Here, as in other works, Valeriano López uses a work of art as a starting point for an exercise of subversive appropriation.
The work of art in question is “The Knight with a Hand on His Chest”, by El Greco. The main section of this painting covers, in López’s video, the left half of the screen, and on the right half there is an Arab boy, standing up. After a while, the hand that is out of sight in the painting reaches out to the Arab boy’s side of the screen, opens up his fly, and inserts his hand in the boy’s trousers. After some time, the hand is withdrawn and returns to its original position, hidden away. The boy, after a brief moment, does up his fly.
After this initial action takes place, around 120 portraits of anonymous street characters, of different age and gender, appear in the shape of a frieze and moving horizontally across the screen, with their right hands dressed in the same shirt sleeve as the Knight’s in the El Greco painting, and with their left hands hidden away. The last image to appear in the video is that of a hand wearing the lace sleeve from the painting.
In this work, López manages to present an undoubtedly taboo subject through the satirical treatment of an image belonging to the established history of Art.