WE TALK TO MÒNICA SUBIDÉ ABOUT HER LAST WORK: “THE DESIRE TO BE A DEER”

There, inside the forest, where everything is dense and leafy, inhabits the fantasy of the stories. The machinery of the imagination beats in the heat of a light sifted by the tops of the trees, under whose branches, lying in the sunset light, magic takes place. The stories that host our dreams feed on the emptiness that the mystery leaves in its way so that we fill it with new stories. It is a perfect tension between innocence and maturity, between the desire to play and the awareness that all this is part of an unreal world. But the door is open and, although someone warned us once that we should not enter, we can not avoid it.

Mònica Subidé

Los niños de papel, 2019

Óleo, lápiz y collage de papel japonés sobre lino

54 x 65cm

Mònica Subidé

Los hijos del rey bufón y sus buitres, 2018

Óleo, lápiz y collage sobre madera

80 x 110cm

Mònica Subidé

Jardín de Luces, 2019

Óleo y collage sobre lino

54 x 65cm

The eyes of animals are crystal spheres that curve and reflect the environment. The green leaves form superimposed fans, like vegetable screens that yield sweetly in our path. We advance in search of a refuge, a haven in the middle of the grove where we can rest our exhausted mind of so much information. And so be able to think. Silence (which is not true silence) fills with faint sounds, and we enter loneliness accompanied, in a path without fixed direction that takes us to the bottom of our being. We face these images with the feeling of having seen them before, but not in real life, but in the reality of our dreams. They are dream pictures that remind us of fairy tales, enchanted forests, spring evenings, being lying on the grass while we watch the clouds pass by.

Mònica Subidé

Alma de ciervo, 2019

Óleo y collage sobre lino

38 x 55cm

Mònica Subidé

La princesa ladrona. Niñas pez, 2018

Óleo y collage sobre madera

25 x 18.5cm

Mònica Subidé

Travesia en el bosque de Nolde Mirocco. Serie exploradores, 2018

Óleo y collage sobre lino

114 x 146cm

The often difficult task of theorising about painting loses its meaning again on this occasion. These snatches stolen from a dreamy mind lead us to a conceptual contradiction. Let's glimpse suffering, but also placidity and serenity. A natural and delicious calm, not without frights and scares of the soul when you think of existential truths such as freedom. Our mind can play tricks on us, look for the misunderstanding between state and situation, create the fallacy of being free but locked in oneself. No. Let's get rid of artifices. There, inside the forest, where nobody sees us, we are what we really are and surrender to our own life, contradictory and elusive as it is.

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We asked Mònica about his latest work that is on show in Bea Villamarín Gallery, a pictorial proposal that takes us to an almost oniric world where time seems to stop.

In previous works, you have explored the connection between life and death. The allusion to the emptiness you make in "The desire to be a deer", is it also a reference to that dichotomy between opposing elements, such as childhood and adulthood, consciousness and unconsciousness?

I have never considered that there was a dichotomy between childhood and adulthood or consciousness or unconsciousness. For me, in both cases, we must accept the first to live the second. The allusion to the void, always talking about me, is just that state where you intend to stop and vanish, in the concept of idea-mind, to be in a déjà-vu. They are difficult emotions to express in words and painting. Abstract emotions that speak of emptiness in humans are always complicated. I am very interested in human being and emotions, so childhood is something that fascinates me because it is the beginning towards life and where we take the road. I usually interpret emotions in stories; narrating in painting is more like writing. On this occasion, there are many pieces where I do not want to tell, just lie down, be in a state of déjà-vu. When I started about four years ago with a new pictorial language, my nine-year psychoanalysis was just over. It was the beginning to try to interpret childhood ideas and dreams.

 

What does the deer represent as a concept in this pictorial series, is it the observer or is it the observed being?

Always for me, it is the observer; it is the link between man and his soul. The deer in many different occasions in my pieces always represents the wild animal that we are, and that desire to be free, without knowing what a world in freedom is. It is an act of protest, poetic, dreamlike, subtle, trying to be freer in our everyday world, in small things.

