Txema Salvans – My Kingdom
Power manifests itself everywhere, Foucault reveals, not as an instrument or structure, but rather a diffuse atmosphere. Txema Salvans approaches the climate of power in contemporary Spain;
My Kingdom splices the political rhetoric of Juan Carlos I, former King of Spain (1975–2014), greased in sentimental, cloying language, alongside a set of black and white photographs of ordinary Spaniards, enjoying the Mediterranean coast.
Juan Carlos I plays the role of a good-natured sovereign, the tender rule of a democratic monarchy, his language drenched in authority and affect. The speech acts like a socio-political filter, through which the gestures of the beach goers are seen – the hopes, the indolence, the aggression, people parading their own small sovereignties: the freedom to nap, eat, sunbathe, play, suffer, love and show their strangeness.
Power, as something embodied and enacted, permeates both the king’s speech and the interactions of ordinary people, any summer, on the beaches and residential development of the ‘real’ Spain.
Hidden at the centre of My Kingdom is a red booklet titled “Discourses”, which includes fervent political speeches by Margaret Thatcher and Martin Luther King, by Churchill and Chaplin, reflecting on the deployment of semantic power.