REMEMBERING A YEAR OF THE TRUCE /
ANGEL HARO /
THE TRUCE /
TABACALERA / ART PROMOTION
In “La Tregua (The Truce)”, an exhibition organised by the Subdirectorate General for the Promotion of Fine Arts (State Secretariat of Culture of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport), the artist, scenographer and art director Ángel Haro chooses to address the space of the emblematic and much-appreciated Tabacalera. Promoción del Arte through scenography, the science that specialises in the creation and establishing of scenic space.
Scenography, which is also a field of vision, is capable of both creating an imaginarium from empty space and establishing a “dissociated” dialogue between the building’s constructive matter and the artistic ideas deployed in it.
Haro’s is an individual site-specific intervention with a latent expressiveness, in which there is a combining of action, words, lines, colours, rhythm, painting, sculpture, architecture, objects, video, music etc. It is a unification of artistic languages, resulting in a work that has passion running through it, a work that does not lead to indifference.
Something magical floats in the atmosphere, in the intersection of the walls, in the banisters of the empty staircases, in the huge rooms where important events have taken place and where, too, there are everyday, trivial secrets hidden beneath the shadows.
The main emphasis falls on us as spectators and our experiences. This involves walking and recounting as often as we wish a story that invites us to select a path, remember the steps, continue on our way and go wrong, in a universe of stimuli that highlight infinite aesthetic possibilities. This multiple artistic experience, a synesthetic one, achieves the reconfiguration of space, both from a physical and experiential viewpoint, where we are invited to explore, participate and lose themselves.
LA TREGUA / THE TRUCE
Julieta De Haro / Exhibition Curator
Tabacalera offers up its space to a project by Ángel Haro, (Valencia, Spain 1958) whose proposal is an intervention that incorporates his interior architecture, accentuating the traces and textures time has left on the building.
A plastic artist boasting a wealth of experience as an art director and scenographer, Haro acts upon the Tabacalera space as if he were working on a grand opera. He draws us into an aesthetic action, structured by different languages in continuous dialogue and autonomy, making the space a narrative flux, underpinned by a great discursive and vital charge.
Haro does not keep secrets. He confronts us from the outset with a type of prologue, an evocative proposal titled Obertura (Overture). This forceful piece receives us in fragmented form. Yet it forms a unity of concept that foreshadows the artist’s intentionally heterogenous world.
The expressionism of this multidisciplinary intervention leads us along light and shadowy paths, acting to transform how the works and even the space manifest themselves.
LA TREGUA, that tense lull, explores a circular conflict that places us simultaneously at points of departure and arrival. It is a multiple gaze that allows an emotional “stroll” through different spaces, where independent proposals come to materialise.
Ángel Haro is a multi-faceted artist who set out from painting to broaden his horizons and become a constructor of images, objects, volumes and light and sound architecture. He is now a creator of open landscapes of great intensity
THE SOLID ARTIST
Javier de Juan / Artist
These are times of saturation. We don’t have the mental time to assimilate all we see. Not that it matters. The Beast needs new stuff, it devours it. And we have to keep feeding it because we are the Beast.
In art, the need for new stuff has become the driving force. Trends occur, just like in fashion. Some people blame the avant-gardes, the market developments, the fairs, the theoreticians, the collectors, or simply the sign of the times. Whatever it is, it’s a fact.
The demands imposed by “the latest” are increasingly pressing. Time is getting shorter. The Beast devours young artists who appear and disappear from the horizon, like rabbits caught in car headlights. They have useful lives like elite athletes, those who get lucky, and many give up being artists before starting to live.
The frenzy with which artistic creation has been driven has led it in surprising directions. There is now art that produces explanations, explanations of intentions, sociological explanations, technical explanations, explanations of explanations.
But there is a breed of select artists who have fought to combat the Beast’s haste. Artists who have resisted the temptation of the short cut. Artists who have listened, to themselves first, to their own voice, without ceasing to look around them. Artists who know their craft. Artists who, instead of explanations, or as well as them, have created objects. Exciting objects. Solid objects. Artists who have made the Beast wait. And us all too.
