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

Oil, pencil and collage on wood

80 x 110cm

Mònica Subidé

Jardín de Luces, 2019

Oil and collage on linen

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

Oil and collage on linen

38 x 55cm

Mònica Subidé

La princesa ladrona. Niñas pez, 2018

Oil and collage on wood

25 x 18.5cm

Mònica Subidé

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

Oil and collage on linen

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

Oil and collage on linen

22 x 27cm

Mònica Subidé

Cuenco amarillo con girasol verde, 2019

Oil and collage on cardboard paper

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.

 

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.