Iratxe Jaio

Born 1976 in Markina-Xemein, Basque Country
Lives and works in Rotterdam, the Netherlands

Klaas Van Gorkum

Born 1975 in Delft, the Netherlands
Lives and works in Rotterdam, the Netherlands

Art Gallery of New South Wales

False Flag 2021–23
installation: polystyrene, fiberglass, epoxy resin, lacquer, video, 5:49 min, sound
Commissioned by the Biennale of Sydney with generous assistance from Mondriaan Fund, the Etxepare Basque Institute and assistance from Accion Cultural Española
Courtesy the artists

Taking inspiration from René Magritte’s 1937 painting Le drapeau noir (‘The black flag’), a response to the bombing of the Basque town of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War, Iratxe Jaio and Klaas van Gorkum have re-created in 3D several of the work’s futuristic airplanes. Appearing as if props from a science-fiction film, the planes foreshadow the advent of drone warfare and satellite technology that define the contemporary era.

Gesturing at the ways in which technology fundamentally skews human relationships with geography, Jaio and van Gorkum’s False Flag is backgrounded by footage of the Basque mountains, and layered with ghostly and disparate voices listing body parts depicted in Pablo Picasso’s Guernica 1937. Blurring ideas of the present, past and predictions for the future, False Flag considers how time and distance alter historical memory.

Read more about the 24th Biennale of Sydney, Ten Thousand Suns, by purchasing the catalogue here.