Santiago Sierra you are a cunt.


When does art cease to be art? Is it when it’s deemed, to some, to be meaningless? If so, how is this decided? Does art have a time frame? Like a ticking bomb can it eventually blow up into nothing? Is it when the artists in question start to harm themselves?


Anyway, although I might not know the answers to any of the questions above, which is almost the beauty of them, I’m pretty sure that my answers to the next questions will be pretty close to correct. In fact, fuck it, modesty was never really my strong point. I’m so certain that my answers to the next questions are correct I’m not even going to bother asking them. If you happen to disagree with the next statement then I think it’s safe to say you’re a sick fucking bastard.

‘Art’ ceases to be art when the artists start to cause pain to others and when the human rights of the participants are disregarded and dismissed.

'I'm a total fucking wanker'

How anyone can look up to an ‘artist’ who’s work is basically based around human exploitation, and wouldn’t exist without it, is beyond me. Which brings me onto this cunt. Santiago Sierra. A Mexican born artist. The winner of the ‘National Arts Award 2010’ and a total fucking bastard. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m well aware most artists are known for their massive egos and generally for being a bit of a tit, but this guy makes the rest of them look like angelic six year old lassies wearing summers dresses whilst making a daisy chains. Why? He picks on the deprived and the less well off. His work apparently reflects his views on exploitation which in my eyes means he pretty much condones it. Let me explain. This massive wanker pays the likes of drug addicted prostitutes enough money for their drug of


choice to allow him  tattoo a foot long black line across their backs. Basically forever branding them as Junkies. When confronted about this sick, so called artwork, Sierra tells us that these participants have given their consent, therefore, leave him the fuck alone. How the hell he believes that these women are or were in any state of mind to consent leads me to believe he actually lives on Mars.

However, some, I guess, could say he fucked up, he went too far, BUT NAW, this cunt really is a cunt. Here’s a list of some of his other pieces to prove it to you:

  1. Person Paid to Have 30cm Line Tattooed on Them.
  2. Polyurethane sprayed on the backs of 10 Iraqi Immigrant workers.
  3. Unemployed people sitting in boxes for 30 days paid minimum wage.
  4. Homeless people paid the equivalent of a meal and one nights accommodation to stare blankly at a wall all day.

The List could go on but I don’t think there’s much need for it to do so. I think most of you will now see that there was no need for modesty earlier when I made my statement, and if you don’t? Well, I suggest you quickly step outside the windowless box you live in and open your fucking eyes.


36 responses »

  1. It has to be said, although i find the sheer mass of expletives in your article detract somewhat from its intellectual power (like the boy who cried wolf) the C word is indeed perfectly fitting for Santiago. I’d like to say I’m surprised that this is allowed to happen, let alone be condoned by a National Artistic body – but I’m not. Art can be many things to many people and thus has led to the parameters being pushed further and further in every direction over the years, but in this case surely a line should be drawn somewhere? I’m all for “artistic freedom of expression” but at what cost to the lives of the underprivileged few?

    • I agree with you completely expect about your comment on my use of expletives as you put it, I’d be more likely to use fucking swearing, but I guess that’s where we differ. Haha. I’ve no idea how he’s allowed to call himself an artist let alone be awarded a prize? It’s just ridiculous.

  2. I really liked this piece. I’m almost always astounded by the lengths that artists are ‘allowed’ to stretch to when ‘making a point’.

    Of course the reason that Sierra gets away with this shit is because no one will step up to defend addicts and homeless folk because they are seen not as victims, but as a problem in society and therefore worthless/exploitable.

    @Lulu, I can understand why you’d feel offended at the word ‘cunt’ but you must understand that in Scotland, the word doesn’t carry nearly as much weight and magnitude as in England or America (I’m only guessing that you’re from either of these places, please feel free to vehemently correct me) and is a general insult/slang word. (And that’s perfectly okay)

    I really enjoyed this, Brogan. Looking forward to more of your stuff. Maybe some point on modern artists who seem to have fallen so easily into fame, such as Tracey Emin? It would be interesting to hear what you think on those type of artists.

    Good luck,
    Yer wee pal Lydia.

    • It’s ridiculous. He gets grants to make work which refuses human beings of their basic rights and it should not be allowed to happen. Just because someone is less well off does not give you the right to exploit them. Another one of his pieces involves getting black street workers to dye their hair blonde for a days wage. So that they stick out like a sore thumb. How is that art? Bleaching someone’s hair who isn’t in a position to turn down money. I hope Sierra is just a thick cunt and doesn’t think. Because if he actually knows what he’s doing, he deserves even more to be subjected to hell. I reckon we should make him go through everything he puts these people through. I bet he wouldn’t be so fucking cocky then.

