‘I travel a lot,” says Santiago Sierra. “But entering a country is like going to jail. Borders disgust me – as an idea and as a personal experience. This work denies all of that.”
It’s a typically forthright remark from the Spanish artist, who once caused uproar by pumping carbon monoxide into a former synagogue in Germany, then inviting visitors to don gas masks to enter this simulated death chamber.
Sierra is talking about his latest installation, which has just opened at Dundee Contemporary Arts. Called Black Flag, it documents his attempts to have the symbol of anarchism planted at the north and south poles. What was the reason for the project? “To occupy the world, I suppose. I’ve always loved Piero Manzoni’s The World Pedestal, in which the whole world was inside the work of art.” Manzoni created a pedestal on which the world purportedly rested, making the whole planet a work of art. He also once made tins of Merda d’Artista which, as the name suggests, purportedly contained the Italian’s excrement.