This work is an oil painting of large dimensions: 303x585 cm. It shows a literal reproduction of the National Gallery room with the same name, but without works, totally empty. It arises from a reflection by Georges Bataille about the link between the origin of the modern museum and the guillotine, and aims to show how, since 1800, art continues to gravitate to the powerful axis of the museum institution, with the museum acting as an instrument of division . “Before the Law” is the title of a short story by Franz Kafka, in which a poor illiterate man repeatedly implores the gatekeeper who guards the gate of the law to enter, but he is repeatedly denied entry. It refers to the petition, the request for access and, in turn, the absolute pre-eminence of the law.
About “Before the Law”, this great trompe l'oeil painting, the curator Alejandro Ratia writes: “Lluís Hortalà represents the frame of the gaze in the museum. He represents himself in absentia, at the door of a room in the National Gallery. In perspective appears the escape of the consecutive doors. The watchman's chair is also vacant. This chair alone is enough to indicate his presence. A chair like so many others that have been appearing in his sculptural work, eternally guarding the gaze, to one side, or in front of his opaque mirrors.
The museum mechanism is confirmed as a myth, and at the same time revealed as a hoax. A deception that keeps us next to him, prostrate before a door that will not close until after we are unable to cross its threshold, that keeps us under the spell of an impossibility.
Ante la Ley. (Spanish room. Before the Law)
Before the Law sits a gatekeeper
(Before the Law. Part II)
"Nada salvo el lugar habrá tenido lugar"
"Rien n'aura eu lieu que le lieu" I
"Rien n'aura eu lieu que le lieu" II