Sixto-Manuel Herrero / Composer
Ló is a piece for solo piano, written from the suspension of sound as the desire to stop time in an anguishedsearch for equilibrium. Yet as time progresses through the work, the latter stars to disappear, breaking up into small rhythmic aphasias where sounds expand until they lose their timbral content.
Paco Carpio / Art critic, independent curator and poet.
The West is a ship adrift. The Flying Dutchman without even Wagner’s music. Noah’s Ark transformed into continents of memory and decadence. Dying next to the friend, like a boat sailing to Bithynia, and the friend – Catullusbeing Lesbia, closing your eyes with the triple broken kiss of the phantom boat-women. Wanting now to await death and sink sweetly in this Sea, departing us, like a wave that compared with the rest does not appear to be so strange. Or are we already shipwrecked?
The smoke of memory is a serpent, cold and dark like the ice of Armenia, like the frozen gaze of a girl displaying her sex, which is cold or is fire. I play, with my fingers drawing on the skin of a black river. The trace of time is like the trail left by History’s black blood; a line created from millions of words, images, battles, bodies. Let me cast the small minutes of your head into it. Travelling with the pupils of your eyes and the papillae of dreams, its course is my destiny. It is your challenge.
The skin of the dragon, the scales of the young virgin, the ocean of mirrors, the frontier of sores and scars, the smooth epidermis of corneas, the bluish lake of memories, the metallic frame of windows, the ploughed furrows in aluminium… The blurred drawing of a smiling skull, the perfect geometry of its orbits, the gesture of a black and unexpected wound, trails of dark ink on the paper of fear, the smoky heads of hair of witches and teeth… Space throbs, it throbs slowly.
Traveller who traverses the forked paths of time, take the sabre road if you want to know (yourself). The clear haughty light of the eagle and of the valiant nestling in your gaze. Yours is the music of wounds, the melody of blood, the murmur of open flesh. Yours is the gift of placing yourself in kendo, in kote, in do, in the tsuki of your enemy, and travelling through the blue course of your veins, through the genuflexion of your defeat. Death is only a ballet that must be celebrated in slow motion, with ritual beauty, presented in the amphora of beautiful bodies, defeated. Yukio knew it well…
Armour and hearts. Irrigated by the metallic blood of passions and myths, by the pumping of the medusas. Beat to beat, beat to beat, beat to beat. Time, great sculptor. Space, great mirage. Heart –the only viscera the Egyptians left in a mummy, as the centre of the body for eternity- art, art, art… Petrol that turns the wheel of life; immobile engine, as Aristotle wanted. A lone hunter who beats a latent requiem of oxygen and hope.
Contemplate –seated- the choreography of fire, the destructive and spellbinding dance of flames, the film in orange and the charcoal black of combustion, it may be an exercise in pleasure or of hypnotic oblivion. See the work of death crackling, the claws of time flaming, the tongue of unfulfilled dreams blazing. We are salamanders with a memory, we seek the saving kiss of the game of fire without remembering that awaiting behind the ashes is only the wing flapping of a bird that is no longer a phoenix. The ash bird of darkness.
Ingres wanted to imagine her but failed in an excess of beauty. Her body is not made of waves of flesh, nor warm bread, nor gentle curves of sand, not even the marvellous clay that moulded the woman. It is an inverted eye, a vertical smile, the reticulated skin of the mantis-vagina. Look at the lattice that her shadows trace on her belly. But do so carefully: Gorgon can turn you into a pillar of salt. That’s how seas and statues were created.
Trap for dreams
Submerge to emerge; in a silent world, with no other music than the song of the bubbles and the seaweed, with no other sound than the mute mortuary of the drowned, with no other visions than the blurred images formed in the iris of the fish and the blind. Nemo is your captain, because no-one has managed to see through his periscope of wood and felt. Cubs of desire. And if the sky could see in the ocean bed? A jaw-trap for water’s dreams. Mobilis in mobili.
