General Strike

Title: General Strike
Year: 2010
Medium: Participative Mural painting
Materials: Demystified church, water painting, paintbrushes, scaffolding, audience participation, images used in political propaganda, projector, news on the General Strike, brick in a showcase, spray on canvas.
Dimensions: 82’4″x 49’7″x65′


The piece fell within the circumstances created by the call to General Strike in Spain on September 29, 2010. This was the moment in which the piece was being physically produced in the exhibition space. It began with indications to paint on the walls images of the revolutionary iconographic tradition of several leftist political cultures. The purpose is to create a space inviting the participation of the audience by inciting it to paint and create its propaganda proposals on predetermined images. The intention is to generate new images having to do with the topic of the political expression.

The artist makes two traditions of political production coincide: participation art and mural tradition as a way to social unrest. The mural’s weave and the series of phases the artist expects to introduce in the painting try to absorb a temporary circumstance: the call to general strike with which, on September 2010, trade unions, citizens and activists intend to question the economic and public financial policies with which the Spanish government wanted to control the variations in the capitalist crisis. On the basis of the implementation of this mural, an attempt at inciting reflection on the political effectiveness of images in the creation of a community and in citizen participation in political processes is made. The purpose is to present a frustrated utopia in which representational art reflects a process as changing as politics and as volatile as public opinion on something as unchangeable as a visual image painted in a mural.


 La Huelga General. CANNIBAL DOMINOES / PAC MURCIA 2010. Sala Verónicas. Murcia, Spain. Curated by Cuauhtémoc Medina. (book)September 29 – October 31


Scrolldown for IMAGES

Click HERE for English Transcription of the Video

(by chronological order)


Sala Verónicas, PAC 2010

Murcia, Spain

Photos: La Lobera and Urroz Proyectos

Selected bibliography

Medina, Cuauhtémoc. “Tania Bruguera: Devouring the public,” (illust.) 

__________________. “Tania Bruguera: Devorando lo público.” Exhibition’s brochure, September, 2010.

__________________. “General Protest.” Arte al Dia International. Online published article, September 27, 2010.


“Tania Bruguera describes “Huelga General”[General Strike] as a work “on creating community, on participation, on citizen intervention and on the frustrated utopia that art can represent a process as changing as politics and as volatile as public opinion in a fixed state (an image).” In conflating two traditions of political production generally believed to be incompatible (contemporary participative art and the tradition of protest mural that co-opted the model of renaissance art to produce the most successful idea of “public art” in the 20th century), Bruguera wants to question the widespread social skepticism towards the public relevance of art by shifting the task of its making and activation to the actual public sphere itself. In a space that will be presented in a state of process, Bruguera will proffer an overall vision of a design for murals for Sala Verónicas which will later be executed by professional painters and the general public. This shared task in the execution of the work is transference of the normally external process of the ironic Warholian model of “panting by numbers,” contemplating this work implies that the beholder must finish it. The piece will not be fully observable until it is about to be finished, when its significance is perhaps already entering into a process of obsolescence, and on the point of being intervened by another initiative moving in the completely opposite direction. The connotation of the religious space in this historical weave is incorporated in the intervention. As Tania Bruguera says, “in Huelga General the work is being made as it is being represented; the sacred element is the participation of the public and the mystical dimension lies in the political action. Huelga General is otherwise an intervention bringing together the internal rules of art production and the specific circumstances of its execution in the present. Both the layout of the mural, as well as the successive phases which the artist wishes to introduce in the realization of the painting, are conceived to bookend a temporal circumstance: the announcement of a general strike in Spain for the month of September 2010 with which trade unions, citizens and activists will cross-examine the series of economic and public finance policies that the Spanish government is implementing in its bid to control the variables of the capitalist crisis. To what extent is this mural, and its process, capable of inducing a rethinking on the current moment of conflict? Working with a given circumstance, its reflective and practical effect remains in open question…”

Medina, Cuauhtémoc. “Tania Bruguera: Devouring the public,” September. Murcia, Spain