El Arte y el Artista

Antón Cabaleiro

This video is a portrait of “the artist in his environment”. In it, Cabaleiro himself talks about subjects that he is interested in, about his work and his life, within his everyday habitat. But, knowing that the image is always a construction, could this piece be an exercise of false video-documentary?

After watching it, the genre of this piece is clear: a documentary about the artist by the artist. All the premises lead to such a conclusion, as we are presented with images of the author digressing about various issues. He is in his intimate space, with what looks like his partner, in the bathroom, talking about some of his works, about the subject of his pieces, etc. But there is a moment at which the viewer asks herself, what if this is not his house? And if his girlfriend was an actress? And if the artist was not as awkward as he looks in the video? Only then do we start to realise that this piece stems from a completely different genre tradition, namely, that of the false documentary. There have been many examples of this type of work in Spain, from the wonderful series by Martín Patino for Andalusian television, to the acclaimed Cravan vs Cravan by the young fimmaker Isaki Lacuesta.

The viewer soon realises that the plot of the video is subject to a narrative different from that which is immediately evident. Some features of previous work by the artist come up again, such as a certain praise of the everyday, the lack of communication between human beings or his interest in annonymous normality. However, this piece introduces a new register, the absurd, which unhinges all previous articulations.

The fiction is quite humourous when we watch the paradoxical situation of an artist talking about himself, buttering up his ego with each of his statements. This is a quiet humour, and at times somewhat embarrassing, as we identify the parody immediately, and can remember numerous similar works that did not include such a caricature.

Technical datasheet

  • Title: El Arte y el Artista
  • Direction: Antón Cabaleiro
  • Production: Antón Cabaleiro. 2004.
  • Duration: 00:13:53
  • Languages: Spanish
  • Original format: Quicktime
  • Formats: Betacam Digital - DVD
  • TV systems: PAL
  • License: Copyright