artist / participant
Mexican artist Gonzalo Lebrija’s work investigates the spaces we share, involving both real and imagined political, social and economic narratives. In 2003, he took part in an artists’ workshop in the South Sinai desert on the Gulf of Aqaba which coincided with the beginning of the war in Iraq. The workshop was regularly punctuated by round-the-clock TV broadcasts and the sounds of American aeroplanes ﬂying overhead. The resulting work, Lights On, shot through the windscreen of a car, ﬁlms the road ahead. Played in slow motion, a vehicle approaches in the opposite direction and suddenly switches on its headlights. At this moment, the sound of a match being lit is placed over the image, creating a sudden fraught uncertainty that shatters the former tranquility.
Aranjuez was created during the 2002 World Cup and ﬁlmed in a public square in Mexico City. At ﬁrst glance, the scene is one of both festival and riot, conveying a sense of celebration with brooding underlying tension. On closer inspection, we see a woman trying to walk through the crowds. As she is jostled by exuberant fans, the innocence of the action takes a dark turn transforming into some kind of unpleasant game. The work is set to Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez, music traditionally associated with Spain, caricatured as a land of bull ﬁghts and bull runs, adding to the sense of disquiet. Social, physical and psychological spaces collide as the potential for violence through collective behaviour is implied.
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