Promenade (and Promise), 2016
Díptico fotográfico, 44 x 66 cm c.u.
One of the most important works in the Spanish Pavilion in 1937 was a sculpture by Alberto Sánchez entitled El pueblo español tiene un camino que conduce a una estrella (The Spanish People Have a Path That Leads to a Star). In it, a twisting path ascended a totem 12.5 metres high culminating in an irregularly shaped star. After the Pavilion was closed the sculpture disappeared (or was destroyed) and the sculptor went into exile in Moscow.
Promenade (and Promise) is a photographic diptych that shows a wooden model of El pueblo español tiene un camino … placed horizontally and wrapped with foam that protects it, like a shroud. In fact, the diptych proclaims the “mortuary” state, then and now, of the promising socialising transformation of which Alberto dreamed. Its supine position is reminiscent of Holbein’s dead Christ, also calling to mind the words uttered by Goya in a dialogue imagined by John Berger and Nella Bielski in Goya’s Last Portrait (1989): “When somebody is dead, you can see it from two hundred yards away, his silhouette goes cold.”