A CLUMSY ARTIST IN AFRICA
09 March 2018, Grand-Popo
When I did a residency in 2011 in Syria I sprained my ankle when dancing on table in an open-air discotheque in Aleppo. I thought that I was going to a fierce dictatorship and found myself in a wild multicultural party, which made me overexcited. After that I couldn’t walk for two weeks which limited my research and adventures.
Last Monday, I arrived in Grand-Popo, Benin, where I’m in a five-week residency at Villa Karo, a Finnish-African Cultural Center. The first thing I did was to fall down in a staircase and hurt my ankle again. This time there’s no interesting story to tell. I guess that this residency will consists basically of sitting in the terrace and watching impotently the ocean waves.
SUNNY MOUNTAINS AND PALM TREES
01 March 2018, Pepino
Tes monts ensoleillés, tes palmiers, ta verdure,
Cher Bénin, partout font ta vive parure.
Ton sol offre à chacun la richesse des fruits.
The national anthem of Benin
I've traveled quite a lot but this time it's different. I never packed before these things:
- Insect repellent, 45% deet.
- Three different medicines for diarrhea
- Antimalarial medication
- International certificate of Vaccination (Yellow fever, typhoid fever, hepatitis A)
- Flashlight for power blackouts
On Monday, I'm off to Benin, West Africa. You could think that it's a big adventure but actually I'm going to a residency at Villa Karo, a Finnish-African cultural center located in an idyllic fishing village and tourist resort in Grand-Popo. Being in Africa surrounded by Finns is a bit disturbing circumstance. They asked me to bring with me some rye bread but I told that I live in Spain. Neither I'm traveling chorizo-laden. When in Benin, do as the Beninese do.
21 February 2018, Pepino
I don't believe in inspiration except when I don't have it. However, I'm professional and keep on working even without the help from the muses though I feel like a mortal person and not a genius.
In Greek thought, inspiration meant that the artist would go into ecstasy or furor poeticus, the divine frenzy or poetic madness. That state would be too much for my daily middle class life. Inspired or not, I have to cook for the kids, help them in homework, drive them to activities and wash their clothes.
CAPITALIST COLOR THEORY
08 February 2018, Pepino
It's an unusual exhibition week, on Thursday morning I'm still at home. Normally, gallery shows open on Thursdays and I travel on Sunday or Monday.
Capitalist Color Theory at Galería Kernel will be inaugurated on Friday (9pm, possible only in Spain). One of the paintings isn't totally dry so I wanted to delay the transport as long as possible. I'm waiting for Julián and Maria to arrive with the van and then load the works and travel with them to Cáceres.
I've been working with the stuff until the last moment, yesterday I was buying in supermarkets products that have colors as word on the labels: black chocolate, white bread, red tea, orange juice, yellow ají, green pepper sauce, blue fabric softener and violet liquor. It's a supermarket color wheel of capitalist color theory.
31 January 2018, Pepino
Spinoza wrote about the post-coital tristesse that as far as sensual pleasure is concerned, the mind is so caught up in it, as if at peace in a good, that it is quite prevented from thinking of anything else. But after the enjoyment of sensual pleasure is past, the greatest sadness follows. If this does not completely engross, still it thoroughly confuses and dulls the mind.
Painting three big works lickety-split in less than three weeks has been as intense as having a Viagra boosted orgy. Making these color splash abstractions is physical work and splattering paint is like ejaculating. Now I feel empty.
We transport the works to Galería Kernel, Cáceres, just the day before the opening to have them as dry as possible. I have a week left without any plans. Should I begin something new or just to watch the enamel paint dry?