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article imageLatest sculpture of Franco as a punching ball is sweet revenge

By Anne Sewell     Dec 29, 2013 in Entertainment
Sculptor Eugenio Merino got into trouble a while back for his work depicting the former Spanish dictator Francisco Franco inside a Coca-Cola fridge. He won the case launched by the Franco Foundation, and now his latest work is pure, sweet revenge.
Digital Journal reported on how Merino stole the limelight at the ARCO modern art fair in Madrid with a satirical piece of art depicting Francisco Franco in full uniform, inside a Coca-Cola fridge and the case that was later made against him by the Franco Foundation. He was sued for "dishonoring" the deceased dictator with the artwork (dubbed "Always Franco"), but managed to win the suit in July 2013.
Merino then decided to get his own back and has now produced yet another masterpiece (pictured above left).
He has created the ideal punching ball, shaped like Franco's head, complete with broken sunglasses.
The super-realistic silicone sculpture is spring-mounted for real action when used as a stress reliever.
According to Merino, the latest work represents the frustration of the Spanish people.
"It seemed to me that it would be good for those who were persecuted and received no justice, to have this to beat up, like a kind of catharsis" he told AFP.
"You can do that, get your anger out, because you won’t be able to get much else in Spain," he added.
Apparently the new work has already been under attack. it had to be repaired recently after a parrot belonging to a photographer who currently owns the piece of art, attacked it. Everyone's an art critic it seems.
However, according to Hoy (Spanish language), it has naturally also come under attack from the Franco Foundation. Despite losing their last battle they are already complaining and denouncing the sculpture as a "reproduction of the former head of state bordering on the grotesque and offensive."
Jaime Alonso, vice-president of the Foundation, told the media, "Offense and slander are not protected as rights in any civilized country." Makes one wonder about freedom or speech or art? (video in Spanish) says it is unlikely that any court action against the current piece of art will have any luck, however, as the judge who threw out the last action said that it "did not alter the reputation or the memory of the historical character but was a critical work that calls for reflection."
However, the Franco Foundation might not like the idea of that kind of reflection. According to Merino's lawyer, the previous suit had been a clear attempt by devotees of the dictator to "stifle artistic freedom."
Francisco Franco y Bahamonde, to give him his full name, ruled Spain with an iron fist from 1936 until his death in 1975.
The last official statue to the former dictator was pulled down in 2008. However, he does have a tomb in the monument of Santa Cruz del Valle de los Caídos, near Madrid. However, the Spanish opposition party, PSOE, are pushing to have him dug up and moved from there.
For now, once again, artistic expression wins the day.
Latest sculpture by Eugenio Merino of Spanish Dictator Francisco Franco as a punching ball.
Latest sculpture by Eugenio Merino of Spanish Dictator Francisco Franco as a punching ball.
Video screengrab
Francisco Franco in a fridge:
Eugenio Merino with his piece of art  Always Franco
Eugenio Merino with his piece of art "Always Franco"
Video screengrab
More about francisco franco, Spain, Sculptor, eugenior merino, Artwork
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