Berlin-based Spanish artist Manuel Saiz has pursued a multidimensional practice since the 1980s, working initially in painting, sculpture, and photography before focusing on video and media installations from the mid-90s on.
The unifying thread in his diverse oeuvre is its conceptual and experimental nature, through which the artist pursues a critical interest in language and perception. Saiz’s work is equally characterized by its playful humour and economy of means, recalling the 1970s work of John Baldessari, Michael Snow, and others who pioneered the use of video as a way to challenge the passivity of the viewer. However, his is a uniquely contemporary take on video, performance, and publication — one which is global in scope, informed by networks and the digital/virtual realm, and interested in investigating physical and temporal spaces different from those conventionally understood to derive from an objective reality.
Saiz has regularly presented and exhibited his work on the international stage, with early work being featured at the Sao Paulo Biennale (1989) and in Artificial Nature (1990), an exhibition curated by Jeffrey Deitch for the Deste Foundation in Athens. After moving to London, Saiz initiated his focus on video and media installations with Video Hacking, a work that received an honourable mention at the 1998 Hamburger Short Film Festival. Being Luis Porcar, his widely screened video production from 2005, received first prize at the Winterthur Kurtzfilm Festival and a special mention at Transmediale 06.
Other venues and festivals which have featured Saiz’s video works include the Reina Sofia Art Centre (Madrid), Impakt Festival (Utrecht), EMAF (Osnabrück), VideoFormes (Clermont-Ferrand), World Wide Video Festival (Amsterdam), Rencontres International (Madrid/Paris/Berlin), and the London Film Festival. His installations have been exhibited at the Intercommunication Center (Tokyo), Transmediale (Berlin), Whitechapel Gallery (London), and ICA London.
In 2009 Saiz was awarded a nine-month fellowship at the Spanish Academy in Rome, and he has created artist projects for internationally-known venues such as the Tate Modern, Hara Museum (Tokyo), and El Raval (Barcelona). His many publications include True Art Lovers | 101 Key Ideas (2013) and 101 Excuses: How Art Legitimizes Itself (2009).
image: Parallel Universes Meet at Infinity (still composite), 2004, Two-channel video installation, 12 minutes
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Manuel Saiz, One True Art: 16 Responses to the Question, “What is Art?”, 2013. Public event, video recording and exhibition on the definition of art at Reina Sofia National Museum of Art, Madrid, Spain.
Manuel Saiz, My Assistant Dropping an Ikea Älsking Vase (from the Old Masters series, 2013. Photo by Juande Jarillo. Assistant: Jorge Bravo.
Manuel Saiz, Colossal Blog, 2010. Performance, blog, book, and video from the artist’s fellowship in Rome, Italy.
Manuel Saiz, Sic Transit, 2009. Single channel HD video. 5 minutes.
Manuel Saiz, The Two Teams Team, 2008. Video.
Manuel Saiz, Buffer, 2008. Video and site-specific installation for Matadero Madrid.
Manuel Saiz, No, It’s Not the Same Artist, 2008. Photographic prints.
Manuel Saiz, What is Art Flowchart, 2007. Edition of 2000 double-sided posters. 100 x 70 cm.
Manuel Saiz, Parallel Paradises (Japan), 2006. HD video. 4 minutes.
Manuel Saiz, Trancendence of Networks: A Life (Numazu), 2006. Installation of three related videos.
Manuel Saiz, Being Luis Porcar (from the Specialized Technicians Required series), 2005. Video featuring one-minute monologue by Luis Porcar (Spanish) or John Malkovich (English). Edition of 6.
Manuel Saiz, Parallel Universes Meet at Infinity , 2004. Two channel video installation. 12 minutes.
Art is not a way to produce objects, or a way to produce knowledge, as many institutionalized views might affirm. It is not a way of destroying objects or knowledge, as it is suggested in some theories of economy of sacrifice and excess. I live it as a pulse, an urge of achieving something extraordinary, a break of language flow, an experience of truth. All experiences of truth are speechless and in proximity to death.
Links / Updates
True Art Lovers: 101 Key Ideas, 2013
Publication by Manuel Saiz. Published by One True Art Books. 114 pages.
24 24 Hour Psycho Sequels, 2012
Publication by Manuel Saiz. Published by Art and Consequences. 60 pages.
Train Time Zeit Zug (TTZZ), 2011
150 min documentary on DVD and book with map by Manuel Saiz. 168 pages.
A Colossal Blog, 2010
Publication by Manuel Saiz with introductions by Mary Beard, Harry Eyres, and Carla Subrizi. Published by Decreated Books. 204 pages.
101 Excuses: How Art Legitimises Itself, 2009
Publication by Manuel Saiz. Published by Decreated Books. 144 pages.
Parallel Universes, 2008
Manuel Saiz interviewed by Cecila Canziani. Photography by Alejandro Pujol. Published by Galeria Moriarty, Madrid. 32 pages.