LIVING IN THE END TIMES IN LJUBLJANA
29 March 2013, Cervera de los Montes
On Monday, I’m off to Ljubljana. I'm going to read during the flight Slavoj Žižek's Living in the End Times. I think Mr. Žižek is the only Slovenian celebrity I know. Or is Melania Trump also from there?
The exhibition Cake Theory at Galerija Alkatraz has been planned for over two years and finally Jernej makes it happen. I'll have old and new cake drawings and Katja shows her new cake paintings and then we shipped there also the two collaborative paintings we did for the show already in 2011. I have also prepared a slide show of brand cakes (Mercedes, Marlboro, McDonald’s…) people bake in their homes and Katja will do a mural to accompany the pictures. I like this kind of theme shows. I also did with Jernej's help a list of the local politicians to be pied.
Yesterday, I received an invitation for a dinner at the Embassy of Finland in Ljublajna and today I found out that the ambassador will inaugurate the show. I don’t like to represent the government of Finland. Don’t they know that I’m a dissident? Or is this their strategy to make me harmless? Do the ambassadors of the People’s Republic of China invite Ai Weiwei over for dinner?
25 March 2013, Cervera de los Montes
I began the year with a series of drawings, then I injured my finger in the icy and slippery Helsinki and couldn't do any studio work for more than a month. Now I'm again in action - painting a the largest work ever, titled 57 Varieties referring to the famous slogan of Heinz. The work consists of 30x36cm 57 red monochromes, each different color, painted with oil, acrylic, enamel and spray. The paintings have a white strip where I'll write the reference.
5 Manchester United
6 Red Star Belgrade
9 Soviet Union
10 Khmer Rouge
13 Social Democracy
14 Republican Party
15 The Thin Red Line
17 Sugo alla puttanesca
19 Santa Claus
20 Red light district
21 Spanish national football team
22 Tomate frito
23 Red card
24 The Legend of the Red Lantern
25 Red Army Faction
27 The Little Red Book
28 Donald Duck’s car
29 Red nose
30 Lightning McQueen
31 Moulin Rouge
32 Red alert
33 Snow White’s apple
34 Red carpet
35 Johnnie Walker Red Label
37 Camicie rosse
38 Red Baron
40 Red Sea
42 Red Cross
43 Three Colors: Red
44 Red Bull
46 Ocean Spray
47 London Bus
48 Red Square
51 Red meat
52 Marlboro Red
53 Red Planet
54 Fire brigade
56 Little Red Riding Hood
57 Red herring
THE VENICE BIENNALE SYNDROME
20 March 2013, Cervera de los Montes
Last week, the artists of the Venice Biennale were announced. The main exhibition curated by Massimiliano Gioni is titled The Encyclopedic Palace. Madrid based curator Paco Barragán complained that no Spanish artists are included in the show. Knowing Paco, he was being sarcastic but I heard the same patriotic concerns said in a serious tone from Finland - and I can imagine similar comments in other countries that have no representation in the spectacle.
The Spaniards have a Madrid syndrome – their empire on which the sun never set fell down long ago. They had Velázquez, Goya, Picasso, Miró and Dalí – now they have only Santiago Sierra, who did few years ago the most important intervention of the Biennale’s history by sealing the entrance of the Spanish Pavilion, only to allow Spanish citizens to enter and see the left over pieces of the previous year’s exhibition. Sierra explained his works saying that in the context of the Biennale we are all playing at national pride and I wanted to reveal that as the principal system of every pavilion... you can’t forget that the countries that participate in the Biennale are the most powerful ones in the world. I mean, there’s no pavilion for Ethiopia. Later, Sierra turned down the National Prize of the Spanish ministry of culture.
New York based curator Octacio Zaya observed that Gioni's Biennale is a return to the 90's values - the West and and the rest. I think that it's the way it has to be, art is not independent of the society, politics and market. The art world is not a utopia. If you want a different art world, you must change the whole world.
Shun asked me whether I’m going to the Venice opening in June. I don’t travel to see art. I prefer to spend my free time with the family and not networking in the art world or seeing art. I don’t like art that much. It's just my job.
I was once in Venice, it was in 2001. Paco and Lola were having lunch at my place, then I lived in Madrid. They were living in the Northern Italy and leaving the same evening by car back home. Spontaneously, I decided to join them and go to the Biennale opening. Of course, I had no invitation. I jumped over the fence to the Giardini where the national pavilions are located. Unfortunately, I couldn’t access to the other exhibition site - Arsenale. I was looking for the late Harald Szeeman, that year's curator and the biggest curator of the short history of the contemporary curating. I carried cream and a cake base in my bag. The guerilla plan was to pie Mr. Szeeman but, for his good luck, I couldn’t find him.
THE GLOBAL MALL STUDIO
15 March 2013, Cervera de los Montes
The hypermarket is an extension of my studio. I drove to Carrefour and bought some cleaning products with interesting names to form slogans. Then I went to the adjunct shopping mall and got from Springfield ten of their paper bags. I love the name of this Spanish clothing chain, it’s where the Simpsons live. The girls were a bit nervous for my request and said that I should buy at least something, so I got also a really nice linen shirt for the summer. I explained that I’m artist and promised not to tell their boss how I got the bags and what I'm going to with them.
