Concealing the truth does not cure. Paco Nadie at Universo Vídeo.

"Demografía del dolor. Poética cruel (I)" is one of the works included in Universo Vídeo. Geopolíticas, a show that gathers a selection of pieces from the Archive of Asturian Artists, curated by Alfredo Aracil.

Published: Feb 17, 2014

By Montaña Hurtado (@zapatosrosas), Zapatos Rosas

When I first knew the programme of LABoral for the next months, before resuming my work on LABlog, I just knew that one of the topics I would like to write about was Universo Vídeo. I think it is necessary (and we should be grateful) that videoart is fostered by institutions through long-term programmes. Because, eventhough we are used to audiovisual contents and to the world of images due to the great influence of television, the exhibition of videoart, more than fifty years after its birth, is still minority and its acceptance by the public -we must admit- is quite uneven. Perhaps because we are too used to a television that does not make us think nor develop a critical attitude towards the images. Or because we are being consciously or unconsciously manipulated by tv, it is hard for us to face videoart. This is because this medium requires time and an active attitude on our side as viewers.

LABoral has developed Universo Vídeo since 2011, a programming line devoted to researching about videoart, from its origin to the present. The previous editions have reviewed the videoart created in places, such as Asia and Latin America. On this occasion, Universo Vídeo. Geopolíticas brings together, curated by Alfredo Aracil, the work of eight artists included in the Archive of Asturian Artists: María Castellanos (already commented by Semíramis González in a previous post), Marian Garrido, Cristina Busto, Sara García, Román Torre, Lucía Rivero, Thr3hold and Paco Nadie.

The work of Paco Nadie (Thionville, France, 1972) has long been of interest to me. I had the opportunity to interview him and take part in the setup of some of his pieces for a collective show at Sala Europa in Badajoz. Besides, in 2011 he was one of the artists included in the Memoria – Poesía – Acción videoart series that I curated for Lemon y Coco in Cáceres. That time, Paco Nadie presented a piece called Los Escombros de la Verdad, that belonged to the project A la luz de tus peinados and was done in collaboration with the Asturian poet Alberto Santamaría.

This artist specialised in sculpture when he was studying Fine Arts at Universidad de Salamanca. Nevertheless, for his practice he uses several media, such as installation, poetry, music, drawing, photography or video. For him, the medium is the message and depending on what he wants to say, he uses one or the other. He has recently illustrated the book Transporte de animales vivos by José Antonio de Llera for the publisher Aristas Martínez from Badajoz. He also takes part in experimental music projects like Las Larvas or La Carne and he composes the music of his videos.

Paco Nadie has chosen, since the moment he decided his artistic name to be Nadie, Spanish for “nobody”, to claim anonymity in the world of art, where the value of the work should be more important than the signature, and to start, at the same time, an introspective trip, as a strategy to escape reality, as it is increasingly cruel each time.

He regards his work as a process in which poetry is very relevant. During his career he has reflected, in an introspective way, upon concepts, such as silence, time, the abyss, the impossible, the disappearance, the absence and even death, using an iconography made up of clouds, asphalt, fluids, holes…to try and discover the hidden messages of things, always from a poetic, sometimes philosophical point of view. Suggest rather than discover.

The work that he presents at Universo Vídeo, “Demografía del dolor. Poética cruel”, seems to break with his previous works. Instead of poetry or introspection, in this work Paco Nadie does not suggest anything anymore: He strikes our conscience with data and figures about a taboo subject in mass media, allegedly to avoid the call effect: Suicide

It is an extremely tough film made in 2012, where the artist questions himself and makes us, as viewers, question ourselves, while watching a sink dyed red, whethers concealment in the mass media is effective at all. To this end, Nadie uses sentences like “Concealing the truth does not cure. Lies kill us” or “Social pain demands respect from us, but hiding the triggering factors of suicide does not help”. The fact is that in Spain suicide is currently the first cause of violent death, ahead of traffic accidents, 8% higher than the expected trends at the beginning of the crisis. However, these figures are controversial, because while a group of researchers consider that there is a cause-effect relationship between the crisis (which includes not only unemployment but also cuts in areas such as health) and the increase of suicides, another group considers that it cannot be proven that this relationship actually exists. The fact is that while economic data are made public almost in real time, the most recent reports and statistics about suicides in Spain are from 2011, and this speaks volumes of our society. Psychological, social, biological, cultural and environmental factors are involved in suicide. What is the use of this concealment if there is not an effort to raise awareness on the relevance of this problem, if there are no observatories, if no sociological studies on the causes of suicide are carried out, if mental illness remains to be a taboo?

Concealing the truth does not cure. Lies kill us.

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