FERNANDO DAZA INTERVIEW, "BETWEEN THE MYSTICAL AND THE CONCRETE". NEXT TO THE GALLERY SORAYA CARTATEGUI

”My work deals with a double conceptual origin, the mystical and the concrete, and this dichotomy evolves between the spiritual search for a transcendental experience and the desire to emphasize the material presence as a concrete reality and not as an illusion”.

Fernando Daza (Seville, 1979), presents his latest creations in Art madrid, two diptychs and two individual works in square format, as well as some works made with medium format comic strips.

The Sevillian artist has participated in numerous individual and collective exhibitions in Madrid, Girona, Cadiz, Lisbon, Sardinia and Belgrade, and his work is present in public and private collections around the world, including the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Skopje and the National Art Gallery of Kosovo.

Fernando Daza

Círculo rojo, 2019

Paper cut by hand and glued on fabric

100 x 100cm

Fernando Daza

Círculo multicromático, 2019

Paper cut by hand and glued on fabric

100 x 100cm

Soraya Cartategui Gallery presents your work in Art for the second year in a row, what do you expect from this edition of the Fair, how do you think your work fits in Art Madrid?

In this occasion, the fair also celebrates the fifteenth anniversary of its foundation, I hope that all the expectations of diffusion and sale of the best contemporary art will be fulfilled. This fair has always been an excellent showcase for the work of the most outstanding artists on the current national and international art scene. Of course, the scenario offered by the city of Madrid and the fabulous glass hall of the CentroCentro Cibeles building is unbeatable for hosting one of the most relevant artistic events of the year in Spain.

From the beginning, I believe that this fair has managed to preserve its open, dynamic and avant-garde character. I also believe that it is a very lively fair, with a large attendance of public and especially of collectors, with very colorful and large format works. I think that because of these characteristics my work adapts quite well to the philosophy of the fair. In fact, in the last edition, my work debuted in this fair with Soraya's gallery and was very well received. I was very satisfied with my participation and I am sure I will be for this edition.

What artworks by Fernando Daza we will see in this edition of Art Madrid?

As a novelty, in this edition, I will present two diptychs and two individual works of square format. One of the diptychs is very powerful because of the oranges in the paper I have used, it is about two opposite curved forms on raw linen cloth. The other is a double composition of inverse black and white forms on a background, also inverse, in black and white. And the ones with a square support are two geometric compositions, one in the form of a cross and the other square on a background of indigo blue paper. You can also see in the stand some works made with torn comic paper in medium format, also square.

Fernando Daza

Monocromo beige 2, 2018

Paper cut with cutter and glued on wood

50 x 38cm

The delicacy with which you work the paper and the careful editing you prepare for your works is admirable, can you tell us in general terms what your method of working is, what the creative process is like before arriving at the final piece?

In my work, I use paper torn by hand into strips, which I later accumulate in an orderly manner and paste on the canvas, following a compositional scheme that I previously draw in pencil on the support. It is a work made in canvas on a frame, a two-dimensional support traditionally used for painting, although its character is clearly three-dimensional due to the disposition of the strips of paper; these are folded in half lengthwise and glued on the canvas on one of its sides, leaving the other side raised, slightly separated from the surface of the canvas. This method of adhering the paper to the canvas provides a raised and uneven plane. By means of a zenithal light projection, natural or artificial, we obtain a soft contrast between lights and shadows, which results in a rich and vibrant surface of visual textures. This is the most relevant formal feature of my plastic work and the distinctive feature that best characterizes it.

The origin of this creative technique came after a long period of research after I finished my degree in Fine Arts at the University of Seville. My last year of my degree I studied with an Erasmus grant at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Athens. There I started making some works with collages. The scholarship allowed us to spend the night in schools attached to the Faculty in many of the Aegean islands. We spent some time creating in these annexed schools, and since it was impossible to transport materials such as canvases, frames and paintings, I only carried a folder with papers, watercolors, inks and glue. It was here, in Greece, that my interest in collage and creation with paper began. When I returned to Spain, I wanted to continue my research in this field because I thought it was a technique that could be new compared to traditional painting techniques.

I became aware at that time of the possibilities that used paper could offer me as the main material for the creation of artworks in substitution of painting.

Fernando Daza

At that time, after finishing my studies in Fine Arts, my two older brothers, lawyers, inherited an agency that was owned by my father. One day I went to help them throw away a pile of boxes full of papers and old documents and I realized at that moment that I could use those papers for my creations. I took the boxes home and began a period of research over several years from which I obtained very fruitful results. I found several ways to accumulate the paper and create three-dimensional compositions. As time went by, I bought coloured drawing and engraving papers.

In general, your works are monochrome or bichrome, does this simplification of color have any special meaning?

My work has a double conceptual origin, the mystical and the concrete, and this dichotomy evolves between the spiritual search for a transcendental experience and the desire to emphasize the material presence as a concrete reality and not as an illusion. My compositions basically suggest approaches of suprematist origin; the search for pure sensibility through the predominance of nothingness and the representation of a universe without objects; orthogonal abstract structures, fundamental geometrical forms such as the square and the circle or simply monochrome backgrounds lacking figures. In this way, I intend to show states of maximum order with the minimum means and minimum complexity of elements and to pay more attention to the whole work than to the relationships between the singular parts.

Due to its apparent simplicity, I believe that my work hides an enigmatic presence that seems to resist interpretation and transmits spatiality and idealism to the viewer. The finishes and the material play a fundamental role in the search for balance and beauty, always in accordance with the moderation and placidity transmitted by the canvas of the support; of cotton or linen, raw and without primer. In the works where I use two colours, the chromatic contrast provides a mixed language result where the calm and subtlety of the light colours are broken by the vigour, power and firmness of the black, yellow, red and dark grey. This idea of contrariness and complementarity between opposites or inverses in the diptych works is very interesting to me because I think it harmonizes the composition.

