Santiago Sierra (born 1966 in Madrid) is a Spanish conceptual artist, whose provocative installations evoke vitriol and enthusiasm in equal amounts. In his controversial projects he encourages laborers to perform useless tasks in white cube settings, such as masturbate in public, crouch in cardboard boxes, get tattoos, get their hair dyed blonde, or carry heavy materials. He aims at unmasking the power relations under which laborers… Read more
About the artwork
Sierra's print, Economical Study on the Skin of Caracans, 2009 tackles the issues of social injustice and exploitation. Sierra discovered in Caracan, Venezuela, that the darker a persons' skin correlated with a reduction in their yearly income. The artist is not focusing on the theme of labor, although the decision to photograph an individual's back would seem to suggest so, but rather forces us to confront the issue of social segregation and the politics of power. Sierra manages to convey this issue without being overly trenchant, and demonstrates that art-based research can be an incisive and important tool for politics.