“If you raid the patriots’ wallets in their pockets it turns out they are Swiss,” says a vignette from El Roto, whose brief sentences and visual satire probably influenced Eugenio Merino‘s work more than any artist trained in the academy.
Although the aesthetics of Merino, especially in his hyperrealist sculptures and kitsch metaphors, is peppered with by a more corrosive black humor, where heads can roll, where dictators are frozen and presidents undergo face washing programs (Face Wash) … We would, therefore, say that his aesthetics is more like a loyal El Jueves’ reader.
With cutting gags he shows the cynicism of the capitalist system with its many facets, but this time we will not see any puppet reproduced with creepy verisimilitude. Rather, if we look at the row of clocks with different timestamps, the language is almost conceptual, with echoes of On Kawara and his tireless record of time or Joseph Kosuth and his Clock (one and five). But please don’t go because the similarity is only apparent; as the world now stands, we are not here to distract ourselves with mental or linguistic games.
The clocks show time zones of different tax havens, the same places whose flags are used as sunbed fabrics, as we can see in Domus Artium 2002‘s exhibition hall. A doormat where you can read “Home Swiss Home” welcomes us to Paradise.
In the next room, the brightness of thousands of coins overflowing in large cardboard boxes attracts a new look. It seems that we have entered the cave of the thieves and suffer the Ali Baba syndrome even if it is only for gluttony because it is just Swiss chocolate.
Unlike the loungers where we can not sit on and the inaccessible times for us pointing the hands of the clocks, the coins are in our favor. Coined with the phrase “eat the reach”, as we fill our pockets with dark chocolate or swallow it with eagerness, we feel the fleeting satisfaction of shredding even more dark banking secrecy.
Do not feel intimidated by the surveillance cameras, they are false. Here we are protected by the same impunity as the rich because we are in their paradise. Blessed are those who cheat because theirs is the realm of tax evasion.
The exhibition, with its deck chairs and welcome formulas, is a clear nod to the idea of a tourist paradise. In fact, if the point is to escape, yourself or your money, whether it is an exotic or sexual, cultural or fiscal paradise. The press uses similar terms to talk about the fashionable destinations for any of them: “Singapore, the fashion tax haven,” read a headline.
However, although the news tends to direct people’s imagination to the periphery by placing turbid businesses in paradisiacal islands, Merino corrects those centrifugal forces paying special attention to that neutral Switzerland, so neutral that it does not dare to hurt the feelings of capital.
Paraíso, Eugenio Merino
Curated by Adonay Bermúdez
inn Domus Artium 2002 DA2, Salamanca
until 28th April 2019