Jaime Conde-Salazar


A retablo is a liturgical element developed within the Mediterranean catholic tradition and its colonial versions. It is a structure made of wood, stone or metal that covers as a curtain the main walls of the church. Before the Second Vatican Concilium, both altar (where Christ´s Body is consecrated) and sagrario (where Christ´s body is kept) were part of the retablo. For this reason all the main rituals take place in direct relation with this kind of structures.

Traditionally, a retablo is built as a collection of scenes displayed in a vertical plane. These scenes follow the narrative program designed in every retablo. They are organized in calles (vertical groups of scenes) and cuerpos (horizontal groups of scenes). Depending on the size of the retablo and on the richness of it, the narrative program is developed including, in the largest examples, various different stories.

Retablos first appeared during the 10th C. as mobile and ephemeral objects. Although they grew in size and richness with the time becoming static structures, they kept certain ephemeral character related to its theatrical nature. Retablo 03 has a similar structure to traditional catholic retablos. Its narrative program follows the cycle of the Passion and specially those scenes related to the Death and Resurrection of Christ. The images used in this work are either photographs of my own body or appropriated images and texts of other artists.

Retablo 03 is a love letter to my friends that live in the other side of the Ocean. Through this letter and through the narration of Christ's Passion, my own body travels to meet and show them my love. As an ancient travel retablo, this one is a portable story that stands-in for my body and appears as the place of the impossible encounter with the beloved and desired bodies.

Jaime Conde-Salazar was born in Madrid, Spain on February 23, 1974. He received his degree in Geography and History (Universidad Complutense de Madrid) in 1997. He did his MA in Performance Studies (NYU, 2002). From time to time he writes about dance and performing arts for various publications. Thanks to his endlessly generous family, he does not work and he is not a productive citizen. Nowadays he lives in a crossroad waiting for an epiphany to happen.