ART21

S7 E3 | FULL EPISODE

Legacy

Why do we break with some traditions and perpetuate others? Artists in this episode use life experiences and family heritage to explore new aesthetic terrain. Featuring artists Wolfgang Laib, Tania Bruguera, and Abraham Cruzvillegas.

AIRED: November 07, 2014 | 0:54:43
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
TRANSCRIPT

- ART CAN HAVE CONNECTIONS

OVER MANY CENTURIES OR THOUSANDS OF YEARS.

- PART OF THE HOMEWORK

THAT SOCIALLY ENGAGED ART HAS TO DO

IS RETHINK THE WAY IN WHICH THE PROJECTS SURVIVE

BEYOND THE ARTIST.

- CONSTANTLY, I MAKE SCULPTURES THAT ARE ABOUT TO COLLAPSE.

FOR INSTANCE, A COLLECTOR,

IF THEY WANT TO COLLECT SOMETHING LIKE THAT,

THEY KEEP A PROBLEM.

[tapping]

- EVERY HUMAN BEING SHOULD KNOW WHAT THE SUN IS,

AND I DON'T HAVE TO EXPLAIN TO SOMEBODY WHAT THE SUN IS,

AND I DON'T WANT TO EXPLAIN TO SOMEBODY WHAT POLLEN IS.

THAT IS SOMETHING WHICH I SIFTED IT THERE

TO ENJOY IT AND SHARE IT WITH MANY PEOPLE,

BUT IT'S NOT MY TASK TO EXPLAIN THIS.

THAT IS THE SECRET AND THE BEAUTY AND

AND THE POWER AND THE POTENTIAL OF ALL THIS.

FOR ME, THE POLLEN IS THE BEGINNING OF THE LIFE

OF THE PLANTS AND NOT LESS.

THE POLLEN HAS AN INCREDIBLE COLOR,

BUT IT'S NOT A PIGMENT FOR A PAINTING.

ALL THE POLLEN I COLLECT

IS IN THE CLOSE VICINITY OF THE VILLAGE WHERE WE LIVE

IN SOUTHERN GERMANY.

AND THE MOST BEAUTIFUL IS THE DANDELION POLLEN.

WHEN YOU SIT DAYS AND DAYS IN A DANDELION MEADOW,

IT'S AN INCREDIBLE EXPERIENCE.

AND IT'S SOMETHING TOTALLY DIFFERENT

THAN WHAT OUR SOCIETY THINKS OF WHAT YOU SHOULD DO

OR WHAT YOU SHOULD ACHIEVE

IN AN HOUR OR IN A DAY OR IN A WEEK OR IN A MONTH.

THE POLLEN PCE AT MOMA WAS POLLEN FROM HAZELNUT.

THEY BLOSSOM IN VERY EARLY SPRING.

FOR ONE MONTH ABOUT,

I CAN COLLECT ONE JAR OF POLLEN.

THE POLLEN WHICH WAS HERE AT MOMA

WAS FROM THE EARLY '90s TO LAST YEAR.

IT'S ABOUT 15 TO 18 SEASONS.

THIS WAS BY FAR THE BIGGEST POLLEN PCE I EVER MADE.

THE OTHER POLLEN PCES I MADE WERE LIKE 1/4 OF THIS PCE.

MY FATHER WORKED AS A DOCTOR

IN A SMALL TOWN IN SOUTHERN GERMANY.

THERE WAS THIS ONE FRIEND

JAKOB BRAECKLE IS HIS NAME

WHO WAS THIS ARTIST FROM A LOCAL TOWN.

HE WAS THE ONLY FRIEND OF MY PARENTS.

HE SHOWED MY PARENTS MANY THINGS WHICH

WHICH SOMEHOW BECAME VERY IMPORTANT

FOR OUR FAMILY AND FOR MYSELF.

AND I THINK THIS GLASS HOUSE

WHICH MY PARENTS BUILT AND WHICH WE ARE STILL LIVING IN

SOMEHOW WOULDN'T HAVE BEEN POSSIBLE WITHOUT HIM.

