Isaías Griñolo presents ‘La España profunda’, an essay film on memory, explored through popular song, poetry and audiovisual archives

The BBVA Foundation starts off a new year in its Culture program with the video artwork La España profunda (de Ortega y Gasset a Rocío Jurado), open to the public from January 12; a work which author Isaías Griñolo hopes will “fix three questions on the spectator’s retina about memory and the need to know what things we should consider when looking at a monument: namely, who should we remember?, what should we remember?, and how should we remember?”


11 January, 2018


Isaías Griñolo


La España profunda (de Ortega y Gasset a Rocío Jurado)

La España profunda revolves around the works of Juan de Ávalos, the sculpture of El Valle de los Caídos, a symbolic site that gives Griñolo a handle with which to analyze Spain’s recent history. Starting from this and other Ávalos sculptures, he creates an essay film examining four concepts: history, femaleness, religion and the artistic expression of the “intrahistoric” spirit. He also invites a number of poets – Begoña Abad and Niño de Elche, Antonio Orihuela, Ana Pérez Cañamares, Isabel Pérez Montalbán, David Pielfort, Manuel Vilas and Felipe Zapico – to offer their thoughts on the distance between Ortega y Gasset and Rocío Jurado. The exhibition, as such, charts an exploratory course through memory, territory, tradition, folklore, anthropology and poetry.

“At its heart is a contradiction that captured my imagination,” Griñolo relates. “How a sculptor who was a card-carrying member of the socialist party (earning him reprisals for being ‘hostile to the regime’) ended up as the sculptor of El Valle de los Caídos.” For this piece, he uses a methodology already employed with success in other productions: the film diary and audiovisual remix, or as he describes it, “my own filmed material together with open-access stock collected from the great garbage skip that is Internet.” Combining them with the poetry readings and songs of the other artists participating in the project, “I have tried to construct a hybrid narrative that shows how our most recent history is not yet fixed. Something that mixes past and present in a process of re-writing that remains open-ended. Events of the past that intrude on the present. Set into monumental stone, they become alien artifacts that yesterday served to condense history for a moment… and that now, as a rule, have either lost their intended connotations or mean absolutely nothing.”

Popular song, poetry and audiovisual archives come together in La España profunda in order to “sing, tell and show the popular disaffection and spasms of power invading the streets both yesterday and today,” the author explains

The video will be on show to the public, free of charge, in Sala MULTIVERSO, in the Marques de Salamanca Palace, Madrid headquarters of the BBVA Foundation, where it will be screened every day between 10:00 and 21.00 until February 11. Laura Baigorri, exhibition curator and an associate professor specializing in art and new media in the Fine Arts School at the University of Barcelona, remarks that with La España profunda “Isaías Griñolo proposes a critical, political reflection on the ways of representing, recording and documenting history and memory. This project, mixing documentary, essay and poetry, is the result of exhaustive fieldwork involving the search for and recovery of materials (text, audio, video, images) and visits to numerous archives, museums and monumental environments. Its journey, which addresses the representation of power by reference to the sculptural output of Juan de Ávalos, is accompanied by the voices of six poets whose verses form a counterpoint to both the historical events and the space where they unfolded.”

La España profunda was funded under the Multiverso Grants for Video Art Creation, the BBVA Foundation’s support scheme for one of the artistic languages most distinctly of our time. “The Multiverso Grant has given me access to technical and production facilities for the journeys I wanted to make and the recordings I wanted to make there,” says Isaías Griñolo, “and allowed me to invite the poets I wanted to participate. Since completing the video, I have been delving into other aspects of the original proposal. I am currently working on a (still untitled) project that follows the methodology applied in La España profunda. And it seems the body of work arising from the idea will eventually comprise three films: one finished, another in progress and a third to come.”