Du Côté de l'URSS, 1985
In the 1980s the actions of the anonymous collective Agustín Parejo School pioneered the practice of art as urban and social activism. Borrowing from Marcel Duchamp, Joseph Beuys and Art & Language, as well as the Futurist tradition of agitprop, post-punk and the Situationist International, APS turned the public space into a place for collective action through the practice of art and language. The distance between art and the people became blurred. Those were years of unemployment and shortage of housing: the first crisis of industrial capitalism in a democratic context. The amazing graffiti and impromptu street actions of APS attracted the attention of a provincial city that welcomed them with complicity. The street had become a valid territory for art.
Part of APS’s artistic activity involved painting graffiti in the streets. One of them read Poezía and another Never Mind the Pollocks. In a context of political transition, such as that of Spain in the 1980s, with an enormous output of graffiti containing political messages, the poetic element and art references of APS’s street paintings were seen as the exception subverting the sense of those other practices.
The project Málaga Euskadi Da, 1986, was a hybrid of the national stereotypes of these two territories, such as Andalusian carnation sellers wearing a txapela (the Basque beret) and aizkolaris (Basque wood-chopping competitors) wearing faralaes (flamenco dresses). Por fabor estamos parados, 1986, consisted of an edition of postcards and a calendar reproducing graffiti painted in the streets by the Agustín Parejo School. In the project Caucus, which took place in Fuengirola on 4 January 1986, a political candidate toured the streets with a team of people sticking posters on the walls and painting graffiti, accompanied by a car addressing the public through loudspeakers: Vota Moreno (Vote Moreno). There was no candidate named Moreno. It was a perfect parody: the electoral campaign displayed the usual ceremonial paraphernalia but was devoid of all political references and identity. In the same way, the project Lenin Cumbe, 1992, blew away the device of authorship. Responding to an invitation by the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo in Seville on the year of the centenary of Spain’s arrival in the Americas, APS invented a Caribbean artist named Lenin Cumbe. Only the most knowledgeable realised that it was an imposture. Agustín Parejo School presenta a Lenin Cumbe consisted of twelve television monitors with scenes and texts alluding to current affairs in Spain and Latin America painted on the TV screens. The catalogue accompanying the exhibition was a key part of the work. In another project of 1993, APS lampooned the fashionable concept of the North American thinker Francis Fukuyama by producing a silkscreen print on the t-shirt of a girl quite happily reading on the beach, with the words El final de la historia (The End of History).
One of the more significant projects of the Agustín Parejo School was Du côté de l’URSS, 1985, consisting of actions, editions of postcards and the production of various collages. One of the actions was staged in front of a graffito in a street in Malaga. On a gate overlooking the historic centre of the city, a zone steeped in trouble, APS painted their name in Cyrillic characters and a stencil with the face of Lenin. The members of the group, wearing helmets, ran in front of the painting pretending to be a group of Soviet artists going to the port in Malaga to welcome a Russian ship. The photograph of this action was reproduced in fanzines and the press.
- Original title:
- Du Côté de l'URSS
- Registration number:
- Agustín Parejo School
- Date created:
- Date acquired:
- MACBA Collection. MACBA Foundation
- Object type:
- Graphic material
- Various materials
- Various dimensions
- MACBA Collection. MACBA Foundation
- © Agustín Parejo School
- It has accessibility resources:
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