WE HAD AN INCREDIBLE, BEAUTIFUL RELATIONSHIP.

I THINK THE MAIN INFLUENCE WAS,

HE WAS VERY INTERESTED IN CHINESE PHILOSOPHY

AND LAOZI AND BRANCUSI.

WHEN I WAS 15, I COULD REMEMBER BY HEART

ALL CHAPTERS OF THE TAO TE CHING.

MY FAVORITE CHAPTER WAS 1, NUMBER 1,

AND NUMBER 25.

THIS EXHIBITION AT SPERONE WESTWATER,

THE SPACE IS A

IT'S A VERY DIFFICULT SPACE.

IT'S NOT AN EASY SPACE.

IT'S A VERY INTERESTING SPACE.

I THINK I FOUND A VERY BEAUTIFUL SOLUTION,

TO USE TWO FLOORS WITH AN OLD WORK,

WITH BEESWAX ZIGGURATS,

AND THEN COMBINE IT WITH NEW WORK,

WITH ALL THESE BRASS SHIPS.

THIS INSTALLATION WAS FOR ME THE FIRST TIME

I DID SOMETHING LIKE THIS.

TEST THE INTEGRITY OF OF ALL THIS,

LIKE IT'S LIKE ONE PCE.

MY BEESWAX STEP PYRAMIDS WHICH I MADE,

I GIVE THE TITLE ZIGGURAT,

WHICH REFERS TO MESOPOTAMIAN STEP PYRAMIDS.

FOR ME, IT WAS ALWAYS VERY BEAUTIFUL

THAT YOU CAN DO SOMETHING TODAY IN THE 21ST CENTURY

WHICH IS NOT AN IMITATION

BUT WHICH HAS A CONNECTION TO ART

WHICH IS 4,000 YEARS OLD.

- QUESTION: WHAT IS THE BOATS ACTUALLY MADE OUT OF?

- BRASS. - BRASS?

- BRASS, YEAH.

- THEY ACTUALLY BRASS BOATS?

- BRASS, YEAH.

- OKAY. - MM-HMM.

- ALL RIGHT. - VERY SIMPLE BRASS.

- RIGHT, RIGHT, RIGHT, RIGHT.

EVEN THE TIPS?

EVEN LIKE EVEN LIKE THE TIP OFF

- YEAH, YEAH, IT'S ONE PCE WHICH I JUST FOLDED.

- OH, OKAY. - IT'S NOT WELDED, NOTHING.

JUST LIKE PAPER FOLDING.

- AH, GOT YOU.

OH, HOW DID YOU GET THE BRASS TO BEND LIKE THAT?

- YEAH, I DID THAT. - YOU DID IT.

- YEAH, I MADE ALL THE SHIPS MYSELF.

- AH, GOT YOU.

- ONCE ININ HIGH SCHOOL, I WROTE, LIKE, A 10-PAGE THING.

IT'S ABOUT BRANCUSI, AND IT WAS ABOUT LAOZI.

AND THE TEACHER CAME,

AND IN FRONT OF THE WHOLE CLASS, HE SAID,

"WOLFGANG, YOU REALLY CHEAT.

"YOU HAD THE LAOZI LYING THERE UNDER YOUR TABLE.

I DON'T BELIEVE THIS."

AND THEN I GOT REALLY UPSET, AND THEN HE SAID,

"ANDAND WHO IS THIS BRANCUSI?

"I DON'T KNOW WHO WHO THIS IS.

"WHO IS THIS?

I NEVER HEARD ABOUT THIS MAN."

AND THEN I

THEN I STOOD UP ANDAND

AND SOMEHOW BY HEART IN FRONT OF THE WHOLE CLASS,

I RECITED THE WHOLE CHAPTERS OUT LOUD.

I GOT SO EMOTIONAL.

WHEN I LOOK BACK,

IT WAS ALREADY THIS VERY STRONG STRIVE

FOR SOMETHING TOTALLY DIFFERENT.

