Daniel Mayrit

Since 2020, the defeats of Donald Trump and Marine Le Pen may have meant the beginning of the end of populism, the phenomenon that has become one of the biggest political challenges of recent years. During the last decade countless studies have gained prominence in the academic field. The topic has also proliferated in TV shows and films such as House of Cards or The Politician. The current project tackles the issue from within the visual arts, presenting an in-depth study of the visual strategies used by populist parties and candidates. This project intends to fill the gap and provide a critical perspective on populism from the field of photography.

Mayrit makes use of the same techniques deployed by populism, but in an exacerbated and ironic way, trying to expose and making evident its artificiality. The goal is not only to discredit and mock the visual clichés of populism but to provide viewers with tools for reflection against populism’s manipulative means: a messianic alpha-male leadership, an exuberant media strategy, an appeal to epic and emotions…

In order to do so, Mayrit takes a performative approach and plays the role of a fictional populist candidate around which he creates a whole imagery made up of staged tableaux and digital manipulations of images from real populist leaders. In all of these, he uses different visual clichés loaded with irony, embodying the populist strategy and discourse in his own image… only to put it into question and under scrutiny, unveiling its artificiality and manipulations.