Contenga Multitudes
María Cañas

February 05 – March 26, 2016

In these current times of sweeping political and social change, having a suspicious attitude towards images is essential if we hope to activate our present.

I invite you to wander through the fascinating territories of found footage in my satirical “video-collages”, which subvert and revive the virtually boundless online archive and the surplus images of the great stage that is the world. In this process of appropriation and resignification, I challenge the dominant cinema, while reflecting on the bizarre mixture of entertainment and alarmism, of lugubrious and sensual imagery that surrounds us, operating on the plane of iconographic cannibalism.

I think now is the time to film what no one is filming, in a place where no one films, and to make movies without cameras. I believe that the defence of raucous laughter organizes rage, and that humour of any colour is a form of grassroots resistance. My video-deliriums are on the front line of heterodoxy, the burlesque-carnivalesque spirit, the monstrous and grotesque, the “laughbellion”, with no regard for convention or protocol, and they often become a provocative challenge to official rituals. They are a resistance movement against distraction, Manichaeism, the gratuitous spectacle and all that other nonsense spawned by the digital entertainment industry. I love to create terrifying leisure that makes us roar, because “the revolution will not be televised”.

I propose audiovisual narratives untainted by “bunkerizing” visions of history and genres: blazing a trail through the no-man’s land between experimental film and video art, documentary and essay film, life and death… I fight alongside the video guerrillas, who infiltrate stereotypes and symbols and blow them to smithereens. My video-remix challenges the hegemonic message and socio-cultural myths spread by the mass media, transforming official discourses into low-cost versions of critical culture.

I hope that some of my passion for shaking and stirring up images will rub off on you, so that we can all become freer, more creative beings. May the fire walk with you all. And, as Simon of the Desert, warned, “Be thou not burned in the fire of vain contemplation.”

Is truth stranger than fiction? Or is fiction stranger than truth? Who knows… Drawing a lesson from what we have seen, adapting it to our purposes and interests, being in but not of this world, and being protean and happy—that is the essential thing, and we would be wise not to forget it. 

María cañas


Risas en la oscuridad, 2015

Laughter in the Dark

To all my sister witches, burned and risen anew from the ashes.

“If I prefer women to men, it is because they have the

advantage of being more off-balance, hence more

complex, more perspicacious, and more cynical—not

to mention that mysterious superiority conferred by an

age-old slavery”

  1. M. Cioran

The cinema is unconsciously Freudian: we enter the darkened hall to forget our humdrum lives and return to the warm maternal womb, to the magical primordial chaos from whence we came. This allusion to fertile womanhood and chaos is not gratuitous, for the images of Risas en la oscuridad feature nothing but women: witches, lady vampires, amazons, ingénues and malevolent vixens, largerthan-life females who display their power by unleashing chaos and revolt through an endless torrent of wild laughter, illuminating the darkness, the death of film and of literature, with their hilarious creative energy.

This video installation is the tribute that I, hardly one to take a condescending view of the different depictions of femininity in the media and cinema, pay to silver-screen archetypes of the femme fatale, the phoenix, the independent dame who does as she pleases and to hell with those who don’t approve, the woman who walks alone (because that’s the only way she’ll get ahead) at the heart of the Human Comedy. These are women who make no attempt to please or serve, who don’t wait around for motherhood to arrive or their man to come home. They are goddesses, succubi, giantesses, women of light and fire, fulsome, springing from mythology, film or the street: strong, self-sufficient and free—or sometimes desperate—women who rebel against the established order. These women are “selfexorcizing”, setting themselves ablaze in a fiery catharsis.

Al toro bravo échale vacas, 2015

If the Bull Is Raging, Give Him Cows

“Home isn’t where you were born, it’s where you graze.”

Spanish saying

The Basque novelist Eugenio Ibarzabal says, “There are a growing number of people who believe that one’s homeland is oneself and, at most, a few close friends.”

There was a time (a better, more fertile time) when the phrase “give the bull cows” made sense, but today, with so much pollution and chemicals, even the bull has lost his legendary virility; now he’s so far gone that neither comely cows nor the piercing aphrodisiac of the bullring trumpets can get it up for him. This video explores the paradoxical case of the raging bull that has lost its rage, the inexorable decline of the race, because Spain, that great bull-hide, is going bald and wasting away to skin and bones.

