MASTERS OF KUNGFU
29 June 2011, Cervera de los Montes
It's difficult to continue the drawings Judas sent me - involuntarily I try to follow his models and speak in his visual language. This kind of collaborative work is not like the time we spent together at MA Studio, Beijing, two years ago. Painting together side by side was fluid and now I don't get that feeling of freshness and adventure. This is more like problem solving.
We have an ideal world, pleasant monkey, pay or die, China wants you, Beijing super night clubs, Chinese godfather, Super Man Chu - master of Kung-fu, Europe cakes, lollipops and ice cream. Actually, I would prefer to draw only ice cream - it might help in the Spanish heat that makes my upper floor studio to be hot like a Finnish sauna. Next Tuesday I take my family to the cool Finland for a three-week vacation.
A SAMURAI AND AN OFFICE LADY
25 June 2011, Cervera de los Montes
It's Juhannus in Finland but I've lived almost all my adult life in Spain and now I finally decided not to observe anymore Finnish fiestas. In addition, this week I had enough party with the presentation of The Rich Collection in Madrid and suffered a two-day hangover. Now I have to work hard while I take care of my son with chickenpox. Yesterday, I finally received the drawings Judas sent me from Beijing. I should finish these collaborative works for our show in Helsinki in August.
The plan was to have the drawings made before July 5, when we go to Finland for vacation but I realised that it's a mission impossible. I've learned a lot from Judas but I'm still not as fast as him. He calls himself a ronin, a masterless samurai, and I'm more - using another japanism - an OL, office lady.
The Korjaamo team wanted to use reproductions of the drawings in the Culture Tram, a real operating streetcar in Helsinki, but I wanted to think this over again for the tight time frame. I skyped to Beijing and Judas agreed that it would make much more sense to print real Beijing ads used in the public transport. The change of the cultural context will be enough. and the best thing is that this gives us time until August to work with the drawings and Judas can give them his magic touch in Helsinki before being framed for the exhibition.
P.S. My daughter has set up a kiosk selling her drawings to the neighbors. What should I think about it?
P.P.S. Ai Weiwei is free. Long live the Chinese Communist Party! If I were as rich as Mr. Ai, I would also avoid paying taxes.
RICH BITCH DRAWINGS
20 June 2011, Cervera de los Montes
The most exciting thing this week will be the presentation of The Rich Collection in Madrid. I'm happy that it takes place so near me though officially the collection is based in Lisbon, Mexcio City and Dubai.
I sold very recently all my hotel stationary drawings, 56 pieces, to this important collection. I'm proud to be in a good company - the artists of The Rich collection are Nina Chanel Abney, Franz Ackermann, Dan Attoe, Abel Auer, Hernan Bas, George Condo, Petra Cortright, Nathalie Djurberg, Peter Doig, Armen Eloyan, Bea Fremderman, Swetlana Heger, Brad Kahlhamer, Terence Koh, Cristina Llanos, Jonathan Meese, Momu & No es, Yoshitomo Nara, Raymond Pettibon, Tal R, Riiko Sakkinen, Raqib ShawConrad Shawcross, Eliezer Sonnenschein, Dash Snow, LucTuymans and my great friend Abdul Vas.
The best thing is that Raul will be there partcipating in the conversation Collecting Emerging Artists organized by the collection. It will be fun to have some drinks with him again, just a couple of weeks after Monterrey.
CHINA VS. MEXICO
16 June 2011, Cervera de los Montes
I would prefer to do now new works about tacos, narcos, Mini manitas adivinas, Lobo pick-ups, Hot-tamal, Tecate light, Rey del cabrito, los Zetas, Diablitos picosito salado y enchilado, Fuerza civil, Bimbo, Rellenitos Fresa, Sweet kiss paleta de caramelo macizo acidulada, Cocoa dunisand all the stuff I've seen in Mexico but, once again, I have to set my mind in the People's Republic of China.
I'm waiting for 20 drawings from Judas he has sent me from Beijing. I'll finish them and they will be in our show Operation Golden Moneky at Korjaamo Galleria and Culture Tram (it's a real operating tram) in Helsinki. We are also preparing a slide show titled China for Dummies and then we'll show the 12 paintings we did two years ago in Beijing.
THE MOST FAMOUS PERSON OF THE VILLAGE
13 June 2011, Cervera de los Montes
I came back home from Mexico and found out that I'm suddenly famous here. The improvised show I did at Blo Laboratorio Digital in Talavera de la Reina, our nearest town, 10km from Cervera de los Montes, has got a wide local media coverage, full page articles, TV news, radio interviews... I was the best kept secret around here and now they know that my works are exhibited around the world and included in the permanent collection of MoMA and other museums.
This was never my plan, I just wanted to live a discreet life - to live here and to work somewhere else. I hope that these 15 minutes of local fame don't damage the peaceful life I've build for myself and my family.
BETWEEN CUBA AND MIAMI
07 June 2011, AM1, Mexico City - Madrid
I'm sitting next to Aldonza who is an anarchist, a flamenco dancer and a former Mexican champion of Kung-fu. We drink tequila with Sprite and now we are flying between Cuba and Miami. Traveling makes me feel lonely and alienated and I know it will take several days to land back in my life. Every encounter with a new culture impacts me more than I could afford.
The opening of my show on Saturday was fun. The Mexicans, or at least the Regios, don't meet the stereotype of latinos. They are quiet and reserved. Like the Finns. Or the stereotype of the Finns. Raúl and me gave a talk in the beginning of the reception and nobody wanted to ask anything. Later we were drinking martinis at the roof terrace and an older güey who told me angry and almost shouting that he understood that I wanted to provoke but that he didn't get provoked at all.
I had a great time in Monterrey. Pristine Gallery team was extremely professional and hospitable. I had a couple of free days after the opening to walk around the city, buy some polar art paintings in the markets, visit Dr. Lakra's show at Marco Museum of Contemporary Art, Damian's studio, Juan Carlos' studio and eat lot's of delicious tacos for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I will also remember always the Mexican sushi which is warm and never served with wasabi because the Mexicans think it's too hot and prefer to replace it with chili.
02 June 2011, Monterrey
After a delay of a couple of days, Raúl – the curator of my show – arrived from New York. I had to take some decisions without his presence and I’m happy that he accepted practically everything. We done almost 20 shows together but his is our first solo show. Undoubtedly, Raúl is the person who has supported me more than anybody else during my career.
Without Raúl, who is originally a Tijuana immigrant, I would have done just a normal show about global issues, I wouldn't have dared to speak about anything local or the mother of all borders, the one between Mexico and United States, so near here. Raúl encouraged me to show the Wetback towel and other works related to the border theme.
Two days ago, just when I arrived, the finance minister of Mexico Ernesto Cordero (sheep in Spanish) stated that Mexico is not anymore a poor country – it only has a serious problem of poverty. The capitalism promised opportunities for everybody but it has proven to be just like patriotism or socialism – each individual must sacrifice himself for the glory of the system. Don’t complain if you are poor when the country’s economy is growing. The minimum wage in Mexico is less than five US dollars per day.
I want to thank Mr. Cordero for deciphering and contextualizing the title of my show perfectly – Don’t Ask What Capitalism Can Do for You but What You Can Do for Capitalism. Now I'm painting in the gallery a mural with a shanty house and the text Riqueza Cordero.