POLLEN IS FAR FROM THE OTHER WORKS,

BUT STILL, I FEEL IN SUCH A MAJOR EXHIBITION,

IN A GALLERY,

IT'S VERY BEAUTIFUL TO HAVE THE SHELF OF POLLEN JARS THERE.

[muttering indistinctly]

SO THIS IS BEECH.

THIS IS PINE.

THIS IS HAZELNUT, THE SAME WHICH IS NOW AT MOMA,

AND THIS IS FROM MOSS, A VERY FINE FROM...

IT'S AN EXTREMELY FINE...

IT'S NEARLY LIKE A LIQUID, SO

SO FINE, IT REALLY FALLS.

IT'S ALSO VERY GOOD. SMELL IT.

[chuckles]

YEAH, MY FATHER HAD THIS INCREDIBLE INTEREST IN ART,

AND THEN TOWARDS HIS MIDLIFE, IT WAS A REAL CRISIS FOR HIM.

HEHE HAD HAD BEGUN TO PAINT AND

AND MADE REALLY VERY BEAUTIFUL WHITE PAINTINGS,

BUT THEN FOR HIM, OF COURSE,

IT WAS IMPOSSIBLE TO BECOME AN ARTIST,

SO IT WAS A REAL THERE WAS A REAL TENSION.

AND FOR MYSELF, I WAS THEN

I WAS A TEENAGER AND NOT LIKE

LIKE A NORMAL TEENAGER WHO WOULD OPPOSE HIS PARENTS.

I WASI WAS FOLLOWING EVERYTHING WHAT MY PARENTS DID.

I THINK WE ONLY LIVED THREE YEARS

IN THIS GLASS HOUSE,

AND THEN THERE WAS THIS TRAVEL TO TURKEY.

PEOPLE IN SMALL VILLAGES INVITED US INTO THEIR HOMES,

SIMPLE HOUSES WITH ROOMS TOTALLY EMPTY

WITH SOME PILLOWS,

AND MY PARENTS CAME HOME,

AND ALL THE FURNITURE DISAPPEARED.

THE MAIN THING WAS THAT WE WANTED TO HAVE

ONLY THE ART IN A SPACE

AND NOT TO BE DISTURBED BY ANYTHING ELSE.

THE BEGINNING OF THE '60s,

MY FATHER SAW THESE BOOKS ABOUT INDIAN TANTRIC ART.

HE WAS SOMEHOW SO STRUCK BY THE DRAWINGS,

WHICH LOOKED LIKE A MONDRIAN, BUT WERE LIKE 400 YEARS OLD.

AND THEN HE SAID, "I WANT TO SEE THIS COUNTRY

WHERE THIS IS COMING FROM."

AND THIS WAS ACTUALLY THE REASON

FOR THE FIRST TRAVEL TO INDIA OF MY PARENTS.

AND WE MY SISTER AND I, WE

WE WERE LIKE 15 YEARS OLD.

INDIA IS OVERWHELMING.

I MEAN, IT'S FOR EVERYBODY OVERWHELMING.

AND I REMEMBER, THE FIRST NIGHT IN DELHI,

WE ARRIVED LIKE 5:00, AND THEN WE TOOK A WALK.

YOU COULD NOT WALK ON THE SIDEWALK.

IT WAS PEOPLE WERE LYING THERE,

LIKE ONE AFTER THE NEXT.

IT LOOKED LIKE A CEMETERY.

MY PARENTS BEGAN TO WEEP,

SO IT WAS A REAL EMOTIONAL EXPERIENCE

ON EVERY LEVEL AND ALL

THEN SEEING ALL THIS ARTWORKS AND ALL THIS ARCHITECTURE

BUT ALSO THE HUMAN EXISTENCE, WHICH WAS EVEN MUCH MORE...

IT WAS THE DEEPEST EXPERIENCE, I THINK.

MY PARENTS BEGAN TO SUPPORT A VILLAGE

IN SOUTH INDIA.

I HAVE THIS STUDIO NOW THERE SOME YEARS.

PEOPLE ALWAYS THINK THAT I BECAME A BUDDHIST,

WHICH IS NOT TRUE AT ALL.

