isaki lacuesta foto WEB XARXES21.01 - 25.04.2021
Isaki Lacuesta

Exhibition opening, Thursday, January 21st at 7 p.m.

[activities related to the exhibition]
[view leaflet]

Photography: Jo soc allò prohibit, 2019. Image by Àlex Gifreu

Isaki Lacuesta (Girona, 1975) is a film director, screenwriter and multidisciplinary creator. His production includes documentaries, fiction films, video installations and multidisciplinary performances. Throughout his career he has created nine films that alternate and combine fiction, documentaries, personal testimonies and scientific images. It is within the practices of contemporary visual arts, however, that Isaki Lacuesta has found ways of exploring other forms of expression and narration, of expanding and setting free his creative capacity. Some of his works within this field seek a more open, abstract or conceptual scope, while others focus upon visual and thematic research. In general, it might be said that they are works that seek an audience, generating either emotional or physical responses, while also challenging spectators, drawing upon a visual suggestion that subtly reveals a raw and poignant reality. Over the years, in addition to his strictly cinematic works, Isaki Lacuesta has made 16 works of visual art that have been seen in exhibitions in contemporary art spaces and museums. In these works, as in the cinema, his gaze is also distilled, screen by screen, a gaze which is attentive to the poetic detail, the magical instant and the unique accident, as well as to the ironic inflection and the critical spirit before reality.
The first work in non-cinematographic format was Película de misterio (2003), a film collage materialised in a light box under the curation of Joan Fontcuberta. From 2007, his works came in a variety of large formats and mainly on multi-screens, including El retaule de les endevinacions (The altarpiece of divinations), co-created with Isa Campo (2010), an installation of four simultaneous video- projections, in the documentary El Rito (The Rite). Since then, he has continued to produce a variety of distinctive audiovisual works, using many different and sometimes combined audiovisual and technological media, as well as all kinds of projection surfaces. 

2019 was especially prolific for Isaki Lacuesta in this field, as he created several works for multiple screens that required careful synchronisation and image sequencing: Les imatges eco (Eco images) and L’acusat. Un caso del sud (The accused. A cas from the south); the walk-through sculptural video creation La tercera cara de la Lluna (The third face of the moon), co-created with Pep Admetlla; and Your phone is a cop, co-created with Refree, with two facing screens, an attempt at audience participation which took as its starting point an experimental concert by the two artists at Sónar 2018. 

Lacuesta's last work in 2019 was L'acusat. Un cas del Sud (A case from the south), an installation of four projections which surrounded the viewer in such a way that it was impossible to see the four images simultaneously. The work represented something that caught Isaki Lacuesta’s attention about the social, cultural and political reality of Andalusia, a context that he knew through a number of stays which he had made during the shooting of his films. The work started from the story of several murders committed in the vicinity of the town of El Rocío, painting a portrait of a location and a situation with the four "icons" of Andalusian reality as its main subjects: the bar, the hunt, the church and the Civil Guard. In this piece, Isaki Lacuesta fixed his critical gaze upon ancient traditions, and the setting of the revival of the far right.

Then, in 2020, he presented Jo soc allò prohibit (I am that which is forbidden)*, an interactive work that encouraged the participation of the spectator, while playing with the possibilities of audiovisual-related technology. The piece explored the concepts of prohibition and censorship, while at the same time focusing on the arbitrariness of justice, and the confusion that occurs when certain materials banned by the courts circulate on the net. Isaki Lacuesta compiled images based on materials censored in Spain for the last 40 years, relating to all kinds of legal cases such as the exaltation of terrorism, crimes against honour, insults to the crown, offense to religious sentiments, jihadist propaganda, or anti-feminist pornography. Among the accumulated materials were works of art and theatre, books, tweets, drawings, photographs, documents, etc. The avalanche of images was projected at high speed on the four walls of a square room in such a way that viewers could not have taken on board the content of any of the images, even less perceiving the work as a whole. In parallel with the imagery, the audience heard the results of a survey of 25 musicians answering a single question; "Can you sing me something that can't be sung in Spain?". The answers are songs by Albert Pla, Maria Arnal, Kiko Veneno, Fermin Muguruza and Pau Riba, among others.

Three works have been chosen for Isaki Lacuesta’s exhibition of at ACVIC; the two recent video installations mentioned above (L'acusat. Un cas del sud and Jo soc allò prohibit) and as a contrast, the documentary El rito (The Rite), a 2010 short that works very well as a video projection, which Isaki Lacuesta dedicated to the painter Miquel Barceló. It is a musical documentary about the everyday routine work in a slaughterhouse in Salt, Girona. The sequential imagery displays a highly industrial setting, in which viewers are shown the whole slow process of the animal’s slaughter until its final dismemberment, and how the workers routinely carry out and handle their work, with the precise and mechanical gestures typical of the chain of transformation from a carcase into a pile of steaks.

It might be argued that the choice of The Rite for an exhibition at the Centre for Contemporary Art in the capital of the region of Osona is not a trivial one. In Osona, the issue of the meat industry, a sector of great economic importance, is highly charged, and literally causes a stink in the environs of the town. This is true throughout Catalonia, where it should be no surprise to learn that there are more heads of cattle than there are of people, and that the meat business represents 2% of GDP and employs more than 30,000 people throughout the country. The issue is also controversial, because in contrast to economic data, overexploitation in the livestock industry, leading to serious environmental problems (pollution of aquifers, greenhouse gas emissions, etc.), must be considered, as well as precarious working conditions, and a regime of mass production against which small family farms cannot compete; quite apart from the bloody issue of animal suffering, especially because of the way they are slaughtered, either stunned beforehand, or with the animal fully conscious as required by halal and kosher rituals which consist of killing by slicing across the throats of cattle, goats, sheep, or fowl, bleeding the animals to death. In the documentary, both kinds of slaughter are represented, and if one of them is hard, the other is cruel.

