2008. Santiago Sierra. BANDERA NEGRA DE LA REPÚBLICA ESPAÑOLA (published text)

The artist Santiago Sierra has created a Spanish Republic flag in black fabrics and threads, embroidered by craftsmen from Munich. By creating what could be described as an anti-symbol, his intention is to raise historical, political, philosophical and aesthetic thought on the possible effects of the failure of the II Spanish Republic within the context of our contemporary history.

This reflection is engaged by means of two initiatives: the distribution of posters bearing the image of this flag throughout the streets of Madrid and a presentation of the flag in the arts and science association of Madrid. On the artist’s decision, the presentation will be made by two speakers, both under forty years of age and from aesthetics and philosophy academic backgrounds. This choice responds to the artist’s intention to open a debate on the role of the memory of the Republic to the younger generations. The speakers will be the art critics and essayists, José Luis Corazón (who has recently published the book "La escalera da a la nada" on the thoughts of Cirlot) and Fabio Rodríguez de la Flor.

On the one hand, by intervening in the street and raising questions in passers-by using the image of the black flag, the initiative seeks to engage mass communication and, on the other, the presentation act in the arts and science association of Madrid seeks to go much deeper. The choice of this venue for staging the presentation is not arbitrary. The intention of the artist is to highlight the symbolic value of this space as an environment dedicated to fostering free thought, discussion and dialogue.

The thoughts raised by the speakers will attempt to explore the different points which, in a symbolic manner, converge in this initiative, drawing comparisons between the historical and present aspects of egalitarian ideals in Spain, and bring in such elements as the embroidery, the place of the embroidery, the connotations of the colour, with respect to mourning and libertarianism, the origins of the democratic regime, the survival of those who disappeared and the attempts to silence dissension.