Lives and works in Madrid, Spain
“Democracia”, objects & video, 7’53”, 2005
Venues: Museum of Geology
El Perro takes the merchandising brand created for The Democracy Shop to the old Carabanchel prison outside Madrid. Shot on five videos screened in a synchonised manner, skaters decked out in Democracy-brand boards and t-shirts go around the abandoned penitentiary installations.
The idea to set up The Democracy shop as a brand (for t-shirts and skateboards), using the image of the soldier Lynddie England torturing prisoners in the Abu Ghraib prison as logo, is an attempt to understand the tortures in Iraq, as Slavoj Zizek said, not just as another case of imperialist arrogance towards the Third World. It tries to focus on the fact that by being submitted to these humiliating tortures, the Iraqi prisoners were in effect being initiated into the western culture and its democratic values. They experienced the taste of its obscene underworld, its tedious Jackass style jokes and other initiation rites of torture and humiliation to which one must be submitted in order to be accepted into the heart of a closed community. It is not common to see such photos, at least not regularly, in western press, except when some scandal breaks out in an army unit or in a university campus, where the initiation ritual gets out of hand and when soldiers or students are harmed beyond what is considered acceptable. These humiliations are the compulsory finishing touches before being able to access the public values of dignity, democracy and personal freedom. What we perceive when we see images of humiliated Iraqi prisoners on our screens, or in our newspapers, is precisely a privileged view of “the values of the civilized world.”(El Perro)
El Perro is a collective made up by Pablo España (b. 1970), Iván López (b.1970) and Ramón Mateos (b. 1968). They live and work in Madrid, Spain. Among their solo shows we can remark Democracia, Salvador Díaz Gallery, Madrid, Spain (2005) and El Perro, ExTeresa Arte Actual, Mexico DF, Mexico (2003). El Perro took part in collective shows as ARS 06, Kiasma, Helsinki, Finland (2006) Emergencies, Musac, León, Spain (2005) Mediterraneans, Macro al Mattatoio, Rome, Italy (2004), The Real Royal Trip, P.S. 1-MoMA, New York, U.S.A (2003) or Printemps de Septembre, Toulouse, France (2003)
They organised public art exhibitions as Capital Confort , Alcorcón, Madrid, Spain (every year since 1997 to 2002), MAD 03, Madrid, Spain (2003) and curated group shows as Deluxe, Sala Plaza de España, Madrid, Spain (2002) or Brave New World , Sala Alcalá 31, Madrid, Spain (2005). They publish Delayed magazine and www.contraindicaciones.net.