One of Madrid’s main attractions took on a whole new meaning for a few minutes this week when an artist painted a statue of former King Juan Carlos pointing a rifle at a historic bronze figure of a bear shaking a tree. Kept pointing.
Chilean artist Nicolás Miranda’s work called “Parasitic Strategies for Survival in a Cruel World” was inspired by 85-year-old Juan Carlos’s passion for big game hunting, which landed him a scandal in 2012, in 2014 Not long before his abdication.
Juan Carlos is a controversial figure in Spain after a string of scandals, including his luxury elephant-hunting trip to Botswana in 2012 during a financial crisis at home. Once revered for his role in Spain’s transition to democracy, he is now seen as a liability to his son, King Felipe.
After eight minutes of standing next to the bronze bear figure, Miranda removed his unauthorized statue—67 inches tall and made of polyurethane and modeling clay covered with metallic paint, to resemble the patina on the bronze.
While this surprised some tourists and passers-by, some Spaniards took to Twitter to share their approval. One user wrote, “Is this the best metaphor for our parliamentary monarchy? I say yes.”
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Bears and strawberry trees – the official symbols of Madrid – stand in the middle of Puerta del Sol square, photographed daily by thousands of tourists.
Miranda will have an exhibition in Madrid next month that will include images from the performance at the Puerta del Sol.
Miranda said in a press release, “As a contemporary artist my work is parasitic. I am parasitic on something that already exists. For example, I borrow the Madrid Monument from the Spanish Monarchy to create a parody of the city’s symbol.” I add.”
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