I'M NOT AN ART LOVER
21 August 2019, Pepino
Javier phoned and told about a drawing course he is going to give in a university. He mentioned that he was going to talk about my work and then asked my favorite younger generation artists who do drawings. I was embarrassed - I have no idea of contemporary art anymore.
When I was a student I was shocked when older artist told that they don’t follow everything what’s cooking in biennials, museums and galleries. I wanted to know everything. I hadn’t money to travel to Venice or Documenta but I was always reading all important magazines. Not anymore. Now I could save money for a trip to Kassel but I never went there. I just don’t have the need to see art. Art in general is not my passion - the intense everyday struggle with my own work is enough for me. And sometimes it’s too much. I’m an artist, not an art lover.
Today I drove to Madrid for reasons not related to art but I had a couple of free hours. I went to Reina Sofia Museum where I found two exquisite shows, retrospectives of Rogelio López Cuenca and David Wojnarowicz. Two artists that have same profession with me (most of the artists are as far from my practice as a dealer of a used cars). I felt renewed and empowered. I remembered how much I love art.
BREAKING MY OWN RULES
23 July 2019, Pepino
I've been painting painters, a kind of self-portraits. I thought it as something fun after finishing the laborious Animal Show Business series but I now I'm thinking that these works could make a real show.
I have had a dogma of not making work about art, artists and art world. I ignored it last time in 2014 when I did MuNA - Museum of No Art at Serlachius Museums pressured by Pauli, the director of the latter. Then I felt really uncomfortable but now I just enjoy of breaking rules. The best thing in being an artist is that you don't have to respect any rules, not even your own.
DEAR WHITE MALE ARTIST
08 July 2019, Pepino
Some people have kindly advised me that as a European straight white cis male artist I'm not entitled to criticize certain things like racism, colonialism and misogyny. I painted Donald Duck (he's very white) as a painter listing themes he shouldn't touch with the brush.
I assume that we the white males are responsible of most of the horrors of the world. However, I think that the oppressed should work with progressive people form the privileged groups to overthrow the reactionary patriarchy. Wouldn´t you accept to collaborate with a dissident in the Third Reich just because he's German?
I still believe in the marxist idea of class. The social class defines us more than the color of the skin or gender. An African prole has more in common with white trash trailer park park working poor has more in common than with Oprah. But of course Marx was a white man like myself.
A PORTRAIT OF THE DICTATOR
16 June 2019, Pepino
I painted Franco´s portrait. My studio is in a village where the plaza is called Plaza de Generalissimo Francisco Franco. Actually the painting is not about the tyrant or the dictatorship but the ignorance of the nostalgic Spaniards who believe Franco’s time was glorious and now vote the new far right party Vox.
My wife said that the portrait is not a good idea. She thinks I’m laughing at her family. I sent the photo to a couple of Spanish artist friends and they agreed with her but were unable to formulate clearly why. I don’t think that Franco is a taboo. Is it because I’m an immigrant? How long an immigrant must live in a country before he has the right to criticize it? I’ve been here permanently here over fifteen years. Would 50 years be enough? 100? The second generation? The third one?
I decided to send the photo to my carpenter too. He didn’t go to the university and is a card-carrying communist. He thought that the painting is great. This time I trust more in proles’ taste than the opinions of my wife and other friends with a PhD in fine arts.
My portrait of the king got a huge media visibility this year at Arco Madrid art fair. I hope I can show Franco next year in the same event. Then I’m going to be the most famous artist in Spain.
McCHICKEN IN THE ART WORLD
25 May 2019, Pepino
The Lima-based Tokio Galería visited Madrid and organized there a one night show. Abdul asked me to participate and I gave him four small works, including It's a Dash, the first ever internet connected painting with an Amazon Dash button to order condoms.
I drove to Madrid and decided to stay there during the whole event from 5pm until 10pm to take the art works with me back to the studio. It was a long time to hang around for an introvert like me. I don't know many people in the Madrid art world and the most of those who I know I prefer not to talk with. I drank a couple of craft beers, was bored and decided to see the neighborhood.
I stopped at a campaign meeting of the Communist Party of the Workers of Spain. They also served beer to the comrades and sympathizers. I didn't want to drink (and drive) more but I enjoyed the political rhetorics en plein air. All the candidates were middle aged men and most of their supporters younger women.
At the art party the microbrewery sponsorship had ran out of beer. The creative class were drinking the same Mahou with the communist working class youth. Teresa Margolles walked in and everybody wanted a selfie with the art star. I went to the lavatory and there were two men sniffing coke. I opened the other toilet and there were two women kissing and doing lines.
I headed outside again and had a McChicken and alcohol free beer for dinner. Alone. It was so sad that I was laughing at myself. I went back to the gallery, packed the paintings, said goodbye to Abdul and drove 120km to home. I felt like McChicken.