Mònica Subidé

Flor azul, topo marron, 2019

Óleo y collage sobre lino

22 x 27cm

Mònica Subidé

Cuenco amarillo con girasol verde, 2019

Óleo y collage sobre papel cartón

40 x 58cm

You have stated that you feel comfortable with large formats, have you chosen the medium size for any reason for this collection?

I was working for years in very large formats; I am increasingly interested in the medium format for a simple matter of privacy. I really wanted to be able to present nearby, less spectacular pieces and force the viewer to stop a few minutes, in front of the pieces. The large format is often a fast-track-look format. I wanted a slow exhibition because the last three years have been very intense, with a lot of production, and little time to reflect. I wished I could find a closer dialogue between one’s self and painting. With this, I do not mean that I am not interested in the large format, but it is a very different mental state, which on this occasion, I did not feel when painting. I believe that this exhibition came at a time when the physical and mental exhaustion of recent years forced me to lie down and rest, reconnect with myself, review my trajectory in order to continue advancing, and be able to reinvent new ways to transmit that feeling of emptiness.

 

Among the specialised professional profiles that we find in the cultural sector, and more specifically, in the field of visual arts, one of the most recent occupations is that of the curator. The ‘80s put attention on the role of the artist, with its innovative character and the enhancement of its figure as an essential articulator of creative proposals, while the end of the century moved the interest towards the exhibition centres themselves and their work as custodians of current production and as spaces to accommodate all proposals. The change of millennium strongly introduced in this panorama the role of the curator. Perhaps together with a social identity crisis, perhaps with the complexity that contemporary projects are currently acquiring, the need for building, articulating and delving into artistic discourses became evident.

Although the functions entrusted to this profession are not entirely new, since previously they belonged to conservatives, critics or experts according to the themes, the role has gained solidity because it combines all these purposes while allowing the specialisation of other professionals in their fields of competence. Now, as some curators themselves point out, the genuine spirit of this figure, who was born to facilitate the understanding of the discourse, create narratives within a sometimes chaotic and scattered context, mediate between the works and the spectator and create bridges between contemporary art and society.

The art of our day raises a multitude of unknowns for the visitor who must face proposals many times away from the aesthetic standards, which gives way to uncertainty and confusion; but, in turn, these works employ a closer language, materials and even compositions detached from the sophistication and the technical display of yesteryear, something that, far from favouring proximity to the message, generates some distancing. What we have just described is part of the very essence of current art. The questioning of the formalist guidelines and the recourse to tangible elements that are more utilitarian than embellishing are the new criteria of creation, where, above all, the message to be conveyed stands out.

Likewise, another inherent characteristic of the work of our time is the artists' concern for more immediate themes, for social, political and economic issues that seek to create a narrative and conceptual revulsion, leaving behind the aesthetic priority or, rather, making of the message its own aesthetic. In this context, strange as it may seem, contemporary creation encounters a linguistic barrier hindering the viewer's understanding. And to this circumstance, the abundant current production is added, covering a wide range of themes that are nothing more than a transcript of our diverse and globalised society.

The curator helps to facilitate this understanding by articulating a coherent discourse that allows the grouping of related ideas to set up the message. This requires to have an in-depth knowledge of the current state of the art, the lines of work of the creators, the most recent aesthetic proposals and the real demands of society to bridge the dialogue and allow the approach to art. If art deals with the same issues that concern us all, how can we not share its postulates? Cultural mediation requires the work of the curators to open a small window for reflection and to enable a space for exchange and idea generation. We share the thought that José Guirao expressed in a recent interview: "The curator is someone who reveals something new, and it would be a mistake for curators to become managers."

Understood this way curator’s role, many institutions have joined the trend of creating specific calls for new professionals to give light to their proposals. Let us remember, as an example, the call "Unpublished" of La Casa Encendida, or "Curator wanted", of the Community of Madrid or the call of Curating of La Caixa.