I CHOSE NOT TO ENTER A MONASTERY.

I BECAME AN ARTIST,

AND ART IS ABOUT NOT KNOWING WHERE YOU ARE GOING.

I WAS VERY INTERESTED IN ART WHEN I WAS IN HIGH SCHOOL.

FOR ME, ARTISTS WERE, LIKE, SEMI-GODS,

AND WHEN I MET, THEN, SOME ARTISTS

AND IT WAS, FOR ME, SUCH A SHOCK

AND TO THE OTHER WAY THAT I BEGAN TO STUDY MEDICINE

WITH ALL THE IDEALS YOU CAN HAVE AS A DOCTOR

TO SAVE MANKIND AND HUMANITY.

IN GERMAN UNIVERSITY,

YOU CAN GO TO ANY LECTURE YOU WANT,

SO I WENT TO PHILOSOPHY AND PSYCHOLOGY AND PSYCHIATRY,

AND I WAS SEARCHING, SEARCHING.

I COULDN'T IMAGINE TO GO WRITE A THESIS IN A LAB.

THEN I FOUND A PROFESSOR WHO SAID,

"IF YOU HAVE REALLY A GOOD IDEA, WHICH IS TOTALLY INDEPENDENT."

THEN I ASKED HIM IF I COULD WRITE A THESIS

ON THE HYGIENE OF DRINKING WATER IN SOUTH INDIA,

WHICH WOULD GIVE ME A TOTAL FREEDOM

FROM ALL THIS KIND OF THING.

AND HE SAID, "GO AHEAD,

IF YOU DO IT WELL, THERE'S NO PROBLEM."

AND THAT'S WHAT I DID.

AND THEN I WENT TO ALL THESE VILLAGES

AROUND THE VILLAGE WHICH MY PARENTS SUPPORTED AND

AND STAYED THERE FOR HALF A YEAR.

AND THAT WAS SOMEHOW

WHEN I CAME BACK,

IT WAS SUCH A INTENSE EXPERIENCE THAT I

AND I BEGAN TO CARVE THIS BRAHMANDA, THIS EGG.

"BRAHMANDA" MEANS "THE EGG OF BRAHMA,"

SO IT'S LIKE A UNIVERSAL EGG.

THE BEGINNING OF THE UNIVERSE, THAT WAS THE IDEA.

I MADE THIS WORK IN 1972.

THIS WAS A BOULDER FROM NEARBY, FROM A QUARRY.

IT'S A VERY HARD STONE,

AND I WORKED HERE ON TOP OF THIS SMALL HILL

NEAR THE FOREST FOR THREE MONTHS.

IT WAS A VERY INTENSE TIME,

THINKING OF WHAT I WANT TO DO WITH MY LIFE.

FINALLY WHEN IT WAS FINISHED, JUST BEFORE CHRISTMAS,

EVERYBODY THOUGHT I WOULD NEVER COME BACK TO THE UNIVERSITY.

AND ALL MY FRIENDS, THEY CALLED,

AND, "WHERE IS WOLFGANG? WHAT IS HE DOING?"

FINALLY WHEN THIS WAS FINISHED,

I SAID TO MYSELF AND TO MY PARENTS

THAT I WOULD NOT BECOME A DOCTOR.

I REALLY WANTED TO BECOME AN ARTIST.

BUT I WOULD FINISH MY MEDICAL STUDIES,

WHICH WOULD TAKE ANOTHER TWO YEARS.

FROM 1972 UNTIL '74,

WHEN I THEN FINALLY LEFT THE UNIVERSITY,

THESE TWO YEARS WERE SO IMPORTANT FOR ME

WAS, I THINK, THE MOST DIFFICULT TIME IN MY LIFE,

WHEREWHERE ALL THIS TENSION BUILT UP,

AND THEN ONLY LIKE HALF A YEAR LATER,

I MADE THE FIRST MILKSTONE.

THE FIRST MILKSTONE WAS THE DIRECT ANSWER

TO WHAT I HAD SEEN AT THE UNIVERSITY

AND IN THE HOSPITALS.

