Editor´s Note: Artist of The Week Interviews is a series of artist interviews curated by Art Throng-a global contemporary art curatorial think-tank whose mission is to make art in all its expressions available across cross-cultural platforms. In these weekly interviews, we cover noteworthy artists from across the world, in different mediums of artistic expression from illustrations to design, sound to performance, photography to portraits, sculptures to motion. Here is our fifth artist of this weekly series- Raúl Díaz Reyes
1. Can your work be seen in the simultaneous presence of visually “blurred” forms and more defined elements, referring to postmodern architecture?
Yes, some works that I have done may be linked to the aesthetics of that type of architecture, close to figures such as Zaha Hadid, etc. It is something that has interested me in recent years. Architecture contains so many things … but I am not at all a great expert in this matter. Regarding the “erased” in these works, I think that partly it responds to a desire not to facilitate the reading of the works to the viewer, denying them part of the image, forcing them to see beyond, fleeing from simple identification. Try not to say: Oh! That photograph belongs to the facade of the “x” building.
2. Where does your inspiration come from?
From many parts, I am interested in many things that I suppose are not perceived at work such as comics, video games, music, and cinema. Then there are other more obvious ones that have to do with the history of art itself, which is an inexhaustible source where one does not stop learning and being surprised.
3. For your first solo exhibition in Moscow, you developed two distinct bodies of work. Inspired by your research into the architectures of São Paulo, New York, and Madrid, you began processing the image of the city as a genre that documents construction and habitation, developing a unique language of sculptural abstraction, while employing a variety of materials. Can you tell us about this exhibition at the Osnova gallery?
My approach to this exhibition was, on the one hand, to generate a powerful installation by accumulating sculptures on pedestals, placing them all in the same front position, which is already strange when we talk about volumetric works. On the other hand, I wanted to influence something that still interests me today, which is the unfolding of the different artistic languages. The PATTERNS exhibition started from this base in which the photographs were turned into sculptures by folding the flat material. The image of each sculpture came from a file of images that was expanding every year, this collected patterns of cities through which it passed, could come from the facade of a building or from a fence damaged by the passage of time. In the end, more than about the architecture itself, everything revolved around the urban space through which we move and how it changes through the interaction of its inhabitants.
4. There are elements of sculptural abstractions in your work, in which edges of form construction play with bigger tactility, due to usage of various materials. How would you describe your work?
The choice of materials is certainly something important, as these have to be the best to help us express an idea or concept. This very technical part of the material combination almost always comes from an interesting time in the study in which one explores until finding the best solution.
5. Your work can be seen as a photograph that is contemplated as a sculpture, and the painting gets into it. The results of this reflection on the city as a place for interaction and change and generate new landscapes with multiple possibilities. How would you view the city through your work in the post COVID world?
The impression I have right now is that very few things will change after the COVID. I didn’t think that at all a couple of months ago when we were in full confinement. It is a little disappointing. Personally, and I am surprised myself, now I look at the urban space with more suspicion than fascination, I don’t know how that will affect my work in the future.
6. Are there any future projects you are currently working on?
Right now I am finishing an audiovisual exhibition project with Abel Hernández and Juan Carlos Roldan. It is linked to music and it is something very different from other things I have done. And I have two jobs that have to take me to Peru and Brazil, but they are currently on stand-by until the COVID situation improves. But I have to say that this break does not hurt me. Last year was quite intense for me, with individual exhibitions in Madrid, Moscow, and Sao Paulo. It is a good time to look back, reflect on those works, and think about what I want to do from now on.
7. The times that we are living in, with many countries still in lockdown and some emerging out of it. How have you been managing the situation personally and how has it affected your work?
Well, trying to adapt to this situation that has misled us all, I have continued to come to the studio, but since it seems that it has happened to other colleagues, it has not been a very productive stage. I hope that the situation will normalize soon in all countries. I have many friends who are dealing with all this but who also have to support the governments of people like Trump and Bolsonaro. It must be very hard to live in this situation with those people in power. I hope your situation improves soon.