Seven white cardboard models of vehicles are lined up on a long, narrow table illuminated by bare light bulbs. In a small adjoining room painted red and black, an archive photograph with the caption “Prototipo fai (Federación anarquista ibérica), 1936” recalls the real origin of the objects on display: battle tanks, never manufactured in series, designed by anarchists at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War.
As lightweight representations of heavy objects, between craft and industrial production, these prototypes undermine the usual divisions between art and politics. They are the remains of a future that never happened, and as such are highly enigmatic, distant, but at the same time quite close. They testify to a time of uncertainty, a time when immeasurable hope tipped over into tragic impasse. As remembrance, through its clear allusion, the installation also surprisingly brings out the past in our present, in its shift between the document and its three-dimensional representation. In this sense, perhaps it invites us, with libertarian inspiration, to imagine a form of political radicalisation in which collective action is not incompatible with individual freedom.
7 reproductions of armored cars of the Spanish Civil War.
Polystyrene, cardboard, plaster, aluminium, rubber, metal, bulb, table (120x400x70 cm)
Black & white photography 18x24 cm framed
Room painted in black and red
Courtesy (archived image): Arxiu Fotogràfic de l’Arxiu Històric de la Ciutat
Collection: Frac Rhône-Alpes (Villeurbanne, France)
Rousing the dead (2008) François Piron (eng)