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Arte, memoria y resistencia en la Galicia de posguerra: el caso de José Meijón

German Labrador Mendez
Friday, April 05, 2019
3:30 am - 5:00 am
Germán Labrador Méndez
2018-2019 Romance Studies Dialogue Series

LECTURE IN SPANISH: Meet José Meijón Area, the eccentric, presumably uncultured stonemason from Marín (Pontevedra) who lived through Spain's last colonial wars in Africa, survived the Civil War and went through the ensuing dictatorship using the stones in the environing parishes as a book of memory on which for decades he compulsively sculpted petroglyphs and script with his hammer and chisel. Meijón left a vast collection of delirious and cryptic inscriptions scattered throughout the coastal villages of southern Galicia alongside the region's more famous petroglyphs from the Atlantic Bronze Age, which likewise resist the erosion of time and forgetting while challenging our attempts at a final interpretation. A vernacular practitioner of land-art avant la lettre and of masonry as a mnemonic techné, Meijón suffered mental illness for at least most of his adult life. His vast output of image and script carved on stone matters to us not so much because it is the work of a deranged artist, but because his stubborn testimonial stance resists to this day appropriation by exploitative capitalism and museum-like institutions. It thus retains its potentiality for critiquing the gradual disappearance of the rural commons (montes comunais) and other collective, unbuilt spaces in which he conceived of his artistic commitment to a politics of commemoration against the grain.