Who is behind the artistic project that will renew corroded flags of Spain from the balconies of Madrid with funding from the Government of Almeida? It is Mario Gutiérrez, a 41-year-old artist, who, according to he tells elDiario.es in this interview, intends to “question the symbolism” of the flag, the anthem and the country so that “each one asks his own questions” . The creator warns that it is an “ironic” proposal. “How many more flags, the more proud of Spain. Be the pride of your neighbors”, says the web that accompanies the project.
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According to Gutiérrez, the winning project of the call for aid for the creation of 2019 of the Madrid City Council is part of his line of research on “the state of the nation”, whose objective is “to criticize a concept of State that by nature itself is nothing more than an expired shell. ” Among his works there are police cars and Civil Guard scrapped and buried. Also an installation on the Gürtel case. When asked if he thinks that the aid of 12,750 euros can be linked to the right, he answers: “I hope not.
How did the idea of the project come about?
I have a great project on the state of the nation that revolves around the vindication of the idea of homeland-flag-anthem and that tries to investigate why there are people who take pride in certain icons that are worn out. If you are to be proud, the symbol should be in tip-top condition.
The objective, he says, is “to glorify the flag of Spain” and “to embellish the deteriorated image of Spain and recover its splendor for the national pride.” Explain yourself.
It is a project with a serious part and an irony part. You never know well if I want to change the flags of Spain or I am questioning the symbols so that each one asks their questions. What does the concept of flag mean? If we consider that we want to have an image with a symbolism, we would have to give our best or forget about all these symbols and consider that we do not belong to anything. I want to question it. We are at a time when it is dangerous to be an artist and to speak of political events with prison sentences or fines.
When did you present it?
The current team of PP and Citizens was already there. The aid was resolved before the pandemic and I have been working on it for months.
Did you think that the idea could motivate the Almeida government?
Yes. That’s why I introduced it. He probably would not have done it at another time, with another government. I would not have filed it with another administration.
Why has it been made public now that you won the call, even though it was before the pandemic?
I have no idea why it came out at the moment. I suddenly came across it this afternoon. It is creating a lot of controversy due to the fact that the City Council supports a project to put up more flags of Spain because Christmas lights were put up with the banner with public money and a huge flag was even projected in the Puerta del Sol on the day of the bells. But they are different expenses. I don’t think Almeida is aware of any of this, even though it has been approved in his term.
How do you think the people of Madrid are accepting the proposal?
I have a lot of emails from people who want to do flag exchanges. Today I have received hundreds of messages from people asking me how to do it.
Do you think that the project can ideologically link you with the right wing?
I hope not.
What do you plan to do with the 150 flags you collect? Tell us a little more about how the project is developing.
Everything is in process. I do not know yet, I suppose to show them as is. Someday I’ll do a sample of the whole project. Now I am with a part of a social media campaign. I have made some advertisements to deposit on certain portals and do, with care, a door-to-door campaign.
What are you going to allocate the 12,750 euros of the grant?
To everything, to documentation, to my own process, but also to renew the flags.