Santiago Sierra

Black and white image of the back of a head
Year of birth, place
1966, Madrid, Spain
Role at the ZKM
in the collection

Santiago Sierra's work attempts to make visible the perversity of the power structures that are the roots of the alienation and exploitation of workers, the injustice of labor relations, the unequal distribution of wealth produced by capitalism, the perverse nature of work and money, and racial discrimination in a world characterized by migratory flows in one direction — from the south to the north.


Returning to and updating some of the strategies of Minimalism, Conceptual Art, and Performance Art from the 1970s, Sierra interrupts the flows of capital and commodities (»Obstruction of a Freeway with a Truck’s Trailer«, 1998; »Person Obstructing a Line of Containers«, 2009), hires workers to lay bare their precarious situation (»20 Workers in a Ship’s Hold«, 2001; »Repetition of the Writing of a Phrase«, 2022), explores the mechanisms of racial segregation that derive from economic inequalities  (»Hiring and Arrangement of 30 Workers in Relation to Their Skin Color«, 2002; »Economical Study on the Skin of Caracans«, 2006), and challenges the narratives that legitimize a democracy that is sustained by state violence (»Veterans of the War of Cambodia, Ruanda, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Irak Facing the Wall«, 2010-2012; »Los encargados«, 2012).