El día que me quieras, 1990
Although Alfredo Jaar has travelled often to Spain, El día que me quieras (The day you love me) – the title of a well-known Argentine tango composed by Carlos Gardel – was the first project designed specifically for this country as part of the exhibition To be or not to be, presented at the Centre d'Art Santa Mònica in 1990. As he had done in the eighties, Jaar used light boxes, transparencies and mirrors to explore the relationship between the Latin American context and its reflection of what at that time was still called the ‘mother country’. In those years Chile lived under the dictatorship of Pinochet, whereas in Spain nostalgic Francoist voices could still be heard in the conservative press praising Pinochet for having managed to turn his country into an economic leader in Latin America. Jaar considered this parallelism particularly worrying.
The installation consists of five modules. Each module comprises a double-faced light box, located near the wall, and a mirror fixed to the wall. At first glance, the viewer sees the front of the box, displaying a text and image. Approaching the box, the reverse side is revealed (the side facing the wall) in the mirror. The frontal images show Franco dressed in uniform measuring a distance on a world globe and dressed in civilian clothes with a camera in hand. Each image is accompanied by a detail of his hands. Ordered in pairs, on each light box can be read part of the title of the work. The fifth box is dark, without an image, except for the first three words of the title.
To see the back of the light boxes requires both physical proximity and commitment. The images that the viewer sees reflected in the mirror are national or political symbols: the Spanish flag, the Francoist symbol, the Chilean flag... but also images of civilian protests against Pinochet, the dictator kissing a woman or in front of his troops, parodying the poses of Hitler.
Following a common strategy, Jaar seduces visitors with frontal photographs of a humanised Franco. Distracted by historical amnesia, he suddenly confronts us with the irrevocable facts of dictatorship. The parallel between one dictator and the other is also significant, as is the allusion to how technology and media are at the service of power, encoding information to configure our images of and relationship to history. On the occasion of the presentation of the work in Barcelona, Alfredo Jaar wrote: ‘These works seduce first and then force us to become physically involved in order to see: there is an intimate contact with the second image. The process is one of denial and discovery, public and private, permitted and prohibited. This duality allows me to create a tension between two realities, at times opposing, at times complementary. In this first project in Spain I want to explore the possible relationship between the Latin-American character that invites, accepts and welcomes the military dictator and its "equivalent" or "mirror-image" in Spain, the mother country.’
- Original title:
- El día que me quieras
- Registration number:
- Jaar, Alfredo
- Date created:
- Date acquired:
- MACBA Collection. Government of Catalonia long-term loan
- Object type:
- Media installation
- C-Print, aluminium, mirrors and wood
- Various dimensions
- MACBA Collection. Government of Catalonia long-term loan. National Collection of Art
- © Alfredo Jaar, VEGAP, Barcelona
- It has accessibility resources:
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