Santiago Sierra

Biography of Santiago Sierra

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 become invisible in times of capitalism.


In Santiago Sierra’s work, he deals with topics such as immigration, poverty, isolation of laborer and product, widening class divisions, and other structural political and economical problems. At the 2003 Venice Biennale he disguised the “España” sign at the Spanish pavilion with black plastic. Solely Spanish passport holders were allowed to enter the site, only to find parts of the destroyed installation from the previous year. Oftentimes Sierra documents his work using photography and film.


Among Santiago Sierra’s multiples are works such as 11 Constructions with 10 Modules and 10 Workers, a portfolio box containing 111 photographs, as well as Europe, an LP with the National Anthems of 27 European countries played simultaneously and continuously. He studied in Madrid, Hamburg, and Mexico City, where he works and has lived since 1995.

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