Chickens

JUAN PÉREZ AGIRREGOIKOA

/ ESP

*1963, lives and works in Paris

Juan Pérez Agirregoikoa is Spanish of Basque origin and has lived in Paris for many years. His sharp-tongued comments on the state of society and politics are often politically incorrect; this peculiar Groucho-Marx-attitude to art and the world is usually expressed in bright, colourful depictions of gruesome scenes from newspaper reports or images of controversial political characters next to bizarrely deformed celebrities. Behind all this hides a unique matter-of-fact attitude to pathos, grandeur, and the sublime that also be seen in his flag design for Showing True Colours. While he usually caricatures the iconography of media exaggeration in connection with political events, his flag displays a tower of eagles that, piled on top of one another, create a heraldic chaos. The eagles - symbols of (male) power - basically behave no differently than a bunch of jostling fans at sporting events or concerts. If the flag itself comes across as rather ambiguous, its title Chickens - which translates to both the animal and a serious lack of courage - immediately brings to mind the proverbial chicken yard with its impulse-controlled residents. This reveals the artist's lack of a traditional sense of appropriateness. True to the role of a medieval fool, Agirregoikoa scratches at the self-image of the powerful in this world by picking up a few common symbols and deconstructing them; his works are full of disturbing cross-references between text and image. The artist says that "the real always hits us and that art is a way to negotiate and deal with the grief, the worry, the agony reality causes."