The paper bag has a list of the countries where the company operates, including capitalist and socialist, multi-party and single-party states: Albania, Andorra, Austria, Australia, EUROPEAN BRAND - GLOBAL STYLE, Bosnia Herzegovina, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Chile, Costa Rica, NOW IN CHINA, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, FITS YOUR LIFESTYLE - RESPECTS YOUR PERSONALITY, Egypt, Estonia, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Libya, FUN - CASUAL - YOUNG SPIRITED - SMART, Lithuania, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Malaysia, Morocco, Myanmar, Netherlands, Mexico, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Slovak Republic, Serbia, South Korea, Switzerland, Syria, Taiwan, Ukraine, Spain, Venezuela, UAE, SPRINGFIELD.
I tweeted to the corporation and asked whether their store in Damascus is still operative due to the sanctions imposed by the axis of evil (the United States, the European Union and the Gulf dictatorships). They replied me that unfortunately at the moment the shop is closed but they’ll inform me when it’s reopened.
AI WEIWEI IS THE NEW HELLO KITTY
12 March 2013, Cervera de los Montes
Hello Kitty's appeared for the first time in 1974 in a vinyl coin purse. The merchandising was there first and the vague substance was invented later. This was a postmodern and successful attitude. In the modern times, Disney had to create films and comics for Mickey Mouse before launching stuff for the fans and opening theme parks.
The most famous, the most admired, the most powerful and probably the richest artist at the moment, Ai Weiwei, is going to to release a heavy metal album. What's next? A perfume? A clothing line? Fashion dolls? Anything can be sold with Ai's name and face.
Ai Weiwei is the new Hello Kitty. He is a truly postmodern artist. The modern artists still create art works. Who remembers Ai's works? But you can't forget the artist. Ai is pure brand, like Hello Kitty. The brand and nothing else. More Warholian than Andy Warhol's wildest dreams.
I appreciate Ai's activism for the young victims of the Sichuan earthquakes - but does he understand that he is a mascot of the supporters of the governments of the West who funnily call him rebel? We love rebels - when they are rebelling against our enemies.
MONOCHROMES IN CRISIS
11 March 2013, Cervera de los Montes
The economic crisis is getting deep in my village. Yesterday, the oldest daughter of my neighbors knocked the door and told that they don't have anymore food, diapers for the baby or any other basic things. I don't like giving alms. I'm not religious. I don't have Christian moral virtues. I don't believe in goodness but in justice.
My wife said that we buy groceries for the family in need but I decided that I hire the father to work for a month. I wish I could afford more but my own economical situation doesn't permit me to do it - since several months, I haven't sold any works. I still don't know what he can do. I think first he could go to cut some wood and when the carpenter finishes the painting bases I've ordered, he can help me with me my new series of monochromes.
Malevich's monochromes were revolutionary. I hope the revolution begins and we are soon living in a socialist world where everybody has enough to eat. Meanwhile, I've decided to be a millionaire and create as many jobs as possible.
WESTERN PACIFISTS FOR YIHADISTS
06 March 2013, Cervera de los Montes
I received this e-mail today (translated and slightly abbreviated):
Dear Friend of the Peace Movement,
The Finnish Committee of 100 celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. The festivities include a commemorative book, a seminar and a film week. We kick off with a fund-raising auction of art works and serve coffee and cake and continue with Partypax Club. Now we are looking for art works to go under the hammer for the cause of pacifist work. Do you have the opportunity to donate one of your works?
Best Regards, Eekku Aromaa, General Secretary of the 100 Committee
This was my reply:
Dear Eekku Aromaa,
Thank you for contacting me. I just had a look to your website and it seems that our perspectives concerning the civil war in Syria are very different. An article published on your website clearly backs the Islamic rebellion. If that represents the opinion of the Committee of 100, we stand on opposite sides. I support the legitimate government of the Syrian Arab Republic (in the article Assad) and the Syrian Arab Army (in the article Assad's troops) in the struggle against the rebellion sponsored by the NATO and the Gulf dictatorships (or should I speak about Obama's troops). It is very sad that a peace movement organization speaks for an armed insurrection aiming to establish Sharia and to commit an ethnic cleansing in Syria.
Best Regards, Riiko Sakkinen
LESS THAN 10 EUROS DOGMA
03 March 2013, Cervera de los Montes
The greatest art works are those that could have been done by anybody who has an outstanding idea. It's easy to produce awesome stuff if you have a large budget but I think money doesn't make ideas better.
I wrote down a set of rules called Less Than 10 Euros Dogma. Most of my works don't meet the rules but some of them do, like the list drawings (can't be framed) or some objects and actions. I can't be totally dogmatic or at least my production would be very low - I don't have that many great ideas.
LESS THAN 10 EUROS DOGMA
Production of an art work must not require
- technical skills or talent
- special tools or instruments
- studio space
- providers of any service
- more than €10
SPORTSCAR LIBRARY MODEL
01 March 2013, Cervera de los Montes
Libraries gave us power
Then work came and made us free
What price now for a shallow piece of dignity
Manic Street Preachers: A Design for Life
Recently, British writer of children's bestsellers Terry Deary said public libraries are a drain on taxpayers and authors that no longer makes sense. Obviously, this is a normal right-wing statement but much more interesting was Mr. Deary demagogy in The Guardian’s interview: Bookshops are closing down because someone is giving away the product they are trying to sell. What other industry creates a product and allows someone else to give it away, endlessly? The car industry would collapse if we went to car libraries for free use of Porsches.
I´ve stated many times that I want socialism where everybody can drive a BMW. This means that there are wealth, luxury and sportscars available for everybody, of course, not as private property, but the same way we get now books from public libraries. Terry Deary’s nightmare is my dream. The dystopia of the European bourgeois is the utopia of the global working class.
Mr. Deary continues that librarians are lovely people and libraries are lovely places, but they are damaging the book industry. We the communists are lovely people too, but we want to nationalize the industry and distribute its products equally to everybody.