El Pais, August 1, 2001
One of the works was taken down at Trans Sexual Express
The piece was hung on the building façade without permission
by Catalina Serra
translated by Marilyn Fontenrose
The canvas in which a young woman appears with her legs spread open and her sex covered with money, by artist Tracey Emin, was taken down from the façade of the Centre de Arte Santa Mónica. The piece formed part, like an exterior introduction, of the exposition Trans Sexual Express. La Generalitat, which runs the Centre, told us that taking down the art was in response to an order from the Town Hallís office of Urban Landscape. The Office of Urban Landscape indicates that although the Centre didnít ask for the proper administrative permission, they werenít ordered to take the art down. The curators of the exposition consider the act a censorship of the exposition.
The opening of the exposition Trans Sexual Express Barcelona 2001 was June 26 at the Centre de Arte Santa Mónica, located at the bottom of La Rambla in Barcelona, and it closes September 30. The exposition unites the work of some 25 artists who treat the theme of sexuality, a sensitive issue, from the point of transgressor. The exposition, which is having a large turn-out from the public, is part of the trienal Barcelona Art Report. There was a large announcement of the expositionís title in large letters hanging on the outside of the Centre along with a large canvas reproducion of the photo of Tracey Emin, titled "Iíve got it all," which was hung on the lateral façade of the building. The Municipal Institute of Urban Landscape sent a letter on July 6 to the Generalitat indicating that the canvas had been hung without requesting the necessary permission from their administration, which could be cause for disciplinary action. According to the Municipal Institute of Urban Landscape, they still havenít been asked for the necessary permission, although they also denied demanding the removal of the canvas, even though this would normally be their job.
The director of the Centre de Arte Santa Mónica decided to remove the canvas as well as the sign announcing the show, last Friday. According to Rosa Martínez, one of the curators of the exposition, on Monday, the director had also taken down some photographs by artist Chris Korda of the United States, which following her complaints were replaced yesterday. Martínez and Xabier Arakistain, curators of the exposition, issued a statment yesterday accusing the Centre of censorship, and demanding the return of the art to its original postion. A few hours later, the Generalitat issued another statement saying that in response to a "requirement" dated July 27, from the Town Hall, they had no choice but to remove the canvas and the title of the show from the façade of the building, and that they were now looking for alternative solutions which would permit the announcement of the exposition "without going against municipal ordinances." Town Hall assured us that there had been no requirement issued on July 27, and that the only document which exists is the aforementioned communication from July 6. This is the second time the Centre of Arte Santa Mónica is guilty of violating this municipal ordinance, the first time taking place in November of 1999, when, we are told, the Centre was well aware of the need to go through this administrative procedure.
Rosa Martínez insisted yesterday that they consider the removal of the canvas, as well of the show announcement, a mutilation of the exposition which effects the complete whole, which is why this is a "form of censorship." The curators are waiting until this Friday to see whether or not the pieces are restored, and if not theyíre considering the possiblity of taking down the entire exposition.