      In a lot of video footage of him as well he refuses to show his face. Probably because he’s aware people would probably try and stab him in the street. Bastard.

  3. I know your all probably gonna flip out at me but Santiago Sierra’s work is very important in a political and social sense. It’s not just playing on shock factor like Damien Hirst’s formaldehyde creations and Paul McCarthy’s ‘Inflatable Turd’. His work is motiivated by social injustices such as the exploitation of immigrant workers and prostitutes and how they are abused and forced into addiction and how the experience of a homeless person on the street is exactly the same as staring as a blank wall. The people who are involved in his work are adults and are explained the reasoning behind his work, they are not coerced into taking part they can only take part if they agree with Sierra’s concept, which they usually do. He is a champion to the lower classes as he brings issues which are usually disregarded and not discussed to light in such a harsh overpowering way that they cannot be ignored. I used to think the smae as you guys I really did but then I did a little research, there is method to his madness and his satire on the explotation of the working class as well as his compositions on race are horrifyingly realsitic.
    He’s not afraid to push the boundaries of what we find acceptable. There will always be questions of ethics in art but if participants are willing and the outcome is to reveal their plight as opposed to just creating something shocking then I think it’s valid and strong.

    • I have to completely disagree when you say that they’re all informed. Yes they may be but that doesn’t change that many of the people are not in a position to say no. Some of which, especially with the tattoo piece, will not be in the right state of mind to ‘consent’. It’s exploitation and it’s wrong. I quite like his piece where he placed unemployed people in boxes. That’s not harming anyone physically. But asking drug addicts to consent to having a line tattooed along their back is morally wrong. Anyone who thinks their consent has been thought through seriously needs to think for a second.

  4. If Santiago Sierra wouldnt succeed in making elitist white middle class people uncomfortable and angry, his mission as an artist would have to be declared a failure.
    But the reactions show that he is very much on point with everything he does.

    • I’m not disagreeing with you there. He achieves what he set out to as an artist. However, I believe what he sets out to do is demoralising and inhumane and will not ever agree with it. Yes, art can be anything but surely human rights has to come into this somewhere?!

    • I agree…..we are all too spoiled in the western world and are very quick to react to things we don’t necessarily understand. Sierra’s work is done to stir thought and emotion and for us to ask our own questions about what we do or don’t accept….but unfortunately in the western world we spend too much time look at the small details – exploitation!!…….I’d say having no other option than becoming a prostitute to stay alive says much more about exploitation within the western world than agreeing to have a tattoo!
      If you’ve all responded to this then at least A message is getting out and YOU are thinking about the rights and wrongs of the world. WE ALL know there are a hell of a lot of terrible things going on in the world which we all choose to ignore……tattoos and low wages to homeless people don’t even register on the radar!

      • I disagree with the fact that these things register very low on the radar. I think exploiting another human being to that extent is pretty disgusting. Okay, it might not register as number one shitty thing to do/ happening in the world, but that doesn’t mean it should be excused. If this wasn’t ‘art’ I doubt anybody would be defending this. I’m all for pushing the boundaries – but this really is too far.

  5. His work is actually directly targeted to the people like you who think they have enough moral and whatever other authority to know what is good and what is bad and to impose it on others. Actually, it’s genuine reactions like this that are an integral part of his work.

    • I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. I’m sure that is his point and I know that this is the reaction he wants. But none of this changes the fact that the work should not have been allowed to be made in the first place and the lives of REAL human beings have been affected, for life.

    • I totally agree. His work challenges society and makes people rethink things. That’s what he set out to do. And he’s not really exploiting people who “aren’t in the right frame of mind”. He’s pointing out that they exist by including them in his work, instead of allowing society to ignore them.

