Gernika/Guernica: Desde El Cielo Hasta El Fondo (Hell Castings from Heaven), is a multi-media installation by Anita Glesta. Through projection, installation, and documentary interviews, Ms. Glesta will create an aural and visual passage, marking the 70th anniversary of the bombing of the Spanish town, Gernika. In the juxtaposition of Picasso’s iconic Guernica with the footage of actual accounts of the bombing of that day, Anita Glesta’s work challenges the viewer to question fiction versus reality.
Ms. Glesta’s work, while functioning as public art appears to be testing issues related to today’s art making. With Gernika/Guernica: Desde El Cielo Hasta El Fondo, the artist shares her personal and artistic quest as to what is the meaning of political and other art making and how artists from around the world can today create images when faced with ongoing destruction and devastation images on a daily basis.
On April 26,1937, the world experienced the first airdrop bombing, which many consider to be the harbinger of World War II. Gernika, in Spain, was hit hardest during the Civil War when Franco gave orders for the Germans to airdrop bombs on the village. Not unlike the air strike of the World Trade Center, life in the world was changed. The enormous scale of the tragedy of this event inspired Picasso to create a work that pays tribute to the catastrophe, and which we now regard as one of the most important works of 20th century political art, Guernica.
Gernika/Guernica: Desde El Cielo Hasta El Fondo focuses on the town of Gernika as a poignant and relevant place to consider in this critical time in our own history. In the weeks following 9/11, Ms. Glesta was invited to sit amongst the New York architects and urban planners to help develop guidelines for the future of the site. Unsettled by the lack of interest in looking elsewhere, both at history and at our contemporary world as a resource for other experiences of devastation the artist asked herself “How have other cities and villages in the world reconstructed their streets, their buildings, and their lives?” And mostly, how do people reconstruct their lives as well as their emotional selves? With Gernika/Guernica: Desde El Cielo Hasta El Fondo Ms. Glesta has embarked in a 5-year effort to find answers to these questions.