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NO, GLOBAL TOUR
For the last few years Santiago Sierra has moved from project to project, and from country to country, doing site and situation specific works.
In an attempt to slow down the pace of his practice, while gathering all the elements peculiar to his work in a single piece, Sierra developed a formal unit that could be adapted to a variety of contexts and still be effective.
At a syntactic level, he had to devise a shape which kept its power in any given environment, while ensuring that it was able to point out and magnify specific surroundings. On the other hand, and at a semantic level, the work had to be understandable in as many contexts as possible.
Thus, and with a spirit more akin to Zeitgeist than to genius loci Santiago Sierra’s NO GLOBAL TOUR, carries out a synthesis between the sculpture—that stresses the relation to specific environments—, and the letter, which is able to address particular situations. By making the sculpture travel, the work itself changes constantly and is translated into an epic road movie.
As a regular chronicler of disaster, Sierra chose the word NO: a negation that could travel around the world, and become the monumental leading character in a road movie.
The NO, Global Tour was launched on July 18, 2009 from the Napoleonic stables in Lucca, Italy without a fixed schedule or itinerary. The sculpture, shaped as the word “NO” spelled in an Arial typeface, weighed half a ton, and measured about 5.10 feet high by 13.12 feet long.
After a two month long exhibition, the NO set off from Lucca towards Berlin on a tow truck of a size that allowed it to legally travel without restrictions along any road.
On its way to Germany the NO was exhibited in Milan and travelled through the industrial areas of the city. Then it moved on to a base in Bernburg, and travelled through the former German Democratic Republic, where it visited residential, industrial and mining areas.
In Berlin, during the Art Forum Berlin fair, the NO was displayed on the rooftop of Jiri Dokoupil’s studio, across(adjacent to?) a U-Bahn station.
In October, a second NO was built in Toronto. It was exhibited during the Scotiabank Nuit Blanche event at the city’s financial district. Next day it started its trip towards the United States, where it travelled through industrial and working-class neighbourhoods in Hamilton, Buffalo, Detroit, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh.
On that same month, the NO in Berlin set off once again; it was briefly displayed at the Museum am Ostwall in Dortmund and moved on crossing the city’s industrial belt, the Ruhrgebiet.
Then, it travelled to Rotterdam; where it was parked on the Coolsingel, the major local road. It also visited the oil refineries and the port.
After visiting some official buildings in Maastricht, it travelled to Brussels, where it made an appearance in a number of venues, such as the NATO headquarters and the European Parliament.
It crossed the Channel and arrived in London, where it visited the constructions underway for the Olympic Games, the Death Counter in the City, Greenwich and other places.
From there, it set sail for New York. In November, it featured in the Performa 09 festival. It also visited Wall Street, the UN headquarters, the Rockefeller Center and other tourist sights.
In December, the NO set off towards Miami where it was part of the public sculpture section of Art Basel Miami Beach. The organisers asked us not to leave Miami Beach, so we only visited Miami Beach. During the fair, the sculpture was shown in the park next to the Bass Museum.
A third NO was built in Lucca early in 2010. This NO travelled to Livorno, where it saw a group of immigrants being buried. In Genoa, it visited the sea port.
It arrived to Monte-Carlo, where it halted at the palace of the Prince of Monaco and the casino. From there, it travelled to neighbouring Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. Later on, it continued to Marseille, visiting the city’s oil refineries and a military weapon factory. It travelled to Montpellier, Lourdes, and then to Madrid. It visited several locations in the Madrid city and its provinces; and then it was featured as part of the official programme of the ARCO fair.
In May and June, it was exhibited at the Katzen Arts Center, American University Museum of Art, Washington.
In June, it was shown in Salamanca as part of the Salamanca Arts Festival.
Also in June, a marble NO was constructed in Carrara and included in the programme of the Carrara International Sculpture Biennale.
In August, it travelled around Japan and became part of the 2010 Aichi Triennale in Nagoya.
In November, the NO travelled to Katowice, Poland, under the auspices of the Ars Cameralis Silesiae Superioris.
In February 2011 the NO, GLOBAL TOUR film was presented for the first time at the Berlin International Film Festival 'Berlinale'. Later in February the film was presented at the Centro-Museo Vasco de Arte Contemporáneo Artium in Vitoria, together with both the wooden and marble NO sculptures, as well as with a selection of photos of the tour.
In April, the film was screened at the Phillips Collection, Washington D.C. and in May at Rurat, Poitiers, along with a huge and mysterious NO, carved into a wheat field located close by.
Mexico's Film Festival Distrital hosted several screenings at the end of May and only some days later Madrid did the same at the Academia de las Artes y Las Ciencias Cinematográficas.
On July 22nd the film made it's Italian premier at the Anteo cinema in Milan.