Wednesday, 19 June 2019

Ernesto Salmeron




Installation by Ernesto Salmeron at Tate Modern.

Situated above the Turbine Hall, on one of the internal bridges that connect the two buildings of Tate Modern, this installation by Ernesto Salmeron caught our attention last Saturday.




Salmeron poses questions about the political functions of public space as well as the legacies of revolution. In this work he has transported a wall and a military truck from Nicaragua.

This installation is part of Salmeron's multi-year project Auras of War. While photographing around Nicaragua in 1996, Salmeron became particularly interested in an adobe wall in the city of Granada. The wall showed a defaced image of the early 20th century revolutionary leader, Augusto C. Sandino. Identifiable by his wide-brimmed hat, Sandino became a popular icon for the later Sandinista movement. The Sandinista National Liberation Front had overthrown a dictatorship regime in Nicaragua in 1979, replacing it with a form of socialist government. Some of its leaders remain in power today.

In 2006, after learning the building was to be demolished, Salmeron had the wall excavated. It has since travelled extensively as part of the Auras of War project. This is its first exhibition in London.





After its first showing in Nicaragua, the wall was permanently installed into the back of a former military truck. Another relic of the Revolution, this truck was sent by the German Democratic Republic to Nicaragua in support of the Sandinistas' socialist cause. It was later converted for commercial use.





The wall and truck have travelled a great distance from their original contexts and are now placed in well-populated public spaces. They suggest the uncertain outcomes of political revolutions. Their presence raises questions about the revolutionary ideas they symbolise, how those ideas live and die, moving and transforming over time.


 



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