This video documents the group performance that Larrea organised in the streets of Madrid. It invites us to think about the behaviour of citizens in the public space, and the ways in which we react to unexpected breaks in our routine social envirornment, which paradoxically, is increasingly controlled by the state powers. Fifteen people wearing red workers’ overalls stand in front of emblematic buildings, in plazas and famous steps. They stand in such a way that they form what look like human barriers, and so they interrupt, modify or hinder the way of passers-by.
The work that Larrea has produced in the last few years is located in the field of reflection on artistic practice itself and its effect in the life of the individual. The work tends to fall within open disciplines, very far from object-orientated art practices. Larrea offers a transverse look at the act of creation, focusing on the relationship art-life. Some of her favoured practices are the performance, the happening, video and installation. These are practices of ephemeral art, with which she formulates fields of reflection that come into dialogue with each other, within the lines of what has been termed “relational art”.
Despite its simplicity, this video performance offers manifold meanings and, most importantly, it raises many questions. The first of these refers to the act of inhabiting, of occupying the public space, and the ways in which citizens react to the intrusion of a new reality. We will discover that in most cases, citizens passively accept this unexpected event, accustomed as they are to the fictionalization of the everyday. Secondly, the video raises the question of what most people consider the nature of art to be. It is paradoxical that in this case the “artistic action” that the artist proposes is directly influencing the living, the everyday, of the passers-by, yet few seem conscious of it. This interpretation of the piece is highlighted in the moments when the human barriers take shape in front of or next to museums or emblematic art spaces (such as the Museo del Prado, or the Centro de Arte Reina Sofía). The average visitor comes to these places to see and be “affected” by the paintings and sculptures, but remains oblivious to the fact that the human barriers that block her way “are also art”. And finally, we cannot forget to mention the aesthetic power of the piece: modules of colour form to an aesthetic rhythm that accentuates an architecture of human pilars, strengthened by the circular forms. We are in the presence of a human architecture creating organic geometries that come into dialogue with the changing flux of the passers-by.