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Suports vivents per a la fabricació d'un mite, 2013

Living bases for the fabrication of a myth, 2013
Media installation, Variable dimensions. Duration: 6 min

‘Two slideshows with audio explain the performative condition of ecstasy.’ This is how Julia Montilla sums up her work Soportes vivientes para la fabricación de un mito (Living Bases for the Fabrication of a Myth)

San Sebastián de Garabandal is a village of just over one hundred inhabitants located in Cantabria, in the north of Spain. In the early 1960s, the village attracted media attention and thousands of visitors as a result of an alleged apparition of the Virgin Mary. Between 1961 and 1965, four girls between the ages of 11 and 12, claimed that the Virgin Mary and St. Michael the Archangel had appeared to them in a tree in the village to give them the message that, to avert the end of the world, humanity had to change its attitudes. There were up to two thousand apparitions over a space of four years. Since when, each year thousands of people have visited the site.

Based upon these events, Montilla reviews the extensive photographic production generated by the media, with images of the girls in their visionary trance but also of their daily lives and the inhabitants of the village during the apparitions, and constructs an iconographic analysis that emphasises the role of the image in the construction of the myth. Arranged in chronological order, the slides show the sensationalism and progressive sophistication of the apparitions, as well as the process of idolatry. But beyond that, Montilla highlights the role of visions and images in the construction of the visionary process: seeing ecstasy through the faces and postures of visionaries gives truth to the miracle. While the body and the eye that observes the vision become the main means of communication of the sacred, the falsity of its staging becomes evident. With Montilla’s slide show, we witness an analysis of the visual regime of production of myths and the idea of sacredness.

Technical details

Original title:
Suports vivents per a la fabricació d'un mite
Registration number:
Montilla, Julia
Date created:
Date acquired:
MACBA Collection. Government of Catalonia long-term loan
Object type:
Media installation
Double slide projection, sound, 6 min
Variable dimensions. Duration: 6 min
MACBA Collection. Government of Catalonia long-term loan. National Collection of Contemporary Art
© Julia Montilla
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