This artwork addresses the politico-economic situation in Spain, making references to past and recent history to instigate a dialogue about how the course of events and the connections between Politics, Monarchy and Holy See has had an influenced in the configuration of culture.
The different symbology and iconography refer to the three principles that have made the new world: liberal democracy, scientific experimentation and industrialization. Despite the symmetric composition, the sculpture exposes a dark, chaotic and surreal atmosphere, with a strong monumental character achieved with the use of jewellery casting techniques that achieve higher detail on the small hand modelled waxes cast in bronze and silver. This provides a distant observation allowing us to recollect the symbols and ideas displayed, like clues or pieces of a puzzle that must be connected to unveil the message. This dissociation from the self and preconceived ideas invites the viewer to travel into this dream-like scheme opening a dialogue about history, destiny and choices, triggering questions starting with “What if”.
The materials used are part of the narrative and symbology. Displayed on a walnut wood base that supports the different elements made of copper (nails), bronze (medals and cross) and silver (skull).
In this order, we can appreciate the economic value of the elements in a pyramidal aspect.
Wood is the predominant material and represents nature, the planet, the base of life, but it is shown as something secondary and external to us. The copper nails that “grow” around and pin the cross, represent human actions, evolution and development, industry and technology. Copper, is also part of bronze’s alloy, linking both to introduce the next level represented by the elements made on bronze. Bronze represents the resultant mixture of human actions, as people “nails”, allowing the redundancy, the ideas and beliefs that configured a society and makes possible a higher position of other organisms to have influence; religion (the cross), laws (the hand), government and economy (the medals standing on the corners). They all are essential parts of society, but they all need to be combined in balance for a strong and effective result. When bronze and silver meet, the idea of competition, podium, winner and/or power inevitably echoes. Silver is the main figure, the biggest and more complex, full of symbols and contradictions, shows confusion and dependence to a base but also feels weightless, on top of the pyramid, powerful and over the rest of the elements. This is represented by a twisted and deformed skull; people and society, a skull with a crown made of elements representing the three principles that have made the new world: liberal democracy, scientific experimentation and industrialization. The use of the skull as an emblem of the morality of humans represented as the receptacle used in the processes of transmutation, the origin of thought and therefore of the supreme commandment, representing the microcosmic avatar of God, being the matrix of spirit, intelligence and knowledge. Despite the multiple variations and interpretations, probably the most common and accepted meaning of a skull, is an undeniable and universal connection; death. This leads to the idea that we all share the same ultimate destiny. Could this reality be a reason to unite us all?
Fear is presented as the problem, and the fear to die, which is the most primitive survival instinct can be a powerful tool to divide and control the masses.
The cross supporting this silver piece not only represents religion but also the culture and other beliefs. Beliefs and imagination are strongly connected and drive societies to evolve and move forward but they can cut both ways if they depend on an organization, conditioning ideas and pushing people to take sides, therefore dividing and confronting.
The artwork alludes to two essential periods in Spanish history: in 1492, Christian faith triumphed over the entire Iberian Peninsula with the reconquest war, expelling a large part of the Muslim and Jewish population. And, the discovery of the Americas by explorer Christopher Columbus. Both events lead to the called Spanish Golden Age and the biggest expansion of Christian faith.
The second is part of modern history, going from 1936, when the Spanish Civil War broke out, until the current century when in 2014 Juan Carlos abdicated in favour of his son Felipe V.
This part of history seems a blurry and elusive subject which, for example, I was never taught about the civil war at school, which is, indeed, bizarre. This contradiction and the proximity to my generation is represented by using four coins from different periods that show the faces of dictator Francisco Franco, former king Juan Carlos I (one after the transition and the other after Spain entered the EU and embraced the new currency) and the one of the current king Felipe VI. These are standing upside down like tops of trees, with the back highly polished, mirrors of society in the different periods of history where we can still see our reflection, framing the composition and connecting economy, state and religion as forces that shape culture, reminding us of the confusing atmosphere resultant from the mixture of State, Monarchy and Holy See dormant in Spanish society as if it was partially taboo and to be avoided in public spaces and scholars books.
The title “Giratutona”, literally a ‘neck turner’, is a Romansh word that refers to somebody who trims their sails to every wind, alluding to the contraposition of the past; the Spanish Golden Age, including Portugal, when sailing was the medium to travel. And the present; where Spanish society still lives in a time of uncertainty and division of an unclear modern history and doesn’t know yet to what direction ‘turn the neck’.