In the first half of the nineties, having settled in Madrid, Santiago Sierra did sculptures with iron containers and interventions in spaces. They were works with strong reminiscences of both minimalism, via Richard Serra, and conceptual art (especially in the descriptive titles: Rectangle of 1,000 x 400 cm Cut on the Floor; 2 Industrial Containers Measuring 1,200 x 200 x 200 cm each.
In 1996 he moved his residence to Mexico City, which meant a major evolution in his work. It was there that he began a series which, while maintaining the sculptural appearance and the minimal references, involved interventions in the public space.
In 1998 he took part in the Havana Biennial with the work Line of 30 cm Tattooed on a Remunerated Person. It was to be the first of a series of works in which he paid people to submit to different actions. Works that have been widely discussed and aroused great critical controversy.
And so in 2001 at the official section of the Venice Biennale he presented a piece which consisted of paying street vendors, emigrants in the city, to dye their hair blond. In 2003 he was the artist chosen to occupy the Spanish pavilion at that Biennale, in this case blocking the way to anyone who did not have Spanish nationality.
David G. Torres