Kepa Garraza – IBDA

Rage and revolt fill the stage of a fictitious protest against the art market and its main institutions, against an entire economy and system of influence and power that seem to have disappointed. The outcome of the riot, the traces of violence, the permanent damage and imminent risk of a new strike are captured on canvas by Bilbao-based artist Kepa Garraza, who created IBDA (International Brigades for the Destruction of Art), an imaginary terrorist group aiming to destroy what are considered to be some of the most important artworks in the past decades. IBDA builds “an ironic view on such a sensitive issue as terrorism, using clichés and social conventions surrounding it”, allowing the artist “to make a charade about the legitimacy of violence and abuse of power in modern societies.”

A burnt icon – Picasso’s Guernica, with the characters now further divided by human action, Damien Hirst’s The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living carrying the marks of a death threat to its own author are just a few of the many interventions of those who are no longer willing to accept the flaws of the contemporary art system. In 2016, Kepa Garraza returns to the theme in a new series, which was also presented in his debut New York exhibition at Castor Gallery. The aggression continues, art dealers are left with vandalized and therefore unsaleable artworks. The space where all the action takes place is relevant – renowned art fairs, art centers or galleries are targets of IBDA, while extreme measures are taken to prevent a future damage – armed security men guard the artworks and, thus, make the interaction between the public and art almost impossible.

Although the viewer is aware of witnessing a manipulated situation – and it is this unexpected situation, the spectacular and sometimes absurd circumstances that shape the message of Garraza’s paintings, one can reflect on the aspects of reality questioned and proposed for debate: “So, IBDA’s objective is to spoil the main agents of this game both in the productive and the commercial facet. My intention when developing this series is to think about the nature of contemporary art system and its tight correlation with the current structures of the market. Thus, my aim is to offer an ironic look over the art world. Especially about how its structures have disproportionately grown over the last three decades, under the shelter of a savage market.”

 

IBDA STRIKES AGAIN

Kepa Garraza - Aggression 7, Pinchuk Art Center. Oil on canvas, 200 x 150 cm, 2016

Aggression 7, Pinchuk Art Center. Oil on canvas, 200 x 150 cm, 2016

Kepa Garraza - Aggression 6, Fondation Beyeler. Oil on canvas, 162 x 116 cm, 2016

Aggression 6, Fondation Beyeler. Oil on canvas, 162 x 116 cm, 2016

Kepa Garraza - Aggression 4, Frieze London. Oil on canvas, 100 x 140 cm, 2015

Aggression 4, Frieze London. Oil on canvas, 100 x 140 cm, 2015

Kepa Garraza - Aggression 3, QM Gallery, Al Riwaq. Oil on canvas, 130 x 190 cm, 2015

Aggression 3, QM Gallery, Al Riwaq. Oil on canvas, 130 x 190 cm, 2015

View series

 

IBDA

Kepa Garraza - Action of Assault on Art 19, Madrid. Oil on canvas, 170 x 300 cm, 2010

Action of Assault on Art 19, Madrid. Oil on canvas, 170 x 300 cm, 2010

Kepa Garraza - Action of Assault on Art 12, New York. Oil on canvas, 150 x 200 cm, 2009

Action of Assault on Art 12, New York. Oil on canvas, 150 x 200 cm, 2009

Kepa Garraza - Action of Assault on Art 7, Paris. Oil on canvas, 200 x 300 cm, 2008

Action of Assault on Art 7, Paris. Oil on canvas, 200 x 300 cm, 2008

View series

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All images © Kepa Garraza

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