The water of mirrors always returns the image of the one who leans over its chasm. The creatures that sleep under its quicksilver skin. Image-echo of a nymph, punished to repeat her presence: Is there anyone there? Here!… We are all Narcissus, falling in love with the siren-like deception of a reflection. Impossible chimera of dreams. When two circles float in parallel, no geometry can unite them in a single body. Gazing at ourselves is a dangerous exercise in love. It oozes the sweet poison of those flowers that made an angel fall behind the flickering of the millenia.
37 square squares. A warm cross for a cold altar/aura.Red, ochre, orange pixels, constructing the virtual image of memory. The time of our lives converted into a jumbled mosaic, into a bloody jigsaw, into a puzzle to break the heart of our heads. Each cinerary urn is like a letter on the keyboard that writes the stories of History. Pierre Abélard, Honoré, Guillaume, Oscar, Frédéric, Eugène, Marcel, Jean-Baptiste, Amedeo, Jim… names, men, words, bones, musics, ashes, noone, someone. Red altarpiece of memories.
The light of many words illuminates the traveller. His only eye is a disc of fire and ice. Dare – if you feel brave enough- to rest your gaze on his. No spears or men can silence his gaze. No-one wounded you except Ulysses. From Ithaca to Dublin, his rays illuminate/ blind the slow, clumsy murmur of men and their desires. On the Isle of Skye it looks blue; in the lands below, it has the reddish colour of blood and twilights. Don’t place your full trust in his pupil but don’t stop following it with the rhythmic throb of your.
Polaris, Thuban, Errai, Alfirk, Sadr or Vega. Sounds for naming what man saw, sees and perhaps will see. Is there anything more magical, more distant, more luminous than a star that is not just a star? They succumb in the firmament to the gymnastics of spheres and on earth to the knives of treason. Wagons for transporting the machine, fire, nature, time, light, the unchained air. Lean out of their windows, contemplate life’s reverse landscape. Lend me your big noise, your big step, but one so soft, your nocturnal skid through the illuminated Europe. ¡Oh, luxury train! After the descent into the hells of man, a TRain will always continue on his path. With TR for Truce.
Ángel Haro is a multi-faceted artist who set out from painting to broaden his horizons
and become a constructor of images, objects, volumes and light and sound architecture.
He is now a creator of open landscapes of great intensity.
1. Looking over your career, it seems that you always return to painting with the
same force with which you left it, as if this were something inevitable.
That’s right, painting is my nuclear activity. For me, it’s the most complex of all
and it’s where my commitment is at its greatest. I can’t avoid a degree of
suffering. I try to avoid this and feel comfortable but it’s tough to do. Yet that
same feeling is accompanied with an excitation that I don’t feel in any other
field. I’d say that there is something basic, perhaps telluric, in the act of
painting that exerts an irresistible attraction on me. The encounter with the
subject, its temperature, its density, its shifting, never ceases to amaze me. The
chance to create a field of nature that is parallel to reality exercises in me a
power that has remained intact ever since I was a boy. I still have pretty clear
memories of when I discovered a specific colour. Now that I think about it, I
really enjoy it, not just painting but seeing paint, visiting friends’ studios etc.
Considering that it’s an out-of-time activity, meaning that it doesn’t need
“news” in order to happen, it can be activated by something very distant, very
insignificant or that lends itself to little conceptualisation but it is born from an
2. (Ángel Haro was very young when he began drawing, painting and building all
type of objects and mechanical apparatuses) It seems to me that since your first
exhibition at the age of 17 you have remained unshakeable despite the
difficulties of surviving as an artist in Spain. Has it been or is it still a challenge,
I had that conviction when I was very young but we all know about convictions;
they can easily get watered down if you’re open to the world. I think that my
determination to keep going as an artist comes from my own relationship with
the subject and the space. I can’t find anything that has the power to absorb me
as much as creative activity. I consider myself a social animal; I like being with
people, talking, getting involved etc. But when I’m in the studio immersed in a
piece, I don’t need anyone, time passes very fast and it pisses me off when the
phone rings. I suppose it’s the same for most artists. There’s also a therapeutic
aspect, that’s obvious. Honestly, if I didn’t do this job my mental health
wouldn’t be the same or at least I wouldn’t be able to face up to reality in the
same way. A friend asked me recently if I’d ever gone to a psychiatrist and I
replied that it was what I do every morning when I go into the studio. Then
there’s living off art, the financial aspect, “the rat race” as Gerard Lauzier called
it. I’ve always seen this as a job that requires effort, the capacity to suffer and
knowing how to enjoy the bits of recognition you receive. I think patience and
the practice of the most radical freedom are key if you want to compensate for
the difficulties. On balance, it’s been worth it. Although you’re right that it’s
especially difficult to work in this country. Paradoxically, when you go abroad
they introduce you as a “Spanish artist” using the demonym as a kind of
adjective, the implication being that you’re the heir to a caste of creators.
