"I want the viewer to sense that the work is ephemeral not only because of its precariousness, but also because once it is dismantled, it will go back to being a material that can be presented differently next time."
Your sculptures have a playful feel to them, using used/thrown away everyday objects. Could you tell us about these sculptures and the inspiration behind them?
Playfulness is definitely a big aspect of my work and it happens in a very spontaneous manner, which is genuine to the way I solve problems in the art making. I do not have a traditional set of skills in constructing or drawing, but I use that in my favor to make the kind of work I do. My sculptures are not fixed in time. Materials are reused, recombined with new ones, or set up in different ways. Each piece I document or show is finished, but only for the duration of that exhibition. I want the viewer to sense that the work is ephemeral not only because of its precariousness, but also because once it is dismantled, it will go back to being a material that can be presented differently next time. I draw inspiration from the everyday things I see in the streets: the way things are placed on the sidewalks, tied up, leaning or piled. Also people, what they wear and carry with them. When I pick up something on the street, I don't necessarily know how or where it will end up in my work. I am drawn to the potential that I see in that material itself, or maybe in conjunction to something else I recall having in the studio.
Could you tell us a bit about yourself. How long have you been a practising artist and where did you study?
I was born and raised in Chile, where I got a degree in Marketing and Business. After finishing, I decided I wanted to pursue a career as an artist. I could not see myself doing that for life. I slowly changed my path into Art. I took several continuing education classes (some in Chile and some abroad, including Central Saint Martins) In 2010, I moved to the United States to get a Master in Fine Arts. I spent one incredible year at the San Francisco Art Institute, but my true dream was being in New York. Eventually I restarted grad school at the School of Visual Arts, where I graduated in 2013.
What artwork have you seen recently that has resonated with you?
I recently saw Samara Golden's work at the Whitney Biennial which was pretty inspiring. I loved how playful that work was! Using simple materials and constructions, choosing the perfect placement and creating infinity with the use of mirrors she was able to create a complex piece that was dislocating and hypnotising at the same time.
Where has your work been headed more recently?
For several years I worked exclusively with found and ready-made objects that I could gather in my surroundings. Not long ago, I started exploring the incorporation of crafted elements into my work. Mainly with ceramics, works on paper and hand-woven pieces I make out of non traditional weaving materials. My interest in the “making” has increased over time and I am really drawn into this aspect which I believe adds a fresh element to my work.
Tell us a bit about how you spend your day/studio routine? What is your studio like?
I currently have a studio at The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, located close to Times Square in Manhattan. It's pretty crazy to work in the middle of the city! I usually walk or bike there, finding my way between pedestrians, tourists and leftover materials. Getting there everyday is like venturing a jungle, but once I am in the studio, I am able to disconnect from the hectic surroundings. I work in a very fragmented manner, so usually in more than one piece at a time. Because I use materials I find on the sidewalks and get inspiration from the everyday life, I also spend a lot of time outside the studio, going back and forth. My studio has a section where I pile found materials. It can get messy because I tend to keep a lot of stuff, but I always have clean walls and leave empty area so that I can work on pieces individually, without excess of information around them.
How do you go about naming your work?
I usually work on titles when the work is finished, and only think about titling when I have to include a piece in a show. I like titles that have some humour, play of words or double meaning and that are somehow open ended, since my work does not have a specific narrative. One of my closest friends, artist David Jacobs, is of great help. We usually brainstorm back and forth, playing with words. Since English is not my first language, I always learn something new and funny in this process.
Is there anything new and exciting in the pipeline you would like to tell us about
I am spending a lot of time working in ceramics, in preparation for a show next year at Proto Gallery in Hoboken, New Jersey. The ceramic objects I make are roughly inspired by the found, but at the same time, represent appealing objects that one would not actually be able to encounter in the real world. These ceramics will be combined with found objects to make sculptures that intensify the idea of transforming the discarded and unwanted into something oddly desirable. I have also started making a new series of weavings that retain the same element of playfulness as my past work, but focuses as much on childlike representational drawing techniques as it does on the abstract.
All images courtesy of the artist
Interview published 01/06/17