“Free spirits acknowledge no certainties, no commandments and no dogmas. Freedom cannot bear the motherland, sanctity, fashions or dictatorial power. I am interested in experiencing life through contradiction rather than conviction. I am suspicious of anything that aspires to moral superiority, anything that draws a line of perfection and demands that we walk it, whether it be a religion, an art movement or a political party. I prefer to just think of existence as drifting”…

La mano que trina, 2015

The Trilling Hand

“I fear the day technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.”

  1. Einstein

Life is what happens while we’re staring at our mobiles. Soon we won’t even need to read or speak languages; knowing how to howl will suffice. La mano que trina is a specimen case devoted to the dark side of technology, the feeling of “techno-paranoia”, the religion of the selfie, “technopathies”, digital dementia, programmed obsolescence, e-waste, “post-humanism”, etc. It is a satire about how smartphones, tablets and computers are eradicating what little critical mass (not to mention what little grey matter) our increasingly banal, childish society has left, largely owing to the curse of our “smartphone addiction”. It also reflects on our meteoric progress towards total “datafication”; perhaps we are becoming data at the mercy of and controlled by mega-corporations whose priority is not art or the freedom of users but a savage, insatiable lust for wealth, in a fast-paced age when we no longer have time to see, read or listen with critical attention…

Electronic devices have managed to atomize society. Today hardly anyone listens to an entire album; music is sold by the song. On the topic of “technoparanoia”, it seems that someone has decided to apply the strategy of “divide and conquer” or, better said, atomize and obtain a crowd of solitary, docile, cowardly individuals.

We spent our days obsessed with the latest technology, and the market incites us to lust after all things new, urging us to buy more, think less and believe that we are very modern. Digitisation requires recycling, not only on the technological level but also on the ecological, ethical and creative fronts.

The video is accompanied by a heap of electronic junk or e-waste, which for once has ended up in a museum instead of some forgotten corner of Africa or Asia. Obsolete and malfunctioning electronics, harmful to both the environment and human beings, are exported to these continents on a daily basis. Day after day, countless people are exposed to noxious gases and toxic substances because this equipment is dumped and handled incorrectly.

María Cañas

Short Bio

María Cañas, Sevilla, 1972

MFA, University of Sevilla

PH in Aesthetic and History of Philosophy, University of Sevilla, Spain

BFA Fine Arts,  University of Sevilla, Spain


Her works has been exhibited in  art centers, museums,, art galleries and ; LaBoral Gijón, Spain; international cinema festivals like Andalusian Center for Contemporary Art (CAAC), Sevilla, Spain; Iniciarte Space, Sevilla, Spain; Center for Contemporary Art –CAC- Málaga, Spain, Space 5; AVANT 14 Cinema Arenan; Gallery Thimar, Westling, Sweden; Centre D´Art Contemporain, Geneve, Switzerland; Isabel Hurley Gallery, Málaga, Spain; Lluciá Homs Gallery, Barcelona, Spain; CAS ICAS, Sevilla, Spain;  MIAM, Séte, France; Independent Cinema Festival, Lima, Perú; Cinema International Festival, Mar del Plata, Argentina;  X SEFF Sevilla, Spain; Márgenes, Cineteca Matadero, Madrid, Spain; Cinespaña Festival Toulouse, France; Alcances Festival, Cádiz, Spain;  Jornadas de Reapropiación, Mexico DF, Mexico; Film Society, Lincoln Center, New York, USA; Filmoteca Española, Madrid, Spain; Filmoteca de Cataluña, Barcelona, Spain; Filmoteca de Andalucía, Sevilla, Spain; Cervantes Institutes….

The artist has been awarded , among others, with the 1st Prize-Residency Grant Universo_vídeo LaBoral Center of Industrial Art and Creation; Hamaca; Cinema Festival, Gijon; 1st Prize City of Alcalá National Short Film Festival ALCINE, Alcalá de Henares, Madrid, Spain; 1st Peize Alcances, Cádiz, Spain; Ibn Batouta Prix, Tangier, Morocco; 1st Pize FIAV, Nimes, France;  Roman Gubern Prize,  of Art Cinema, Barcelona, Spain; Caixaforum, La Caixa, Barcelona, Spain; VisualSound, Barcelona, Spain; Andalucia  Radio Television, RTVA Prize….

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Exhibition Views



Actividad realizada con la ayuda del Ministerio de Cultura y Deporte