María Cañas

31.03.2023 – 30.04.2023

«Spring is like a perhaps hand (which comes carefully out of Nowhere)» – E. E. Cummings


Just as Groundhog Day is celebrated every year on February 2nd in Punxsutawney, Pensilvania, so every year Seville experiences a Groundhog Spring. From the end of March, a delectable Spring Fever grips the city. Every year during Holy Week the same processions follow the same routes (since Medieval times!), the same posters, the same Nazarenes and the same frenzy of noise and activity… Then comes another year of Feria, of matadors…

In the videoguerrillas and videomachies of María Cañas, another Holy Week is possible: self-deprecating, heterodox and iconoclastic. Alternative, indomitable Spring Festivals take place in the streets, on the periphery, in the underground… reinventing themselves and bursting with life.

Terrorist Virgen of the Archives, Michael Jackson: Pop Martyr, Our Lady of the Stoned and Creatures of the Underground… we commend ourselves to you.

The pieces brought together in this exhibition conspire to question and dismantle the clichés, symbols and iconography that underpin national and regional identities. They re-signify and revitalise Holy Week, Spain’s festival par excellence, through unprecedented, surrealist and humorous approaches. The images have marked a transnational, mestizo character, forming part of both a global context and the collective imagination, despite being strongly rooted in local folklore and popular culture. In her eagerness to go further, to reach Val del Omar’s concept of “Endless”, Cañas’ passion for experimental, marginal and bizarre cinema is boundless.

The poster-stamp Astenia primaveral (Spring Fever) reconciles meme-culture with the world of the brotherhood. The restoration of Borja’s Ecce Homo by Cecilia Giménez became an overnight viral sensation, a comic success. Ecce Homo went from being a conventional work of art to a 21st century pop icon of global relevance, a symbol of the way we see the world and a vindication of Art Brut, both popular and marginal. In this sense, Verónica is an extension of Doña Cecilia’s Ecce Homo.

Holy Thriller, shows Michael Jackson as a pop martyr, revered in a sacro-pop style by a brotherhood during Holy Week. This hilarious video unites the hysterical phenomenon of fandom with the exacerbated expressions of popular devotion. Solemn manifestations of religious passion and pop culture come together, emphasising how both spectacles seek to immerse their audience in collective ecstasy. Religious devotion choreographed by MJ. Our Jacko, who art in heaven: «I would only believe in a God who could dance», in the words of Uncle Fred (Nietzsche). Or as Emma Goldman said: «If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution». All we can says is: Amen to that. We too only believe in God if he can dance. Michael Almighty, we adore you, lead us right on into temptation.

Al compás de la marabunta (To the rhythm of the masses), or Holy Week, this ant-inspired piece explores the animal nature of humankind as expressed through the fervour for Holy Week’s processions. In the form of a satirical analogy, we see a crowd of tiny ants eagerly pushing a wooden stick to the rhythm of traditional hymns, a rhythm that marks the pace of the devout miniature procession. Ants like little confreres, little confreres just like ants…

Al subsuelo con ella (To the underground with her). In the wake of the Pandemic and the ensuing existential crisis, underground communities maraud in haze of creativity through the backstreets and basements of our cities, giving rise to debauchery, divergence and the magic of chaos. The Creatures of the Underground march in their procession of irreverence to the rhythm of Drum&Bass. To the Underground with them! Abandon yourselves to counterculture. Abandon yourselves to beauty. Disaster is the answer!

María Cañas