The Table of the Absent re-stages a dinner table that
appeared in the central pavilion of the 1976 Venice Biennial, where Spanish
artists (supporters of a democratic republic) were invited to take part. Under
the name Spain: Artistic Vanguard and
Social Reality (1936 -1976),
the curators proposed a transformation of the
official historical narrative constructed over 40 years of Regime. As a
symbolic gesture, they staged an empty dinner scenario, with the names of
absent artists, musicians, writers and academics on placeholders of each seat.
This was a significant moment in
time for Spain. Gen. Francisco Franco had died and the country was slowly
transitioning towards a new democracy. Now, forty-two years after the signing
of the Spanish Constitution, questions of national identity, in a country
composed of an amalgamation of languages and strong regional cultures, remain widely
unresolved whilst surrounded by tensions of rising nationalist sentiments. In this context, this research’s inquiry is how through an artistic
possible to re-assess the memory of history, contribute to healing and understanding nationalist divisions.