3. You spent your childhood and adolescence in an artistic environment in Paris.
Did this influence your decision to become an artist? Is there any trace of this in
I am the son of a generation that had no choice but to leave Spain. My father, as
well as being a great professional in the aeronautical industry, had a passion for
art. He took me to museums and also painted with other amateurs. I remember
visiting the Louvre, seeing the great 19th century paintings, the Egyptian rooms
etc. I have a clear memory of the first time I saw The Raft of the Medusa by
Géricault and those powerful historical paintings. It was as if they’d been
painted by great giants and then I went home and tried to do something similar.
At my house, creativity was really appreciated. My father had friends who were
artists or actors and they came by. Jean-Paul Belmondo was one. They met in
the May ‘68 strikes and from time to time he called round for my father; he was
really keen to make my father an actor. One day, my father went with a
delegation to see Picasso and get him to support the strikers at the factory where
he worked and Picasso gave them a bottle of Anís del Mono. The bottle was
lying around at home for years; we called it “Picasso’s bottle”. Years later, when
I saw his Cubist paintings I liked to think that the painted bottle was the one we
had. That sort of thing was just amazing for a child. The Paris of the 1960s was
fascinating, even for an emigrant, and my parents didn’t want to miss it or for us
to miss it either. It was a key time for me.
4. (You have worked in a variety of Spanish cities like Madrid, Murcia, Valencia,
Zaragoza, San Sebastian etc. In Madrid, you’ve exhibited your work at the
Begoña Malone Gallery and the Marlborough Gallery, among other spaces. Last
year, we had the opportunity to see a series of your audiovisual works that
evoked Goya’s Black Paintings, the scenographies for Buero Vallejo’s work “El
Sueño de la Razón” (The Dream of Reason), at the Círculo de Bellas Artes). It
had been a while since you had been seen in Madrid. Tell us what you had been
As I said, Spain is tough for artists and you need to leave and seek out new
channels. During that time, I strengthened my relationship with foreign galleries,
in New York, Paris and Johannesburg, and alternated this with scenographic
work. The artistic direction in various film projects helped me experience the
production system in industrial terms. I feel now that this type of experience is
important for a plastic artist because it makes you understand what the team
means and how to relate with the other jobs so you can achieve a product with
an artistic purpose. This applies to cinema, opera or an artistic production. I
worked with Wim Wenders on a project where the team were of three different
nationalities and, therefore, three different production systems. In the end, you
realise that you’re not on your own and that any of your decisions affects the rest
of the project and that this is the same for everybody who participates. I then did
opera and theatre and although there’s a greater creative freedom, the structure is
essentially the same. These days, I have a close relationship with several
contemporary theatre companies. When I work as a scenographer, I apply
aesthetic systems and solutions that come from plastic art and when I create a
personal art project, I almost instinctively introduce production systems that
come from my theatre experience. At first, this worried me but now I do it
deliberately. I’ve always been attracted by creative boundaries.
5. From your experience in different cities, which was the most stimulating to work
My most intense relationship at the moment is with Africa. I had spells working
in the Sahara and on projects in Mozambique or South Africa with a variety of
artists. Whenever I can, I visit the DAKART biennial in Senegal or the
JOBURG ART FAIR in South Africa where I work with a gallery. What is
happening now in Africa has an amazing vitality and the artists pick up on it.