I'M STILL AMAZED THAT I COULD GIVE

SUCH A DIRECT ANSWER WITH SUCH AN ARTWORK...

HOW TEMPORARY MILK IS

AND HOW ETERNAL A STONE IS.

ART IS FOR ME ALSO THAT IT CAN HAVE THESE CONNECTIONS

OVER MANY CENTURIES OR

OR THOUSANDS OF YEARS.

I ALWAYS THOUGHT ABOUT BEESWAX.

IT'S VERY CLOSE TO POLLEN.

THE FIRST WAX PCES WERE VERY SMALL WORKS.

I WANTED TO HAVE JUST ONLY BEESWAX,

BUT THEN, OF COURSE, IT'S NOT STABLE REALLY.

IT'S NOT AN EASY, PRACTICAL THING TO DO.

I WORK FROM THE INSIDE, AND SOMEHOW,

I HAD TO HAVE MY HEAD INSIDE THESE SMALL PCES,

AND I REMEMBER THIS EXPERIENCE

OF JUST HAVING ONLY YOUR HEAD INSIDE.

WHAT AN INCREDIBLE EXPERIENCE THIS WAS,

AND I HAD REALLY THE IDEA TO MAKE A SPACE

WHICH NOT ONLY YOUR HEAD IS INSIDE

THAT YOUR BODY IS INSIDE,

JUST SURROUNDED BY BEESWAX AND NOTHING ELSE.

THE BEGINNING OF THE BEESWAX SPACES I MADE

WERE FOR EXHIBITIONS.

SO IT'S A DIFFERENT TECHNIQUE

WHERE I MADE SLABS WHICH YOU CAN INSTALL.

THE ONE WHICH I MADE NOW AT THE PHILLIPS,

THEY CAN BE PERMANENT,

SO I PUT THE WAX DIRECTLY ON THE WALL,

AND IT'S LIKE ONE PCE,

AND YOU CANNOT REMOVE IT.

MY SMALLEST WAX ROOM I EVER MADE.

SO IT'S A MORE INTENSE EXPERIENCE.

THE AROMA OF THE BEESWAX HAS A DEEP FEELING.

IT'S LIKE GOING INTO A CAVE OR GOING INTO ANOTHER WORLD.

IF THE BEESWAX IS IN THE DARK,

IT DOESN'T HAVE THIS GOLDEN GLOW,

AND IT'S A VERY SIMPLE WAY OF HAVING THIS GOLDEN GLOW,

WITH JUST A SIMPLE LIGHT BULB,

BECAUSE THAT GIVES THIS éLOWISH LIGHT

ON THE BEESWAX,

WHICH HAS A CONNECTION TO THE MEDIEVAL PAINTINGS,

THE GOLDEN BACKGROUND.

I BEGAN THESE WORKS IN THIS SMALL VILLAGE

IN SOUTHERN GERMANY FOR MYSELF.

I WAS LIKE 27 OR SO,

AND I HAD THE FIRST POLLEN JARS.

I HAD THE FIRST MILKSTONES.

I FELT THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN THE WORLD.

THIS WILL CHANGE THE WORLD.

I WAS EXTREMELY NAIVE.

I HAD THIS STRIVE TO SHOW THIS AS SOON AS POSSIBLE

TO AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE IN THE WORLD.

[indistinct chatter]

MY IDEA OF EXHIBITIONS IN SHOWING THIS

WAS ABOUT THIS.

I FELT THIS IS THE ESSENCE OF LIFE

AND THIS IS SOMETHING WHICH HOLDS THE WORLD TOGETHER.

AND IT WAS NOT ABOUT BECOMING A FAMOUS ARTIST.

IT WAS REALLY, I FELT,

THIS IS WHAT I SEARCHED IN MEDICINE

AND SOMEHOW I DID NOT FIND IT IN THE MEDICAL SCIENCE.

I FEEL I NEVER CHANGED MY PROFESSION.

