SAMUEL SALCEDO INTERVIEW. REALISM AND SENSE OF HUMOR WITH 3 PUNTS GALERIA

"In the aluminum or the same black epoxy I work with, the viewer is reflected and reads according to his mood what is happening.”

Samuel Salcedo, creator of expressive, ironic and vulnerable characters, presents in Art Madrid with the gallery 3 Punts, a selection of pieces from his most recent work, where the Catalan sculptor has executed by experimenting with new materials such as cast iron or cast sand.

Samuel Salcedo participates regularly in individual exhibitions with 3 Punts Galeria, 100 Kubik Gallery (Cologne) or with Robert Drees in Hannover. His work has been present in contemporary art fairs such as Art Madrid, Swab, Frankfurt Art Fair or Art London, among others.

Samuel Salcedo

Black Mirrors Series, 2019

Epoxy resin

70 x 70cm

Samuel Salcedo

Pinball Wizard 1, 2019

Aluminum

95 x 95cm

The gallery 3 Punts is once again betting on your work. What new pieces will we be able to see in this edition of Art Madrid?

I'm very excited to bring three sculptures I've made in cast iron, a material I've started working with recently. They are three pieces, three heads that are going to be placed directly on the floor, very heavy pieces with a very nice material, which has memory. On the surface of this material, in the open, the mark of oxidation remains, and this is linked to nine masks that will be placed on the wall, worked on under the same idea. These 9 pieces are made with recycled foundry sand, sand that was previously used to make moulds in the foundry and that has been burned and reused after being bells, taps, other sculptures... So, this material that "has already done its job", I recycle it, mix it and apply it to the surface of the faces, on their skin.

Only for curiosity, have you considered experimenting with other artistic techniques such as painting?

When I started exhibiting at Art Madrid, at first I exhibited painting alone, and little by little I've changed. I like painting, it's a language that in fact was more natural to me in the beginning. Now I've been working almost exclusively with sculpture for 10 or 12 years, but I also paint. What happens is that painting is a little more "cruel" language, and the fact that I'm working at a very intense pace doesn't allow me to do many. Some of them I do, in fact I have many started but we are not here for this edition.

Samuel Salcedo

Toy Land - Mirror Mirror, 2019

Resina poliuretano policromada

27 x 10cm

Your heads in epoxy resin or bronze have different expressions, most of them passive or with angry gestures. What do you want to transmit with these apparently individualistic sculptures?

I try to make sure that the faces are not too extreme, that you can empathize with them, that they don't displease or generate rejection. It is true that some have an ambivalent expression, depending on the person looking at them, it can be interpreted that there is a gesture of pleasure or displeasure in the same face. I like very much that the person who sees my pieces can be reflected, in fact in many of my sculptures I work with a material that reflects the light or even the image. In the aluminium or the same black epoxy where I work, the spectator is reflected and reads what is happening according to his or her state of mind. In the end it is basically this, like a mirror where people see things and in the end the human face with its different expressions are formulas of communication, just as it is to speak or move the hands. With this I try to hook the person who is seeing my pieces.

Your characters are between the real and the fantasy, and all of them show certain imperfections. Does this have to do with the social and political reality of the moment?

Sometimes you do things by intuition or without thinking about them too much. In this case, choosing a more idealised beauty, a more natural beauty or more natural bodies, has no clear reason. It's true that I've been told that, especially when I represent women, it's not the usual type of beauty, these are normal beauties. We can see that there is a tendency to normalize this representation within women who actually have a body, just like men. Nobody is perfect. I remember that last year a group of girls from the University of Fine Arts told me that they identified a lot with this trend and I thought it was very nice that sometimes you can hook all this, the fact of not idealizing. There is a social background obviously, I choose not to look for stereotypes, but I try to look for the normality as we are, that for something we all live in the same place.

Samuel Salcedo en su estudio de Barcelona

As an artist, what do you feel committed to?

When you work, you make decisions, and it's true that there are artists who have a much more intense social commitment than I do, but I do at an individual level. I think that within what I can control in my work I have to try to be honest about what I do. I have small children and I try to explain, especially to my daughter, gender equality, not to look for stereotypes...

When I work with the representation of men and women, in this case, this is what I try to look for, that there is a certain dignity in women and above all I try to make my language understandable. I don't intend to create an elitist job, because it seems to me very unfair to try not to make you understand. If my family or my friends did not understand my work I would be wrong about something. Having a generous attitude towards the people who see your work would also be part of this idea.

Do you think that it is difficult to stand out as an artist today? Is it in the originality of technique and style where the secret of your success as an artist in the actual art market?

Success is very relative. When I was studying, I thought, "man, if I succeed, I'll be able to live from this...", but of course, you change your expectations. In the end it's a fight, it has an unfair point, because many people think that even if they have talent they can't get ahead, and there's also some justice in my case and in the case of people I know who are brilliant and who are doing well. If we lived in New York, we would have a very different dimension of success than we have in Barcelona, for example. I am not going to complain, it would be very unfair, but it also requires a significant effort, the demand that this work requires and the resignation must be clear. It also depends a lot on external factors that are difficult to control, but, well, whenever I have believed that I was doing something that was right, it has worked for me.

