Los Países

Pedro G. Romero


Book, 96 p, language: Spanish, publisher: Editorial Periférica, ISBN: 9788492865789.
Materials: ink, paper

Collection: Collection M HKA, Antwerp (Inv. no. B 2026/518).

Literary synopsis

Although it doesn’t belong to any particular literary genre, Los Países (The Countries) could be eventually defined as a novella. It is a fiction in the form of a dialogue. The tone of the voices that speak indicate that we are witnessing a research trip. Like in a detectives novel, the crime to be solved is delineated step by step. The mystery is nothing but landscape itself, the notion of landscape in a specific environment (two industrial towns in the Vasque Country) and the conceptual metonymy generated by language, bodies, sensibility and collective narratives. The dialogues are constructing by using fragments of conversations and quotations from Bernhard, Leni Riefenstahl, Ángel Guimerà and Samuel Beckett. Images and text appear as forgeries in a critical machinery that, paraphrasing Antonio Gramsci, creates by destroying.

Relation of the novel to the artist’s practice

The countries began in 2008 as a commission from the Universidad Complutense in Madrid. The framework was a project called Destruction and Construction of Territory. Pedro G. Romero was invited to work at some specific places in the Basque Country, “as examples of a certain urban treatment or as mere calamities.” Romero was already working in that same territory and soon he found an evident relation between the restoration of old paper factories in Tolosa and the current environmental disaster provoked by the paper industries in Hernani: “it was the same activity, it had just been relocated”. This project is called A Pure Violence, and it comprises the third major system of the F.X. Files, since its inception in 1999. The two former systems were The Empty City –whose final results were exhibited at the Tàpies Foundation in Barcelona, in 2006- and A Zero Economy, exhibited at the Museo Picasso in Barcelona,in 2012. In June 2013, as part of the series Treaty of Peace, a selection of thesauruses and early developments from A Pure Violence were exhibited at the Museo San Telmo, in San Sebastian. One of the most peculiar pieces, constructed upon texts and images create a relation (or a confrontation) between Thomas Bernhard and paper factories, “terrorism” and gastronomy, some graffiti from Tolosa and Mikel Laboa’s Lekeitioak, as well as contemporary artists, and industrial dump, Leni Riefenstahl and Àngel Guimerá, the forest and the mountaineers… After this exhibition, and using the same materials, Editorial Periférica published Los Países (The Countries), just as it had done with Las correspondencias –an earlier work by Pedro G. Romero.

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