No History’s Library – Gladio

Dedicated to Vicente Merino Jarpa

A series of secret documents leaked into the public eye in the mid 90s. They revealed the existence of secret armies (stay-behind operations) set in place and organised by the CIA and NATO in order to avoid the seizure of power from the left in post-war Europe. The story of Operation Gladio– the codename for a stay-behind operation active in Italy from the late 60s until the early 80s–is full of uncertainties, ambiguity and violence without culprits, a story in which the Strategy of Tension was tested and perfected.

The No History’s Library – Gladio points at some of the interventions that occurred in these so-called Lead Years, a time in which foreign agencies developed intricate tactics to control the opinion of the citizenry by using fear, false propaganda and double discourses, provoking horror through the use of false flag terrorism to ultimately achieve their geopolitical and business- oriented aims.

This book uses two kinds of documents, some from NATO regarding Operation Gladio, and others from the CIA regarding the French intelligentsia in the mid 80s. Together, they present an aspect of the Cold War related to the use of language, secrets and false discourses, questioning the possibility of thinking, assimilating and feeling part of a history whose fundamental characteristic is the use of lies and secret. The documents were selected according to criteria of information content and visibility, and they represent a tiny proportion of the total of the existing documents. Many of the documents are censored with blacked-out sentences, have the seals and stamps and use the letterhead of the organizations that produced them.

The book created for this exhibition, is a critical selection of the archives reviewed by the artist and includes in its editing process the black outs and textual information that because of its scale and proportion avoid the hegemony of the written narrative over the visual reading. Given the reading difficulties created by the fragmentation imposed by the black outs to the documents and its lack of chronological organization, the narrative turns out into chaos. Revealing it as a traumatic effect. This acknowledges a time of interventions and negotiations in which the freedom of speech and access to the information was captured and that we propose in this project as a metaphor of the historical accounts.

These “book” artifacts are exhibited in book shelves and the public is allowed to take them away after answering the question: “What are you going to do with this book?”.

Tipo de Investigación:
Lunds Konsthall



  • No History’s Library - Gladio
    400 books with CIA and NATO documents, installed in bookshelf at a local bookstore
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