Contemporary African art has the heartbeat of our first avant-gardes but it still
hasn’t got lost in the ceremonial liturgy of our artistic system. People have a
direct relationship with their artists and the latter have yet to create the status of
detachment that prevails on this side of culture. This experience has given me a
more physical relationship with the pieces, not only in formal terms but also in
terms of allowing the escape of the emotional side that produces such caution in
us. I’m passionate about the avant-gardes of the interwar years and I started to
travel to Africa in search of the start of that 20th century story, and needless to
say I found a continent that was really different from the end of the colonial
period. However, I’m not trying to play the primitive artist, I’m aware that I’m a
Western artist and in debt to its “cultural pantheon”, as Peter Brook says.
6. Your work keeps a balance but also a tension between the space, the line that
crosses the light, and the subject matter that constructs spaces that play host to a
world of shadows. Are you aware of that relationship?
That’s where the baroque part that connects me with expressionism may lie. I’m
interested in chiaroscuro, the suggestion of shadows and their evocative power
that rules out any need for what is literal or explicit. The other day at the Prado,
when I saw the breathtaking exhibition, LAS FURIAS, I realised how Ribera or
Titian introduce a pictorial sub-text with figures in the penumbra that justify the
excess of dark space. These pieces acquire their tension from the light on the
bodies and its geometric arrangement that responds to the proportion of space.
This theatricality is stunning. There’s a lot of emotional truth in that “staging”.
7. Lines are very important in your work. I see firm brushstrokes with blacks that
leave no room for doubt. Is this something you strive for?
This isn’t something that is merely expressive. I am technically trained. I quit
my engineering studies but I love geometry and the problems of perception.
Space, both three-dimensional and flat, is a territory that I’m interested in
marking, walking, measuring, dividing. The brushstroke is a line on which a
decisiveness, a will, is imposed. Accordingly, I like it to be precise, for it to
come from a place and to go to another in particular. It is vital to know how to
manage space in order to propose a certainty, an emotion. Otherwise, the viewer
gets lost and you do too. The chair in Velazquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent X
is separated from the background by a series of black, interwoven strokes that
outline the figure. Such radical decisiveness works visually and gives the subject
a character. You might say that abstract expressionism germinates in that space.
I’m interested in “warming up” geometry with the inflections of gesture. You
see this really well in Africa as they have a sophisticated system of structures
and triangulation in their iconography and even in their primitive engineering,
but in an organic manner. That encounter between geometry and body language
gives off a very special feeling.
8. “Colours are light’s suffering and joy”, Goethe said. In your case, suffering and
joy are red, a colour that is ever-present in your work.
Yes, it’s a colour that I resort to very often. It’s easy for me to perceive how it
sounds in combination with other reds, like a chorus of voices. I associate it with
the night. Some of my pieces are nocturnal reds. It also produces an interesting
elevation of the characters; I have sometimes used it in stage design. In the
production of “El Sueño de la Razón” (The Sleep of Reason) by the Compañía
Ferroviaria, Goya’s space is a red square that functions as a territory of auditory
difference between Goya and the other characters.
9. In psychology, red is associated with danger, desire, violence, power, ambition,
anger etc. What symbolic weight do you attach to it?
I wouldn’t like to say that I’m removed from these connotations but I never
think about them. I prefer to reconnect with colour from the viewpoint of sound.
I’m interested in how it vibrates.
10. You often talk about sonority, rhythm etc. How important are these factors in
Sound is important for me; I work with rhythm and from rhythm. I think a good
work should “sound” for it to be able to speak to the viewer and this involves
composition, silence, counterpoint etc. A space cannot be conceived if you
ignore its echo and the type of sonority produced whenever an element
intervenes in it. It’s also true that I love music and its power of transmission is
unsurpassable. It’s the only activity that enables us to speak to the gods face to
11. As a vital artist, you have passed through various stages and experimented in
different languages like video, photography, drawing, sculpture, and engraving.
