Magazine article Artforum International

Jesus Martinez Oliva: Sala Veronicas

Magazine article Artforum International

Jesus Martinez Oliva: Sala Veronicas

Article excerpt

The first thing one saw upon entering the central nave of the eighteenth-century Veronicas church was a sort of square-shaped, wall-like construction, flanked by two lower horizontal ones stretching back at an angle. Behind these, a light flickered and confusing sounds could be heard. On closer inspection, one discovered that the structure formed by these squares was made of green boards taken from desks of the sort used in Spanish schools. On the other side of the "wall," it became clear that the light and the sounds were coming from three videos being projected on screens attached to the legs of the desks. In Impossible Is Nothing (all works 2005), the first projection, to the left, there was a video loop in which the logos of sports brands like Adidas and Nike could be discerned, along with their slogans (in English): IMPOSSIBLE IS NOTHING and YOU ARE FASTER THAN YOU THINK; and, in Spanish, DESAFIAR, CONTROLAR, ASCENDER, DOMINAR (challenge, control, rise up, master). The fast-paced background music suggested a nightclub. The second screen, in the middle, showed a group of teenagers doing risky and dangerous stunts on powerful motorcycles (Carreras de motos). Their tricks attest to their control and macho arrogance. On the third screen, to the right, was Masleta (Stunt), which showed a city square full of smoke. The sound was deafening, the smoke caused by firecrackers and fireworks--again, the work of would-be tough guys. The three screens were fastened to the structure made from the school desks.

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Additionally, in a lateral nave, Martinez Oliva put up children's drawings in which gender identification was unconditional: The girls drew feminine figures; the boys, masculine ones. …

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