I DID WITH THESE THINGS

WHAT I WANTED TO DO AS A DOCTOR.

[indistinct chatter]

- THE STRATEGY OF THE IMMIGRANT MOVEMENT PROJECT

IS TO OPEN THE DOOR TO THINGS YOU ALREADY KNOW.

SO BY YOU COMING INTO SOMETHING YOU ALREADY KNOW,

YOU FEEL THAT YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT'S GOING ON

AND THEN, AFTER, WALK YOU

TOWARDS OTHER PLACES YOU DON'T KNOW.

[indistinct chatter in Spanish]

FOR ME, THE MOST IMPORTANT MOMENT FOR AN ART PCE

IS WHEN PEOPLE ARE NOT SURE IF IT'S ART OR NOT,

AND THIS IS THE MOST, FOR ME, PRODUCTIVE MOMENT.

[lively folk music]

I AM AN ARTIST,

AND I NEED TO DEFEND THAT

BECAUSE I'M GOING BEYOND ART,

BECAUSE I'M TRYING TO DO THINGS THAT ARE NOT BEING SEEN AS ART.

AS A POLITICAL ARTIST,

I ALWAYS WANT MY WORK TO HAVE REAL CONSEQUENCES.

THE MAJOR GOAL OF IMMIGRANT MOVEMENT

AT THE BEGINNING WAS TO RETHINK

THE POLITICAL REPRESENTATION OF IMMIGRANTS.

WHY?

BECAUSE ONCE YOU BECOME AN IMMIGRANT,

THE FIRST THING THAT IS TAKEN FROM YOU

IS THE OPPORTUNITY TO TALK ABOUT POLITICS

AND TO TALK ABOUT YOURSELF AS A POLITICAL BEING.

[upbeat string music]

- WHOO!

- I FEEL THAT I NEEDED TO DO AN IMMIGRANT MOVEMENT

IN THE UNITED STATES BECAUSE WHEN YOU SAY,

"WHERE DO YOU WANT TO LIVE?" TO ANYBODY IN THE WORLD,

THEY SAY, "UNITED STATES."

[energetic music]

[man singing in foreign language]

THE PEOPLE IN IMMIGRANT MOVEMENT

ARE USING ART TO EMPOWER THEMSELVES

AND TO CHANGE AS PEOPLE AND TO CHANGE AS HUMAN BEINGS.

[speaking Spanish]

[train rattling]

[speaking Spanish]

[train rattling continues]

IMMIGRANT MOVEMENT HAS BEEN VERY DIFFERENT

FROM OTHER PROJECTS.

- OKAY, THIS HORSE IS GONNA TURN AROUND...

- FOR OTHER PCES, I HAVE OPENED DIFFERENT DOORS.

THE WHOLE IDEA OF THE SERIES OF TATLIN'S WHISPER

CAME OUT OF UNCOMFORTABLE FEELING

I HAD WITH THE NEWS.

THE FACT THAT AS VIEWERS OF THE NEWS,

WE ARE IN A WAY ANESTHETIZED BY SOME OF THE ISSUES.

I HAD OTHER SERIES,

BUT THE TWO PCES THAT SURVIVE

ARE TATLIN'S WHISPER 5 AND TATLIN'S WHISPER 6,

AND IN THE FIRST ONE,

I WANTED TO BRING THE MOUNTED POLICE

AND ASK THEM TO DO THEIR NORMAL JOB,

BUT INSTEAD OF DOING IT WITH PROTESTORS,

DOING IT WITH PEOPLE IN THE MUSEUM.

- ARE THESE YOUR CHILDREN? - YES.

- COULD THEY STAND WITH DAD OR WITH MOM?

THAT'S IT, SO THEY'RE NOT TOO CLOSE.

THAT'S LOVELY. WELL DONE.

OKAY, THE HORSE IS NOW GONNA WALK FORWARD.

COULD YOU JUST STAND ASIDE, PLEASE?

THAT'S LOVELY. THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

JUST WAIT THERE TILL...