  6. Would you be talking about these people who are in these difficult situations was it not for him deciding to approach them to try and make some art about real things in the world? just like above- declaring that these people are being exploited in the way that you have in the end takes away from the simple fact that they were approached and asked and said yes and it was their personal choice to say yes or no. there would’ve been some who were approached and didn’t fancy having a line tatted on their back and decided to decline and said no. that was their voice. you are trying to be so morally correct that you end up taking away the voice of those people who decided to be involved, interested in the art or not because you think these people aren’t in the right place/mind or whatever to make their own judgement. and when the hell else do they get their voice heard?
    not all the people who dyed their hair with peroxide were black. but in a general way, i’m pretty bloody sure some of these people have dealt with far worse things than dying their hair or getting a line tattooed on their back or facing a wall for a few hours. maybe some even laughed at the idea. you talk about the drug addicted prostitutes and their ‘consent’ and i can see slightly where you’re going with that but people really generalize the smaller segments of people on the edge of society. like as soon as a person becomes addicted to drugs their judgement on everything becomes totally worthless- that’s exactly what draws the gap wider between society and these segments of different people. if a man can decide that he wants to take drugs, he can make choices. a man is a person with a drug habit/addiction. a man is not just a drug addict. when a man approaches him offering money to dye his hair and he says yes and probably thinks great i can score tonight and proceeds to dye his hair and gets the money and then goes to buy his drugs that he’s maybe been addicted to for a few years now that means he’s having a say. he made the decision. and that gets him more drugs. yes, even more drugs. even after possibly being on these drugs for years. but the thought process of ‘what do i think of dying my hair peroxide blonde?’ has still occurred. HE JUST DOESN’T GIVE A SHIT BECAUSE WHO WOULD!?

  7. I just found this and I thought I should chip in on the conversation. This may be a redundant point, but I think your reaction is exactly what Santiago aims for in his work, but your anger is misguided. His work aims to shine a light on the exploitative relationship between the rich and the poor in capitalist markets. Think about it, these same people would be willing to take jobs offering meagre pay and in the worst conditions you can think of and if they try to assert for their rights they are passed over for others since the market is flooded with unemployed unskilled labourers. No one really cares about this. I work in the fashion industry and its well known that in fast fashion retailers people are still working in sweat shops and being locked in factories so the masses can enjoy their “affordable” clothing. So if the vitriol you have is stuck on a person whose basically showing how easy it is to reduce human beings to a resource and doesn’t see the big picture then your arguement fails.

    • I’m actually appalled at how many people seem to think he should be allowed to exploit these people in this way just because it’s ‘art’. If someone was simply tattooing lines onto these people for the fun of it there would be an uproar. I don’t give a shit what he’s trying to portray and if he’s doing it well or not. Why? Because he’s exploiting these peoples human rights. Why people don’t seem to understand this is beyond me.

  8. Artists, and people of any other career, can bring up moral issues for all they want, but if what they are doing is just paying the under-priviledged and bringing them to the spot light and pointing to the rest of the world, “hey look, you guys are ignoring these guys”, and then letting them go back to whatever situations they were in. Fuck his logic, he is not a believer himself. Selling paintings to aid the poor makes more sense than “raising awareness” with the poor and then kicking them back to shitholes.

  9. I stumbled across this while researching Sierra’s work online. I have to agree with the majority of people here; his art may be shocking but by it’s very shock value it exposes the injustice and exploitation inherent in daily life. What is the difference between Sierra’s labourers paid minimum wage to stare at a wall for a day, and the labourers (who are probably paid even less) who make the clothes on your back and shoes on your feet? Sierra’s work is challenging, yet it exposes these injustices to people who would otherwise know nothing (or not enough) of these issues; the minumum wage of workers in South America, the desperation of drug addicts, and the exploitative nature of politics. He exposes lives and situations of the people that comfortable society would rather ignore, pretend are invisible. If you have read any writings by him, or see any interviews, you will see this.

  10. He is not born in Mexico. He is born in mardid (Spain).An about ” he is winner of the ‘National Arts Award 2010″ , yes is true , but he refused the award and the money.

  11. you are ignorant, total mind of fuck!

    what can be better if the artist gives broader focus on the forgotten people and those problems are revealed to bigger public, even politicans. It is important that the artist gains international attention. I happened to find him from art book while studying contemporary art.

    Junkies are pretty much “dead”, addicted forever and we cannot ignore that problem. Believe me those tatoos are very small drop in the ocean regarding the actual problems in the world. Please dont live in your little fairy tale world and complain about “rights”, instead step out of your fucking world and watch everything with opened eyes and see the wholeness. If you had know the true intention of the artist, you would regard him as one of saviors of the world.

    You drop to low level when calling people by names, better you clean up your shit behind your own door before you say something.

    /another artist

    • Thank you for your narrow-minded opinion. I’d have been more willing to listen to your ‘argument’ had you not been stupid enough to refer to all ‘Junkies’ as ‘pretty much “dead”‘. You disgust me. Kudos.