3 Punts Galeria, will exhibit in Art Madrid the last creations of the artists: Alejandro Monge, Efraïn Rodríguez, FAILE, Gerard Mas, Kiko Miyares, Ramon Surinyac, Richard Stipl y Santiago Picatoste.

 

The origins of the art of action can be located in the Dadaist and Surrealist movements of 1920, where the first events or encounters in which the terms collage or assemblage are consolidated sprung up. However, it was not until the 1960s that these manifestations acquired their own entity and became an independent art movement. Action art, also called live art, delves into the idea that you cannot separate the artistic creation process from your own experience, as if everything was connected and true art is what takes place in the processes, not both in the materialised results.

Olga Diego getting ready for the performance. Photo by Marc Cisneros

Allan Kaprow, an artist born in Atlantic City and who gave true meaning to the terms happening or performance, contributed to the evolution of this idea. In the view of this author, art makes sense in the artist's relationship with the viewer in the process of artistic creation itself. Kaprow coined a famous quote on this movement:

The line between art and life should be kept as fluid, and perhaps indistinct, as possible.

A tireless artist, he contributed significantly to fluxus and body art movements, and carried out countless "activities" (as he called them) throughout his career. Today we owe a lot to this pioneer, who let himself be carried away by the creative impulse channelled into actions where the ephemeral and the experiential merge.

Eunice Artur & Bruno Gonçalves during their performance. Photo by Sara Junquera

Today performance art continues to arouse enormous curiosity, even 60 years after it was born. However, within the history of art, it remains a still novel and minority trend. Precisely for this reason, Art Madrid wanted to give to action art a room into the fair and share with the big public an artistic experience, different from the exhibition offer of the participating galleries, so that contact with today’s contemporary pulse would become a memory, an event, an experience. The momentary, ephemeral nature of these actions, in such a way that they only exist in the here and now, makes each proposal doubly interesting because it is totally unrepeatable.

The “Art Madrid-Proyector’20” program included four actions during the days of the fair. We have had the opportunity to remember two of the performances in which sound and video image dominated, by Iván Puñal and Arturo Moya and Ruth Abellán. Today we give way to the other two, whose main characteristic is the generation of an intimate space, a kind of parallel reality that raises doubts in the viewer about what they are seeing and how they should understand it.

Eunice Artur during her performance. Photo by Sara Junquera

One of these works was “Partidura”, by the Portuguese artist Eunice Artur in collaboration with Bruno Golçalves, which took place on Thursday 27th at 8 pm. This project explores the idea of developing a musical notation for new forms of electronic sound, and it does so through a live intervention that incorporates plant elements, strings that vibrate with the sound and a lot of charcoal dust so that the sound waves move the elements and “draw” their own graphic representation. The performance shows Eunice interacting with these elements while Bruno makes amplified sounds with an electric guitar. The set is mysterious and poetic at the same time. The desire to transform sound into a pictorial expression unfolds in delicate, measured and stealthy actions to interfere as little as possible in the process. Eunice moves between graphite powder-coated sheets of paper hanging from the ceiling, looking for the proper angle to vibrate strings running diagonally across the sheets. This live creation process is based on waiting and contemplation, wrapped in music that seems like a mantra from other lands.

Olga Diego and Mario Gutiérrez Cru before the performace. Photo by Marc Cisneros

The last performance of the cycle was starred by Olga Diego, on Saturday 29th. The entrance of the fair transformed into an improvised stage in which the artist carried out her action "The bubble woman show". Olga Diego has been working on the concept of flight and its integration into art for some time through artefacts that can fly autonomously, without combustion. One of her most ambitious projects on this subject is “The automated garden”, an enormous installation of a hundred inflatable figures made of transparent plastic that occupied the 1,000 m2 of the Alicante Museum of Contemporary Art and the Lonja del Pescado Exhibition Hall, also in Alicante. This proposal, in addition to delving into research on the lightness of materials and the ability to stay suspended with maximum energy savings, it is an open criticism of the excessive use of plastic in our environment and its aberrant power of contamination.

Photo by Ricardo Perucha

"The bubble woman show" is an action that involves the viewer. Olga enters a giant bubble of translucent plastic keeping the air inside, and thus, as if she were a soap bubble, she moves through space until she invites someone from the public to enter the bubble with her and share an intimate moment. This personal dialogue is the most unknown and mysterious part of the process and invites us to reflect on situations of isolation, on the return to the mother's womb, on the need to protect ourselves from the excessive noise of this fast-paced world.

Both actions aroused the amazement of the visitors and turned the fair into a space in which live art played a transforming role within the wide artistic offer that the event displays each year.