ART is a powerful tool of communication having great importance in the shaping of culture. Through ART the human race, both individually and collectively, finds answers to different elements of life; security, personal relationships, survival, understanding life after death, and so generates a world view with its own tales and structures. ART, through symbolism and representation, is hugely responsible for the formation of the “collective imagination.” We see ART not as an end in itself, but rather a medium which, thanks to the expressive techniques it uses of rhythm, composition, colour, etc., can help the realisation of this “collective imagination.” This happens through the sentiment it generates.
Art has always been used by “the powerful.” Artists have been great collaborators in the enhancement and perpetuation of power. Through cultural dogmatism, “the powerful” lead the individual along the path of ONE SINGLE SOLITARY VISION. Without doubt, this is a very general analysis of ART and its function. If we look at contemporary art, many artists have abandoned “the powerful” – namely, absolute monarchies, religious powers, dictators, etc. These artists have begun to generate worldviews that provoke questions and problems for these authorities. A CRITICAL trend is generated, that aims to debate the predominant culture. At present, the debate is largely determined by the interests of a consumer society. In developing countries, we refer to this consumer society as the great cultural ideology of our times.
A constant in my work, present since my first exhibition, has been the invitation to question tradition, cultural ideologies and a singular school of thought. The idea being that “the dogmatic” does not liberate the individual but rather steers them towards one single solitary vision. My dedication to teaching in the world of art has been of great value for the development of my creative productions. It has kept me in contact with the studies of contemporary art. It has instilled a pedagogy where the CRITICISM of an economic-social-ideology prevails. This has been a constant in my teaching along with my effort to place creativity at the service of questioning what I consider ONE SINGLE SOLITARY VISION. This invites the student to not only see, but to REFLECT on that core belief, the tradition, the publicity where technique aims to serve the concept. This approach is how I develop my own artistic work.
In addition, I have maintained the same line of thinking in my exhibitions which centre around the margins of commercialism. These have become a type of “performance” in my exhibitions for over 40 years. These exhibitions have taken place in a wide variety of public spaces, viz. City Hall galleries, Universities, Schools and alternative spaces. In all cases, the only interest has been to show the work as didactic material for reflection, divergence and critical analysis. This stance outside the commercial and away from market demands allows me a level of expressive autonomy, but means my work has been limited to a reduced circle. I am now approaching a new stage in my life. I will retire from teaching and wish to present my work in new and more distant exhibition circles, thereby achieving greater exposure.
From a quick analysis, it is clear that while the CONTENT of my work has remained a constant in its “social criticism” of cultural questions, its FORMAL EXPRESSION, the visual development, has changed. I have learned new expressive techniques. I have been influenced by national and international artists, like Andy Warhol, Equipo Crónica, J. Brossa, etc. who have influenced me in how I confront my communicative approaches and my personal creative universe. This evolution began with line drawings in black and white, pointillism and airbrushing, later incorporating colour with paper collage, acrylic paint and printing. The third stage is characterised by the use of everyday objects and finally by combining photos with objects, in a three dimensional collage. These pieces, through metaphors also aim at social criticism.
Current body of work – Exhibition Proposal
Since my last solo exhibition I have continued this objective in a new body of work. I use vintage photographs combined with objects thus giving them renewed life. Through this fresh representation, the photographs acquire new meaning beyond their original significance. The viewer, a prying observer, might recognise the protagonists or their actions, but with the juxtaposition of objects and the re-contextualisation of their significance, is invited to the new interpretation. This body of work has literary references since its constructions are related to images. I use not only iconic references, but paradoxes, rhetoric and figures of speech. This work also alludes to theatre. It shows a social scene where we, in a transcendental fashion, believe we play a role. In this role, polyphonic voices from collective imagination and individual stories converse. This union of objects, vintage photographs and new language, transform and re-touch what they wish to communicate. So, the viewer assumes the role of “co-creator;” feeling driven to giving meaning to intentional unresolved gaps. Each viewer’s interpretation may be different. The message of the piece, together with each viewer’s interpretation, expectations and previous experience, allows that viewer to participate equally. These vintage photos showing familiar ceremonies stir up memories and somehow continue to control our preconceptions and current actions. Similarly, we all share the same nostalgia for our lost childhood innocence, the initiating games of adolescence and the youthful, eagerly awaited utopian revolution which we never embarked upon. Moreover, the work involves an invitation to reflect thoughtfully on the human condition, fears, contradictory desires, its wish to control fortune and its insecurity regarding life itself. The viewer is encouraged to re-think shared historic memory, having special regard for our common European religious and cultural roots.
Some of the pieces are incredibly clear and transparent in their interpretation. This allows the viewer to recall meaningful or aesthetic personal experiences to those depicted. Other examples, however, are more cryptic leaving the observer standing before the intellectual abyss of the unthinkable with an illogical feeling of absolute nothingness. Nevertheless, all the pieces share a common connection: the concept of art as a means to provoke reflection about reality and about the nature of the artist’s philosophy.