This might be down to my curiosity about processes; I am interested in any
process that is capable of producing images, spaces, symbols etc. They are
starting points, tools with which you can work according to the project. That
doesn’t mean that I have an in-depth knowledge of each one but I take from each
what I need at the time. At the same time, I learn from those languages and this
leads me to create other pieces. I don’t subscribe to any specific tool; in my
opinion, a pencil is as relevant as Photoshop, although they have different and
complementary applications. I’ve always tried to work in a creative context; this
led me to graphic design in the 1980s and to cinematic art direction in the early
1990s, although I’d already participated in 1987 in the Ministry of Culture’s first
“Vídeo-Creación” Festival and in the photographers’ workshops at the Círculo
de Bellas Artes.
12. You are an artist who values space. So it seems that from the outset you were
expected to move away from the traditional painting format. I remember in the
“Talleres de Arte Actual” exhibition in 1991 organised by the Círculo de Bellas
Artes in Madrid, you presented some pieces that were clearly positioned
between sculpture and installation. Is this when you started to expand your
There’s a lot of talk about the limits of painting through the concept of
“expanded painting” as an extension of Rosalind Kraus’s “sculpture in the
expanded field”. I think the aim is to link painting to an idea of permanent
evolution/transformation that always returns it to the same place. What are cave
paintings, the Sixtine Chapel, or a zebra crossings if not “expanded painting”?
In my opinion, painting is now born expanded; it’s just that at a certain historical
moment it was placed inside a framework, but that’s a temporary thing. There’s
a questionnaire that the sculptor David Smith conducts for his students where he
considers the issue of limits in the following way:
Do you assert yourself and work in sizes comparable to your physical size or
your aesthetic challenge or imagination? Is that size easel-size or table-size or
room-size or a challenge to nature?
In primitive cultures, paintings were used for polychroming figures, the fronts of
houses or bodies. So if painting returns to its natural space outside the
framework we close the circle. I prefer to use a photographic prism like John
Szarkowski’s in “Windows and Mirrors”, as I see my paintings as a fragment
selected from a greater space or as what enters through a window. William
Kentridge also talks of “what is seen through a window” when referring to his
pieces. Sometimes, the glass of this window has a mirror effect and turns your
gaze back on you.
13. In 2012 you created “ECO DE CICLOPES” (Cyclops’s Echo), another
intervention project, this time inside a huge mine, at the festival of Cante de las
Minas de La Unión (Mining Song from La Unión). How did you go about it?
The project came from the experience of entering the Agrupa Vicenta mine after
it was opened to the general public. The La Unión mining area is a brutal
landscape, the victim of centuries of erosion as the result of mining, which has
turned it into a telluric space of huge dimensions. I regularly go walking in this
landscape, which possesses all the beauty of the catastrophe. Thinking about the
lives of these men and boys, their working conditions and all the literature and
musical and oral culture that emanates from those mountains, inspired me to
create an intervention in that space, 80 metres under the ground. I took the
proposal to the organisers of the Cante de las Minas festival, they liked it and I
got down to work. The idea was to get the pieces to mark a path on the descent
to an oxidised lake that is located at the lowest level. I wanted to talk about the
echo in the mine, a terrible echo with a strange beauty. There was something
operatic about those dimensions. The conditions in the mine made it a difficult
job; there’s an internal humidity of 70%, with minerals in suspension. During
the assembly, we would go up to the surface with our mouths full of minerals. I
knew that the work was going to deteriorate quite a lot; over the month of the
exhibition, many of the pieces were attacked by the humidity and fungi began to
wear away the stands. I shuddered to think of the lungs of the people there.
14. Do you agree that sadness is created by an intervention in an empty space with a
history, a use and the involvement of many lives?
Yes, empty spaces have that about them. I’m not someone who believes in the
paranormal but it’s clear that there’s something heavy in these places that gets to
you. The passage of time is also the weight of time and when you work in a
space like that, you can’t avoid this. In these cases, the work must be understood
from this echo if you don’t want it to become an interference. On the other
hand, it’s tempting to break that silence…or perhaps the right thing is to leave it
be, I don’t know.
