OUR FAVORITE KINGS CASE08 March 2019, Pepino
Last week the day before Arco Madrid, I found out that my work Our Favorite Kings wasn't the only portrait of Felipe VI at the art fair. Santiago Sierra and Eugenio Merino showed a huge ninot of king of Spain. Ninots are figures that are burned during the Fallas, a traditional celebration in Valencia. Ninots are constructions of paper, wax, wood and polystyrene foam, often caricatures in provocative poses, including figures of politicians and the royal family. I thought that compared to the wow factor peace my black and white drawing wouldn't receive much attention but I was wrong. Of course the ninot was the work that even the Spanish minister of culture had to comment but Our Favorite Kings made it t all newspapers, several blogs, radio and national TV news. The work was acquired by Lluis Bassat, an advertizing mogul and TV host, which gave us extra visibility. The fair is over but yesterday a TV news crew came to my studio and today I have another interview for a TV program.
The ninot was seen by everybody as mockery to the monarchy but the reactions to my work have been more varied. Catalan separatist and far left have celebrated it because they think it discredits the king too. For the same reason it angered Spanish far right nationalits. On the other hand, the surprising reactions came from the more moderate right-wing, they see the work defending the monarchy and supporting the Spanish unity. I've been called a patriot artist (though I'm just an immigrant).
I think I succeeded. I make political art but not propaganda. Propaganda is communication that has only one possible interpretation. Good art must be more complex and assign the responsibility of thinking to the audience. I can't and I don't want to control the meaning of my art.