Franco Statue Stirs Controversy

August 31, 2013
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Moreno presenting "Always Franco" (Pierre-Philippe Marcou/AFP/Getty Images)

Moreno presenting “Always Franco” (Pierre-Philippe Marcou/AFP/Getty Images)

Eugenio Moreno’s recent statue of Francisco Franco, called “Always Franco”,  has drawn criticism from the Spanish far right. Constructed of silicon and depicted kneeling in a Coca-Cola refrigerator, Moreno

says his aim was to represent Franco’s presence among Spaniards. “I put him inside a fridge because I thought he’s still fresh, still present in our society,” he says in his studio in downtown Madrid.

After Moreno presented “Always Franco” at a major art show in Madrid last year, The Francisco Franco Foundation took legal action against him, claiming that Moreno “insulted the honor of a former head of state.”  Although a judge dismissed the case last month, a representative of The Francisco Franco Foundation said that they would appeal this decision, claiming that

I understand art as something creative, something beautiful,” he says of Merino’s sculpture. “But all this is trying to do is denigrate the past. These [artists] need a psychiatrist, they don’t need to express themselves. They need to be treated for an illness that is called hate or resentment.

Given that there has been no reprisals or truth commissions after Spain’s transition to a democracy in the mid-70s, and attempts to enforce the 2007 historical memory law have had limited success given the rightist People Party’s power and Spain’s recent economic hardships, reminders of Spain’s dictatorship continue to remain ever present throughout the country.

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