    • If Junkies are not being paid to get a line tattooed on their back they are out finding a way to get that money somewhere else. There’s no one fighting for their human rights when some of them are being prostituted on the street.

      You have the exact reaction that Sierra is going for so really that makes you his target audience. Well done.

      • I hate this idea that people seem to have regarding addicts. Once an addict does not mean they are always going to be one – and more or less branding somebody because of their addiction is, in my opinion, wrong. And that’s what Sierra’s doing here – he’s branding them. This idea that it’s okay to exploit somebody because if one person doesn’t another will is ridiculous. The issue I had here – and that many people have had – is that the people who ‘consented’ were not in a right mindset to have been able to comprehend what they were consenting too.

        Just because something falls under the label ‘art’ doesn’t mean it’s exempt from having to adhere to basic human rights…

    • No. I very much get the ‘point’ of Sierras work but I’m sick of people getting away with exploiting because they’re creating ‘art’. I hate Hirst’s ‘The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living’ because I don’t believe you should put out an advert offering X amount of money to illegally kill a shark – or anything for that matter. Just because something is art, and they believe they are making a point of some sort, does not then mean they’re not allowed to be called out by people who disagree with their methods.

  12. Hello there.

    Firstly I really must thank you for giving me ammunition to argue my point in my dissertation.

    Secondly some words of advice for you, resorting to crass name calling and vulgarity whilst pondering over contemporary art really shows how uneducated and closed minded you really are.

    I suggest you broaden your vocabulary and try to really ponder what Sierra intends when he produces these artworks, and please try to read some books to understand why Sierra needs to produce artworks that exploit and degrade the marginalised in our society.

    Society of the Spectacle by Guy Debord would be a great start.

    When finished please come back to this posting and contemplate how foolish it really is.

    Have a great day.

    • Firstly, I am in fact extremely educated – the use of swear words does not lessen my argument. My use of swear words also doesn’t mean I have an underdeveloped vocabulary. As an apparently educated person you should be aware of this.
      Secondly, I am aware of what Sierra was trying to do/comment on when he made the majority of his works – in fact I did an entire course studying them – and it is not going to change my opinion on the man. I believe him to be extremely exploitative and that’s not going to change no matter how many books you suggest I read. I am entitled to *my* opinion, as you are yours. I however haven’t called you uneducated for your ‘artistic opinion’.

      Have a great day.

      • Ah you see I swear like a trooper in real life but on paper and in debate it’s really best to avoid it!

        In hindsight maybe the use of ‘uneducated’ was a rather harsh term for which I apologise, however as with all good debates I disagree entirely on your critique of Sierra. The thing is Sierra could go on making works like this for his entire career as that highlights how exploitative, monopolising and incessant the capitalist system is. If you saw his work ‘NO’. You will know that there is more to his practice than exploitation.

        Lastly, Nice tattoos.

      • This blog was started for myself as a place for me to write what I want. It was never intended to be published or anything therefore I can use swear words to my content. Also, in Scotland (I don’t know where you are from) swearing really isn’t as big a deal – especially the ‘C’ word the rest of the world seems to despise. Thank you for retracting your uneducated statement – because I’m not.

        There is more to his practise than exploitation, yes. But in that statement you’ve admitted it does involve exploitation – and therefore I will refuse to look past that to any important point he is trying to make. Works he makes avoiding exploitation may exist, but the ones that do overshadow the rest. Which may be a shame. Exploiting those less fortunate than yourself for art – for any reason for that matter – is not now, or ever, acceptable.

        P.s. Thanks for the tattoos compliment.

    • Well Brogan I am not 100% with you but I recognize that you have a point. In art I am very strict, I think that the 90% of the “contemporary art” is rubbish but I do not think that Sierra’s work is what do you think it is. Art can’t be contemplated literally. You can not read the marquis de Sade literally or you will determinate that his work can not be legal. Not everybody is capable to talk about Art so I recommend you to think about it. If an artist wants to “degrade” something with his art has all his right to do it, but, one more time, I don’t think this is the case of Sierra.

      • If the thing in which he is degrading is not a human life, then yes, I somewhat agree with you. However art should not be allowed to dismis basic human rights simply because it is art. That is something I believe strongly.
        Whilst Sierra may not intend to belittle or degrade these people – maybe even believing he is helping them – people who have been involved in his works have come away with depression, from sitting in a cardboard box all day for an entire exhibition… etc.
        If understand he is trying to make a comment on the poverty etc. faced by these people – but I think the way in which he choses to do so is exploitative.

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