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The Conspiratorial Artist
A sarcastic review of episodes of censorship in art

Ongoing project by Enric Maurí and Nathalie Rey

This is a selection of the works that make up the project; works and images with more sensitive content are not shown so that they cannot be used in a way that might harm their authors. Moreover, most of the works presented here are in draft form or have not yet been produced.



Description of the project


The project consists of the production of a series of works, based on research in the field of art, on censorship, understood as a limitation, whether arbitrary or doctrinal, of freedom of expression. With a reading in perspective, it also includes works that today would be censored because of their form or content, or other phenomena such as the silencing of women's creativity.

Having analyzed some acts of censorship in the history of art and the evolution of these practices in different contexts, although not exhaustively but from those events or works that we have felt closest to us, we have generated a series of works of performance, photography, sculpture, objects, videos, etc., bringing into play symbolic thought and parodying works that have been - or could have been - subject to censorship through the construction of metadiscourses, seeking a relationship between past and present languages and contexts.

The project offers a look at the destabilizing role of the artist, which has often turned him or her into a suspicious and conspiratorial element that undermines morality and good taste. But it also tries to explain how, on the other hand, many of these banned productions have contributed to building a critical voice against obscene, classist, racist, sexist, etc. mentalities, which have hidden behind morality and decency to impose a restrictive, intolerant and coercive gaze. In short, The Conspiratorial Artist speculates on the limits of what can be said or represented and highlights the role of art in the struggle for freedom of expression as a destabilizing instrument that pushes society to reflect on its own moral limits.

L’Ourse écorchée [The Skinned Bear] (2021-22)

Single-channel video and photographic series

In the performance by Jordi Benito at the Joan Miró Foundation in Barcelona from June 13 to 15, 1979, the artist slit open a bull hanging from the ceiling of the foundation and entered its viscera right after, performing a ceremony between the attraction of the primitive and his admiration for the bullfighter "Manolete" who died in the ring the day he was set to retire, a fact considered by Benito as the perfect end for an artist.

In the performance L’Ourse écorchée by Nathalie Rey and Enric Maurí, the bull is replaced by a giant teddy bear filled with confetti and the artists cover themselves with chocolate or honey instead of the bloody entrails. The performance takes on a maliciously festive, superfluous and banal character, with different nuances as it progresses. It is in its final part when it takes a radical turn, referencing We Keep Our Victims Ready by Karen Finley.

Moscateer (2021-22)

- A rosary made of plastic flies, beads and a wooden cross, 49 x 6 cm

- Photographic series

- Single-channel video 14'21''

- Weapons of mass destruction: mural made with a hundred fly swatters, including a model with Donald Trump's face, 300 x 570 cm

This work is a reflection on the limits of the animal cause.

The work is based on the short film Collar de moscas [Fly necklace] (2001) by Bigas Luna, in which a woman's hands with painted nails make a necklace with live insects.

El Sobirà [The Sovereign] (in process)

Cardboard crowns, toys, plastic nets, crocheted figures, cardboard model

Variable dimensions

The sculpture entitled Haute couture 04 Transport, which represents a German shepherd, the Bolivian activist Domitila Barrios and King Juan Carlos I sodomised on top of Nazi helmets was recently censored at MACBA.

With the revision of this work, Nathalie Rey and Enric Maurí continue to ironise the question of power, including in the cycle the institution responsible for the act of censorship.

Banderas y piedras [Flags and stones] (in process)

Installation with poems printed on two wooden monuments, flags and audio

Variable dimensions

Flags and Stones is an installation that takes as a reference the work by Dread Scott What is the Proper Way to Display a US Flag? which was censored in 1989. Rey and Maurí's version ionizes the oppression exercised by the power of states through their symbols.

Hambre [Hunger] (2021)

Table and candies

55 x 59 x 59 cm

The Delight Lab Collective has become known since the recent protests in Chile for its socially conscious installations of light art with simple words, such as "Chile woke up", "Dignity" and "Humanity", which were projected on the Telefónica building. In the case of “Hunger”, the word alludes to the first demonstrations in the El Bosque commune due to food shortages as a result of unemployment. The work was censored by a group of people who came out of a truck by surprise and covered the message with powerful spotlights pointed directly on the building. An investigation by the TVN journalist Paulina de Allende revealed that the unlicensed truck had been escorted by members of the Carabiñeros and the PDI (Investigative Police).

This work becomes, in the hands of Nathalie Rey and Enric Maurí, a performative piece. On a wooden and marble table, candies are spread, which visitors are invited to take. As the sweets are consumed, the word "hunger" appears written on jeweled paper on the marble surface, reversing the process of the original act of censorship.

Dominatio (in process)

Set of 100 pictures of animal penises printed on vinyl

220 x 220 cm

The work refers to the sculpture/architecture by the Dutch atelier Van Lieshout that the director of the Louvre withdrew at the last minute from the FIAC's "Hors des murs" programme because of the possibility that it would be "misperceived by the traditional public of the Tuileries Garden". The work schematically represents a man sodomising an animal, and symbolises the "domestication" of the planet that accompanies the expansionist dynamics of human societies.

Maurí y Rey's version takes up the aspect of the work that motivated the censorship, i.e. the sexual dimension, with a gallery of photos of animal penises. Each photo is accompanied by a brief caption indicating the average size of the penis of the individuals of each species. The artists thus make a distorted use of a pseudo-scientific ethnographic classification (which may also recall racial classifications, from the colonial era and in particular under the Nazi regime) that refers to an idea of knowledge as a tool of domination.

Montaje penes de animales light.jpg
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