The expansion of Spain’s construction industry from the 1980s onwards was abruptly brought to a halt in 2008 after the real estate bubble burst owing to the global financial crisis. The deregulation of markets and their relations with states and suprastate organisations generated forms of capital circulation among the major economic agents: banks, governments, companies, political parties; abstractions which, however, have real, direct and collateral consequences, such as the destruction of employment or the commercialisation of housing, one of the strongest forms of exploitation in contemporary societies.
While — in a tragic account of work, economy, corruption and consumerism — the organic and eschatological circular diagrams of Efrén Álvarez seek to decipher the complexities of capitalism, the work of Isaías Griñolo criticises the evictions policy and champions the struggle for the right to housing, shedding light on the inequality between forces that confront one another. His installation is framed inside a long-haul investigation which seeks to make visible the indignation demonstrated by citizens on the streets over measures such as the reform of Article 135 in the Spanish Constitution and the non-compliance of Article 47, referring to the right to housing.
The pieces of Juan Pérez Agirregoikoa and María Ruido examine the crookedness of individualism and the increase in mechanisms of social control and mental illness in contemporary society, that which puts a price on everything, and the ideology of which Mark Fischer dubbed as capitalist realism. With customary, mordant irony, Agirregoikoa portrays the behaviours of domination and submission in ¿Queréis un amo? ¡Lo tendréis! (Do You Want a Master? You Will Have One! 2012), a series of drawings where he confronts and compares the behaviour of man and dog, the animal with the strongest link in the collective subconscious to the idea of master. The scenes, familiar to the spectator’s gaze, refer to that which tends to remain unexpressed in words: violence, degradation, terror, the death drive, everything which Jacques Lacan, whose discourse on the master is a source of inspiration, gathered around the concept of “The Real”. The artist takes images from television, newspapers, the internet and his own memory and combines them in a sequence on power relations — if the animal obeys the master through training, then tamed humans become animals. The system is imposed upon man — “the state and culture in all its forms”, as the artist asserts — the same system condemned by María Ruido in Estado de malestar (State of Malaise, 2018–2019), the video which lends the room its title and which pours scorn, through the texts of Mark Fisher and Franco Bifo Berardi, on the abuses of capital on our bodies and thought.