According to the estimates of the Catalan Federation of Meat Industries (Fecic), the main source for the sector, the halal ritual is the system used to slaughter 49.4% of lambs and 40.4% of cattle, of the total number of animals slaughtered in Catalonia. Likewise, around half of the meat from bovine and ovine origin for sale in Catalonia has met this religious requirement in their slaughter, despite the fact that the vast majority of consumers do not ask for it. Many consumers are unaware that often they are eating meat from animals slaughtered painfully while conscious, as regulations do not require commercial establishments to report this fact.

Ten years after its creation, it bears highlighting that The Rite remains relevant, considering that since December 2020, the European Union’s Court of Justice has allowed governments to ban the slaughter of animals by the halal and kosher ritual, and demand that animals be stunned beforehand. In this way, European legislation allows interference with freedom of worship because it responds to an objective of general interest recognised within the European Union, such as the promotion of animal welfare. We are talking about avoiding the suffering of animals at the time of death, and to be more aware of what this means, we must be aware that scientific studies confirm that animals, especially mammals, having nervous and limbic systems similar to those of humans, experience similar pain and emotions to those we ourselves feel. 

The sentences printed at the end of the documentary say that the images we have seen are not a metaphor, they are our food. The animal suffering we see there is not imaginary, it is our suffering.

On the other hand, from another point of view, I am that which is forbidden is a work on censorship, while The accused (a case from the south) and The rite refer to social self-censorship, one that occurs when society voluntarily ignores reality, an everyday situation that, in most cases, is parallel to and complicit in the silence of the communications media, which simply ignore the taboo subject. The invisibility of the rise of the far right, or not speaking out about the cruelty implicit in animal slaughter rituals, are examples. Likewise, on the subject of censorship, present throughout history, as Isaki Lacuesta’s compilation demonstrates, there also exists this gag, in short, a silence that covers up the phenomenon. 

For all this, the compendium of works in the exhibition has come together under the name of Trilogy of hidden reality, and is, after all, an invitation to find out more about a number of issues before our eyes without being seen, voluntarily or involuntarily. 

Carme Sais
Director of Bòlit, Centre for Contemporary Art. Girona


* LOOP Award 2019 of the Xarxa de Centres d’Arts Visuals de Catalunya, Arts Santa Mònica, Departament de Cultura de la Generalitat de Catalunya and LOOP Barcelona. The Xarxa de Centres d’Arts Visuals de Catalunya is configured by: ACVic Centre d’Arts Contemporànies, Vic; Bòlit, Centre d’Art Contemporani. Girona; Centre d’Art la Panera, Lleida; Centre d’Art Tecla Sala, L’Hospitalet de Llobregat; Fabra i Coats - Centre d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona; M|A|C Mataró Art Contemporani, Mataró; Lo Pati Centre d’Art Terres de l’Ebre, Amposta, and Centre d’Art de Tarragona


Isaki Lacuesta 
(Girona, 1975) is a film director, screenwriter, visual artist and transversal creator. Throughout his career he has worked on documentaries, fiction films, video installations and multidisciplinary shows. He approaches film and the arts as media of infinite experimentation, and works regularly and intensely with artists from other creative fields. 

His films have been screened at the MoMA, at the Anthology Film Archives in New York, and the National Gallery of Art in Washington (2013), the Swiss Cinematheque (2017), the Centre Pompidou (2018), the Filmoteca Española (2018) and the Filmoteca de Catalunya (2019) have dedicated complete retrospectives of his career to date, as well as showing at festivals in Italy, France, Germany and Colombia. In 2016 he was one of the three curators of the Catalan pavilion at the Venice Biennale of Architecture, where he presented a large video installation. 

His feature films include Entre dos aguas and Los pasos dobles, both awarded the Concha d'Or at the San Sebastian Festival. He has been awarded the Gaudí prizes for the best film on three occasions, the RNE Sant Jordi Prize for Cinematography twice, and the National Cinematography Prize of the Generalitat de Catalunya (2012).

In 2018, Lacuesta won the 5th Edition of the Video Creation Award of the Network of Visual Arts Centres of Catalonia, Arts Santa Mònica, the Department of Culture of the Generalitat de Catalunya and LOOP Barcelona. In 2019, the artist exhibited Eco Images, Isaki Lacuesta at the Arts Santa Mònica from May to September. 



Activities linked with the exhibition Trilogy of the hidden reality by Isaki Lacuesta and in the context of the 10th anniversary of ACVIC Centre d’Arts Contemporànies.

Public activites in the context of the exhibition

Wednesday 27th April at 18 h

In ACVIC. Centre d’Arts Contemporànies (Sant Francesc, 1 Vic)
Organize: UVIC. Universitat de Vic - Universitat Central de Catalunya

Wednesday 27th April at 18 20 h
Entre dos aguas
de Isaki Lacuesta
con la presencia del director
In L’Atlàntida. Centre d’Arts Escèniques d’Osona. Sala 2
(Francesc Maria Masferrer, 4 Vic)
Organize: Cineclub Vic

Thursday 29th April at 8 pm

In L’Atlàntida. Centre d’Arts Escèniques d’Osona. Sala 2
(Francesc Maria Masferrer, 4 Vic)
Organize: Cineclub Vic

Friday 39th April at 8 pm

In L’Atlàntida. Centre d’Arts Escèniques d’Osona. Sala 1
(Francesc Maria Masferrer, 4 Vic)
Organize: L’Atlàntida. Centre d’Arts Escèniques d’Osona

With the collaboration:
Bòlit Centre d'Art Contemporani. Girona

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