounce the inability to face the social, political, ecological and consumer changes so demanded by the population.
The works that make up this series can be divided into two groups. The first group is made up of drawings of a more real and informative nature, created from images from various news agencies. These photographs are an explicit and graphic account, a direct testimony of this period of social conflict and a reference point for a series of black and white drawings. These representations are delocalized, without any chronological context, something that helps to generate a dislocated narrative that leads us to think that the scenes could take place in any corner of the planet. The second group of works is made up of completely invented and fictitious recreations that the artist has created, which have a more unreal and artificial character.
All of this forces the viewer to make an effort to discern between fiction and reality and fulfils the artist’s aim of questioning the nature of all the representations that make up his work, by means of ambiguous images that show an undelimited and falsified reality. This fits in with the virtual reality that he depicts in this project, a reality in which we are constantly immersed, where it is difficult to separate the truthful and real from the fictitious, and which has in fake news its greatest exponent.