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Martín Sastre, Dear Mr. Barney, I Walked through Fire and I Didn’t Burn


Momenta Art
359 Bedford Avenue, between S. 4th and S. 5th, 718-218-8058
October 12 - November 12, 2007
Reception: Friday, October 12, 7 - 9 PM
Web Site

Momenta Art is pleased to present the first New York solo exhibition of the work of Martín Sastre. Originally from Montevideo, Uruguay, Mr. Sastre currently lives and works in Madrid.

Since his first group show in New York in 2000 at Momenta, Sastre’s video work continues to examine the impact of US pop culture and spectacle upon the identity and self image of South American artists. His work easily slides between the personal and political, both humorous and profound in its message, presenting fictions of his own to counter the fictions that have been created through US cultural dominance.

This exhibition consists of two videos, including the New York premiere of Bolivia 3: Confederation Next, which is set in the year 2876 when South America has united and the United States no longer exists. An immortal Tom Cruise narrates how the US lost “fiction control,” its ability to conflate reality with entertainment – and thereby lost its world dominance. A satirical perspective on politics and culture, the video employs a barrage of pop manipulations similar to that of Hollywood, with Sastre posing as the underdog hero battling the evil empire embodied by Matthew Barney.

In a hyper-real extension of the video, Sastre met Barney at the Sao Paulo Biennial and they exchanged addresses, but Sastre lost Barney’s contact information. To bring that anecdote back into the realm of fiction, Sastre presents a new video. In sharp contrast to the high production values of Bolivia 3, the second video is a DIY entreaty, performed by “Lala” the grandmother and matriarch of the Sastre clan. In the video, she invites Barney and his wife Björk to spend a traditional Uruguayan Christmas with her, her 6 children, and 13 grandchildren. The video will be posted on YouTube as an open letter to Mr. and Mrs. Barney.

Martin Sastre was born in Montevideo, Uruguay in 1976. His work was included in the Venice Biennale, Sao Paulo Biennial, the Prague Biennial. In 2004 he received Best Artist Award from ARCO’s Madrid International Art Fair. His work has been exhibited internationally in France, Australia, Argentina, China, Britain, Italy, Germany, Spain, Chile, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Norway, Cuba, Brazil, and the Czech Republic.
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