In July 2015, Matteo Guidi visited Barcelona’s municipal stores to view sculptures withdrawn from the public space. During one of his visits to the stores, Guidi met a group of curators and architects who were working on the exhibition Franco, Victory, Republic and who were there to examine the equestrian statue of dictator Franco, the work of Josep Viladomat. To do this, they asked one of the guards – a quiet man who till then had opened and closed the doors so that the group could gain access to the sculptures – to remove the sheet of plastic covering the statue. Guidi’s interest was kindled at that moment, leading to this work by him.
The piece takes the form of an animation in which each frame records the movement of the guard as he lifts up the sheet of plastic. Using a wooden pole found by chance the movement, which is both poetic and political, calls to mind the waving of a flag. A flag that covers a statue whose specific weight and significance gradually fades as part of the symbolic object is eliminated in each of the frames, leaving nothing but the silhouette of the guard with his stick. In this way, Remover con una vara de madera becomes an exercise in ideological suppression and historical narrative in which the epic is condensed into just the guard.
In the exhibition room, the animation is accompanied by a lightbox photograph in which the sculpture is shown covered and in this way it serves as a foretaste of the action and reveals the ghostliness of the image and the underlying historical narratives.
The catalogue of the exhibition is designed by Nicolò Mingolini and Matteo Guidi using Sole Serif by CAST foundry.