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Victim of the Serbian Bombing in the Centre of Sarajevo, Sunday 28 November 1993. Second version (J'est un je Series), 1996
Original title: Víctima del bombardeo serbio al centro de Sarajevo, el domingo 28 de noviembre de 1993. Segunda versión (Serie J'est un je ), 1996
1996
Oil on canvas 
Dimensions: 126 x 204 cm
Reference: ACF0632
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Simeón Saiz Ruiz is an artist who has used painting since the eighties as a tool for artistic meditation. Set out in homogeneous coherent series, his work has always existed in a borderland where conceptual strategies converge with a truly pictorial programme. The series presented in different stages throughout the nineties under the title "J'est un je", to which the two works in the collection belong, sums up and exemplifies his working method and his approach to problems. The title of the series turns the famous phrase that Arthur Rimbaud wrote in a letter to Georges Izambart, J'est un autre (I am another), on its head, firstly to show the complex forms of perception and secondly to synthesise the ideas that led him to choose the theme of the war in Bosnia. The images are initially taken from photographs published in the newspapers or shown on news broadcasts on various television channels. Images of the war or armed conflicts themselves are excluded and Saiz takes into consideration only the ones that show the death of civilian victims. He paints the newspaper images in black and white, as in Víctima de bombardeo serbio al centro de Sarajevo, el domingo 28 de noviembre de 1993. Segunda versión, which show the morgue where the victims' bodies have been taken. Only the title refers to the bombing itself. . The work Víctimas de la matanza en el mercado de Sarajevo, el sábado 5 de febrero de 1994, día más sangriento desde el inicio de la guerra corresponds to a different moment in the process followed by the series, and may be regarded as complementary to the earlier one insofar as they both take up the representation of the news and the story, though starting from the reproduction of different graphic languages which, in the work we are looking at here, determine the colour and texture of the lines or pixels of television screens, and in the other the stain-based black and white of the press photograph. The "J'est un je" series proposes a critical look at the possibility of history painting, at a time when media information -especially television- not only takes on the documentation of events in real time of duration and broadcast, but also monopolises interpretation of the images it produces. Photojournalism has been displaced and minimised by the moving video image, but for decades both have substituted the moral and political function of painting in the nineteenth century. In those conditions, painting can assume a style that reproduces the supposed objectivity of photography and video-television in perceptive terms by introducing some critical thinking about the status of the image and its history in contemporary visual culture through its own capacity for reproduction. The use of painting to tackle those problems is not a plea for the art form; it rather implies a heightening of visual attention and perception, precisely in a context where the gaze is increasingly anaesthetised by the multiplication of images in the information media. In some way, in this series different but complementary critical discourses are intertwined and from them comes a demand for a political look at the relations between information, history and media manipulation. The political is established as a reflexive, critical condition, which tends to clarify some of the psychological and social tensions that imply a subject set in a society dominated by information and its manipulation.

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