Pablo Paillole // Portfolio
Feel free to read the 'About' section for further details or context regarding the artist's conceptual frame and broader creative interests.
Index of selected works
- Madrid 1940 (single-channel video with sound, 2022)
- The Silence of a Red Lion (single-channel video with sound, 2021)
- Insanitary Ramblings (single-channel video with sound, 2021)
- Pandemic Lights (single-channel video, 2020)
- no need at all to mention the [inaudible] (sound and publication, 2020)
- The Ecstasy of Communications (single-channel video with sound and publication, 2019)
- Party Politics (performance-based moving image, 2019)
In ‘Madrid 1940’, Pablo presents different snapshots taken during a walk with his mother in December 2021. During this walk, they discuss both personal and historical narratives in relation to their family history in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War.
The year 1939, when Franco won the war and imposed a military regime, marked a drastic change in fortunes for many people. Pablo’s ancestors, supporters of the democratically-elected Republican government, suffered the physical and emotional effects of political repression during Franco’s dictatorship.
In this video work, it is exposed how Pablo’s grandmother’s emotional trauma as a result of a violent episode of repression was translated into her emotionally unavailability and self-contained character throughout her life. Family archives are woven together with personal memories about to fade - many only spoken out loud for the first time - to shed light on a still sensitive and highly controversial period of the world’s history.
The Silence of a Red Lion
In The Silence of a Red Lion (single-channel video with sound, 2021), Paillole confronts the still controversial topic of the spanish civil war (1936-1939) through family memories and photographic archives. It is set between three time frames: a recent telephone conversation between the artist and his father; a family reunion twenty-two years ago; and the artist's grandfather's personal account of the war.
The conflict, which resulted in a fascist victory and an almost four-decade long dictatorship, deepened ideological trenches and forced silences which enable us to understand Spain’s political confrontation today. For many years, even during Spain’s recent democratic history, it was unofficially agreed not to speak about what had happened in an attempt to conceal the country’s open scars. However, these have now become materialised as deeply-rooted political polarisation.
Through the telephone, Paillole’s father’s voice recalls the moment when his father told him about his war experiences. These brief and never complete testimonies left socio-political traces with significant gaps in our collective memory. These words should remind younger generations of the importance of speaking aloud about trauma regardless of the political consequences. As expressed by afro-american author and activist Audre Lorde, “my silences had not protected me. Your silence will not protect you.”
Insanitary Ramblings (single-channel video with sound, 2021) is the product of collaboration between two interdisciplinary artists: Aisling Ward and Pablo Paillole; an audiovisual installation that juxtaposes archival and newly-shot footage of Nottingham to explore the Midlander’s identity. The soundscape plays a key role, weaving together the words of former factory workers and inhabitants of St Ann’s slums prior to their demolition with present-day testimonies of post-pandemic struggles, whilst also being critical of the racial tensions found within the archive. Ward’s practice spans video, performance, writing and printmaking to explore notions of gender, resistance and collective identity, while Paillole works with moving image,
sound and photography to explore the role of the archive and heritage in shaping our notions of ‘truth’ and ‘reality’. Their audiovisual practices connect due to an interest in archival media as a way to explore identity and heritage. Working collaboratively towards this experimental work has been a method of peer-support throughout lockdown to counteract the pandemic’s detrimental effect on creativity and artistic production.
Special thanks to the BBC archives for their continued collaboration with this project, exhibited in BACKLIT Gallery (Nottingham, UK) from the 11th June to the 4th July 2021.
Pandemic Lights (single-channel video, 2020) is a metaphor about the COVID-19 crisis in Spain produced through the poetic observation of burning flames - part of the monument honouring those who have lost their lives during this period - against the deformed backdrop of Madrid's arquitectural heritage. The title of this experimental video references Bohemian Lights (1920), written by spanish dramaturg Valle-Inclán, to draw a parallel line
between the birth of Esperpento as a literary genre, characterised by its grotesque deformation of reality using words, and its contemporary manifestation as an unprecedented economic, socio-political and sanitary crisis.
Read my critical reflection about this work in relation to the pandemic crisis in Spain: 'A hundred years of Esperpento: Bohemian Lights in the pandemic era', published by The Diplomat in Spain (12/2020).
no need at all to mention the [inaudible]
Image used for social media and marketing purposes
Commissioned by New Contemporaries, no need at all to mention the [inaudible] (sound and publication, 2020) emerged as an extension to Paillole’s previous work The Ecstasy of Communications, selected for BNC2020. Inspired by filmmaker Derek Jarman’s 'Jubilee' and George Orwell’s ‘1984', this new sound work provides an unusual perspective of Britain’s historical relationship with Europe and the world whilst highlighting the power of the archive.
The Ecstasy of Communications
The Ecstasy of Communications (single-channel video with sound, 2019) is an artificially constructed dialogue between fictional entertainment and political reality. This reflective series of associations is particularly relevant to our ‘post-truth’ era: the establishment of this communicative thread allows popular sitcom Fawlty Towers to reinterpret our political reality and to redefine the thin (almost unintelligible) boundaries between fiction and fact.
Having started university in September 2016, after the Brexit referendum, I graduated and Brexit had not yet been delivered. As a UK-based EU national, the work I produced during my undergraduate studies was inevitably driven by my ongoing concern with Britain’s potential relationship with the EU after its never-ending political standby. Therefore, The Ecstasy of Communications is the result of three years of undergraduate study; the result of three years of undeliverable Brexit; a critically reflective series of associations between fictional entertainment and current affairs. This single-channel digital composition - with potential to be shown as a multi-channel video installation - has been carefully structured and edited frame by frame in order to establish a coherent yet fake communicative thread that allows British comedy icon Fawlty Towers (1975-1979) to trivialise today’s political spectacle.
Party Politics was an experimental moving image piece produced through a performative methodology. Given the multi-dimensional and dynamic nature of this 'happening', parts of the performance were not recorded and were therefore intentionally ephemeral.
During the event, guests were invited to impersonate characters seen television - from politicians to cartoons - to establish unprecedented relationships between popular culture and politics. The overarching question: what conversations might emerge between these disparate characters? What might have Snow White, Charlie Chaplin and Donald Trump talked about in a state of drunkeness?
As Derek Jarman's fictional character - the ‘power-owning’ businessman and commercial music producer Borgia Ginz - said “the media became their only reality" (Jubilee, 1978). This work is the epitome of that blurred line between the fictional and the real, as its images highlight the overpowering influence of television in our daily domestic realities.
future / developing / ongoing projects
- Plundered: a multi-screen audiovisual installation combining newly-shot and archival footage with a virtual reality model of a unique piece of Spanish architecture, a now derelict historical palace with a turbulent yet fascinating hundred-year history.
- Sigüenza: a continuation of the method and themes explored in The Silence of the Red Lion, to delve into personal and public archives in relation to the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) and the Francoist regime (1939-1975) from the lens of an LGBTQIA+ artist and the lived experience of their family members. Thinking about the power that our memory gives us, this proposed audiovisual piece consist of a filmed walk around Sigüenza (rural Spain) whilst reflecting on past memories and the things we wish we had said to our deceased relatives.
- Archival Explorations (print and photography, 2020-ongoing) consists of Paillole’s experimental engagement with personal family archives found during the COVID-19 lockdown in Madrid, Spain. This project’s experimental nature allows for different iterations and process-based outcomes to freely evolve as the artist embarks on an increasingly introspective journey into his Spanish roots, culture and heritage, which is in turn helping
to develop new ideas and inform multiple future projects.