Author:Isaac Marrero-Guillamon (Goldsmiths, University of London)
Paper short abstract:
Eduardo Chillida's unbuilt 'Monument to Tolerance' is here analysed as a performative quasi-object. Its entanglement with multiple controversies, and its continually protracted imminence, have turned it into an in/material artwork that is good to think with.
Paper long abstract:
This paper interrogates the multiple modes of existence of an unbuilt artwork, Eduardo Chillida's Monument to Tolerance in Tindaya (Fuerteventura, Spain). Consisting in digging a vast cube inside a mountain, Chillida's project has been trapped in a controversy ever since it was unveiled in 1994. Environmental activists have denounced the Monument's incompatibility with the protection of the mountain's listed cultural and natural heritage, including over 300 indigenous engravings. Despite of multiple legal cases and crisis-related budgetary constraints, the project has not been abandoned, or postponed, but rather regularly announced as imminent. This continually protracted imminence translated Chillida's oversized sculpture into a distributed, in/material artwork that exists in the (speculative) form of budget allocations, public events, promotional films, architectural and engineering models, promises of modernity, and activist actions, among others. In this paper I analyse the performativity of this unbuilt Monument, a quasi-object (Serres) whose circulation and multiple enactments reveals important aspects of the Canary Islands' peripheric modernity - not least the effacement of its indigenous history from public policy. Chillida's Monument offers too an opportunity to reflect on the role attributed to modern art by the state in a period that spans from Spain's accelerated developmentalism of the 1990s to post-2008 austerity.
Art (and anthropology) beyond materiality and representation