Fernando Daza

Estructura negra sobre fondo blanco, 2018

Díptico. Papel cortado a mano y pegado sobre tela

100 x 130cm

As an artist, what do you feel committed to?

Mainly I feel committed to the idea of making an artistic work not only coherent with my needs and creative interests, but also with the moment I have to live. In my particular case, and I think I could say that the same thing happens to all my professional colleagues, there is an impulse and a permanent need to create, which are also basic and primary, that goes back, according to my conscience, to my earliest childhood, to the very origin of the use of reason. Parallel to this need, the resistance to devote myself to other professional tasks that had nothing to do with artistic practice was born and strengthened. For this reason I have focused on following this path, despite the many difficulties encountered against me. But it's such a gratification to be able to dedicate yourself to what you believe in and love that it's worth it just for that. In this sense, I could say that the first commitment is to myself.


The gallery Soraya Cartategui, based in Madrid and New York, participates once again, within the general program of Art Madrid, with a selection of works from the most recent work of the artists from Seville: Isabelita Valdecasas and Fernando Daza and the Thai artist Chamnan Chongpaiboon

 

Buying the first work of art always instils respect. A difficult feeling to define that mixes vertigo with adrenaline. But over uncertainty and caution, a pleasurable sense of connection, understanding, and desire prevails. That work that, once seen, stays in the mind, reappears in the memory several times a day and seems to tell you that it is willing to be part of your home, is the perfect candidate to make the decision.

In the first steps, many collectors do point out that one does not start from an established plan, but rather that one acquires pieces based on taste and the connection one feels with them until, after time, they realise that the volume of works that accumulates can be labelled as a "collection". For example, this is how Alicia Aza explains it:

“I was not aware that I was collecting until many years later when a third party named me as a collector and talked about my collection. In 2005, I became aware of what collecting means and decided to articulate a collection with an identity of criteria and formats”.

Marcos Martín Blanco, co-founder, with his wife Elena Rueda, of the MER Collection, shares this same opinion:

“Collecting has been a passion, driven by a visceral state that encourages you to do so. The collection, in terms of acquisitions, has not been particularly complicated because, let's face it: it is easy to buy because they are all beautiful things and you have some clear idea of where you want to go, but at first those preferences were not so clear. It is with the time that a criterion is being formed”.

It is not always this way, of course, but for the buyer who starts out on this path, the personal connection that entails the first piece is essential. There it is the germ of a lasting relationship that is not limited to a simple aesthetic question but is an open window to knowledge, to exploration, to a world that is often unknown to us and awakens our fascination. The seed of that connection is purely sentimental, and it is precisely this impulse that determines the first acquisitions. The first piece is never forgotten.

Art Madrid'20, photo by Ana Maqueda

Exceeding the usual recommendations made by advisers and agents, rare is the occasion when the art lover decides to buy by pure investment. These paths usually open later, when the volume of pieces is large enough. In addition, there are those who are a bit against this classic concept of the traditional collector, approached from an eccentric, elitist and little accessible vision. On the contrary, art buyers are, above all, art lovers, sentient beings and permeable to creative stimulus who, at a given moment, decide to deepen the relationship they already have with art to take a piece home.

It is not that hard to overcome that small psychological barrier that turns the visitor into a buyer if one approaches the matter from a more personal and intimate perspective than from social consideration. Small-format works, graphic work or serial photography are of great help for this, whose price range, generally more affordable, allows a closer comparison to the daily basis expenses. In this way, the purchase of art falls within the range of feasible activities and becomes something close and possible.

Art Madrid'20, photo by Marc Cisneros

At that moment, a different relationship with art begins, based on pure experience and coexistence with the acquired piece. Perhaps it can be seen as an act of daring, but on many occasions, it is more a matter of necessity and transformation. Collectors also agree that the acquisition of an artwork is an exercise on personal analysis and opening up to a new field of knowledge that was previously alien to us. Alicia Aza explains that the reason she acquired her first piece of video art, by Sergio Prego, is because she did not understand it and because she saw it as a challenge and an opportunity to self-improve. This open window to knowledge creates new connections and bonds with creators, as one of the most fascinating parts of the process. Candela Álvarez Soldevilla explains that

"I think the most interesting thing in the art world is talking to artists. They are people with a special sensitivity to listen and understand.”

And Alicia Aza also says:

"I can share the satisfaction of being able to count on many artists in my circle of close friends today, and that is a long way to go."

Thus, with works that seem acceptable within the horizon of expenses that each one considers affordable, it is easy to find a piece that catches us. Since then, our home also evolves into a space in which art has a permanent place and presence, and there is no doubt that this transforms us inside.

Art Madrid'20, photo by Henar Herguera

Jaime Sordo, owner of Los Bragales collection and founder of the 9915 Contemporary Art Collectors Association, has always defined his relationship with art as a true passion and a vital necessity. For buyers who start on this path, he has the following recommendation:

“It is an essential condition that they feel the need to live with their passion to enjoy the works. Another very important aspect is that before making decisions for purchases, they are informed, so it is necessary to read specialised newspapers and books, visit exhibitions and museums and a lot of contact with galleries, which is an important and very specific source of information of the artists they represent. Finally, the presence in national and international art fairs. All this generates information and training.”

Indeed, fairs have become a good place for discovery because they condense a wide offer and allow diverse and global contact in a concentrated way. For this reason, many new generation buyers start in the context of an event such as Art Madrid, whose closeness and quality constitute a unique opportunity to meet, soak up and feed the passion for art.

(*) quotes taken from various interviews published in public media between 2013 and 2019.