Los Torreznos

Circo Interior Bruto

Los Torreznos is a name sometimes used by a duo who have been working together, though not exclusively so, for ten years—Jaime Vallaure and Rafael Lamata also work individually. Despite their youth, both are veterans of performance and video, and they have developed a very distinct collaborative personality based on a sense of the spectacle—which is not to say frivolity but rather an awareness that theirs are works developed over time—along with a desire to investigate or reflect on contemporary issues both social and artistic.

Such interests persisted in La noche electoral (Election night), 2001. The sober staging recalled a flamenco performance: two singers situated on a simple stage illuminated by a single bulb, ready to sing before the public. The work's structure as much as its general development was also very much related to music. Not only was sound important, but, though the work's semantic dimension was predominant, the structure seemed directly inspired by musical composition, most likely Minimalist (the artists admire composers like Terry Riley and Steve Reich). Both performers kept their eyes shut for the duration of the piece (about thirty minutes), and their bodies, hands, and voices had a palpable expressivity reminiscent of flamenco performances. Drawing on the idea that on election night commentators and representatives of the different parties interpret the results according to their own interests, Vallaure and Lamata twisted their language to put forth a critique of contemporary politicians' inclination to distort reality, take advantage of ambiguity, and shy away from precise meanings. The copious repetition of names of politicians and issues related to politics suggested one possible reading, but these were not the only references, in this lucid and caustic work, to well-calculated and successful rhetorical effects. Throughout, words and phrases were reeled off according to a rhythmic progression that culminated in a powerful climax, in which both singers cited names of twentieth-century artists, classified according to negative and positive categories. This well-aimed joke alluded to the unbearable tendency to qualify authors rather than works—a cliché, predominant in the art world, that emphasizes both the absurd necessity for creative formulas and the form of consumption of art itself. By including themselves, with great humor, among the positive names and vehemently insisting on highlighting their own artistic identity or “brand name,” Los Torreznos, Vallaure and Lamata seemed to fulfill a statement delivered in the prelude to the work: that they themselves constitute a commercial formula. The result, however, is far more significant and contradictory: They have created a work of power and clarity, not a formulaic pattern.

Pablo Llorca

Translated from Spanish by Michèle Faguet