15. LA TREGUA (The Truce) is of a multidisciplinary nature and is more spatial
than “ECO DE CICLÓPES”. How did you go about this project and what does
it mean to you to work with all the elements in combination with a specific
First of all, it’s always a challenge to face a space like the Tabacalera. The
power of architecture is great, and also the traces and textures in themselves
make for an evocative proposal. When I start a project like this, I try to note
down instinctive things that arise from the initial contacts. Then I look for
information, I do some research and create an intervention plan. I try to work
freely by following an outline that acts as a link between the pieces and the
space. I create a summary that I don’t follow to the letter, however, as it can
vary during the process. It’s vital that a piece can be replaced with another or
that its position in the space can change with regard to the initial idea. One thing
is the project on paper and another is the physical relationship of the pieces that
demand to be located in a certain way. I don’t like fixed projects where I have to
work without feeling. I have tried to create a journey where the viewer becomes
involved with the pieces and the space. To do so, I have resorted to solutions
that are more stagey, if you like. There’s a degree of theatricality that I believe
to be necessary to evoke this and this is supported by the illumination and the
sound space that are vital to the proposal, without the discourse ever being
invaded. This is a way of competing with the space, I can’t deny it. It’s a type of
challenge that energises me.
16. The title of your intervention: LA TREGUA (The Truce) conjures up a concept
that suggests a conflict. Would it be fair to say that in this case there’s a political
aspect to your work?
We know that all art is political but, as I said before, my work isn’t activated by
news although I can’t deny that, as a citizen, I’m interested in politics. However,
I like proposals to be polysemous; I have no wish to compete with news
programmes nor do I try to be messianic. It’s extraordinary how easy it is for us
sometimes to take the pulpit and lay down the law even though we find it hard to
manage our own lives. LA TREGUA could be a geopolitical concept but it is
also an intimate state, like a humming in the ears that warns us that something is
about to happen. I define it as a multiple tale on the latent conflict that concerns
us every day and this conflict can occur at multiple levels. There are personal
experiences, however small, that sometimes mark us more than collective ones
and we can’t do anything about it. We are hyper-informed and often what we
retain from all that information is the issue that most affects us. Often what is
vibrating in us for days is not the thing that fuels our ideological programme the
most. Some people have no problems with this type of thing but I’m always
surprised by what I retain. Nor am I naïve, if I install a shipwreck in a gallery I
know perfectly well the types of associations that will be made. What’s
interesting is to set it up so that as well as these, other less obvious associations
are activated and they are present too.
17. Nearing our conclusion, I’d like you to tell me about one of the pieces and its
role within the installation as a whole.
Perhaps the one that gives rise to the name of the intervention: LA TREGUA
because it functions as the skin-map-landscape of this tale. It is the piece
responsible for leading the viewer along the journey like a dorsal fin and the one
that most engages itself with the space. It’s a piece in which the viewer has to
move to fully read it and so it works with two superposed times, the one that
implicitly marks its execution and the time taken by the spectator to walk around
it. It breaks the relationship of the instantaneousness of the plastic experience by
bringing it closer to a musical score or a tale where time becomes an inescapable
element. It might be where you’ll find the “expanded painting” you referred to
18. I feel that despite its scenographic nature, this project provides an accurate
summary of your artistic background.
It’s true that at the end you always stamp your obsessions onto each work more
or less consciously. This time, due to the type of space and the production
possibilities, I have been able to create proposals that on other occasions have
been more limited. Also, the risk has been greater in the sense of creating a
central strand through them while avoiding literality. I wanted to work each
space autonomously like in a book of short stories. When I began the project, I
was greatly inspired by an Italo Calvino book that I’d read years ago, “If On A
Winter’s Night A Traveller”. The protagonist is the actual reader because he or
she is the only link that passes through all of them, although they themselves are
connected in an unorthodox fashion. It’s fascinating how an author can talk in
different tones but still be the same person. In life, we don’t repeat the same
discourse constantly, our tone changes according to whom we are talking but we
remain ourselves. I defend the right to plurality in language and heterodoxy.
Going back to the intervention, the aim was to establish a link between the
pieces – sojourns that go beyond the formal sphere, and, despite everything, for
there to be unity. That was the challenge.
Julieta de Haro
VIDEO / THE TRUCE
VIDEO / NORTH STAR
VIDEO / LATENTE