- I ALWAYS FELT IT WAS TOO EASY

TO LOOK AT THE NEWS OF SOMETHING HAPPENING SOMEWHERE ELSE

AND JUST SIT AND CHANGE THE CHANNEL.

AND I WANTED PEOPLE TO UNDERSTAND,

WHEN YOU HAVE THE POLICE COMING WITH A HORSE

TOWARDS YOU AND TELLING YOU,

"GO THERE; GO THERE,"

HOW THAT FEELS.

- [speaking indistinctly]

- SO I THINK IT WAS VERY INTERESTING

WHEN YOU STAGE REPRESSION,

KNOWING THAT WHAT YOU'RE DOING

ACTUALLY IS PROTECTING PEOPLE.

THE SECOND ONE, TATLIN'S WHISPER 236,

IS A PCE WHERE I USE ALL THE THEATRICS,

THE SPECTACLE OF A POLITICAL EVENT IN CUBA,

WHICH IS MAINLY THE PODIUM

AND A VERY SIMPLE MOMENT OF THE EXPECTATION OF A SPEECH,

AND ALSO, IT WAS INTERESTING THAT AT THAT POINT,

FIDEL HAD DISAPPEARED FROM THE NEWS

BUT IS SOMEBODY THAT WE FELT THE EMPTINESS OF THE LEADERSHIP.

EVEN IF THE BROTHER HAS CAME IN,

HE HAD NOT DONE ENOUGH CHANGES YET OR ENOUGH PRESENCE,

SO THE PCE WORK IN TWO WAY.

IT CAN BE A MONUMENT TO THE ABSENCE OF A LEADER,

OR IF PEOPLE INTERVENE,

IT CAN BE ACTUALLY A PERFORMANCE PCE

WHERE THEY EXERCISE THEIR RIGHT TO SAY THINGS.

YOU HAVE THE PODIUM, THE MICROPHONES,

AND YOU HAVE TWO PEOPLE DRESSED WITH MILITARY OUTFITS.

ONCE EVERYBODY WAS THERE,

WE GAVE 200 DISPOSABLE CAMERAS,

AND WE ANNOUNCED THAT ANYBODY CAN SAY WHATEVER THEY WANTED

FOR ONE MINUTE.

- [speaking Spanish]

- [speaking Spanish]

- [speaking Spanish]

- [screaming]

- AFTER ONE MINUTE PASSED,

WHATEVER WAS HAPPENING, THEY REMOVED THE PERSON.

- [speaking Spanish]

- THAT PCE, I LIKE A LOT,

IN PART BECAUSE, FOR THE FIRST TIME,

I WAS ABLE TO FREEZE POWER.

IT WAS REALLY SATISFYING TO NOT HAVING ANYBODY AFTER

BEING, LIKE, INCARCERATED,

OR, YOU KNOW, THERE IS ALWAYS SOME REPERCUSSION.

THEY TALK TO ME, WHATEVER, BUT

BUT I FEEL LIKE IT WAS WELL DONE,

YOU KNOW, IN THE SENSE OF, LIKE, VERY CONTROLLED.

MY CHILDHOOD WAS A LITTLE DIFFERENT

FROM OTHER CUBAN KIDS

BECAUSE MY FATHER WAS A DIPLOMAT,

SO I WAS TRAVELING AROUND THE WORLD,

WHEN IN CUBA, I WAS NOT PERMITTED TO TRAVEL.

BECAUSE MY PARENTS REPRESENTED THE COUNTRY,

I WAS WITNESSING ALL THIS PROPAGANDA.

AND WHEN I WAS 12, EVERYTHING CHANGED

BECAUSE MY PARENT DIVORCED

AND I STARTED LIVING THE REALITY OF CUBA.

I THINK ONCE I HAD A NORMAL LIFE

IN THE CUBAN REALITY,

I STARTED SEEING THE DISTANCE

BETWEEN THE PROMISES AND THE ACCOMPLISHMENT.

I STILL BELIEVE IN A DREAM.

AND AS AN ARTIST,

I FEEL THAT EVERYTHING THAT I HAVE BEEN TRYING TO DO

IS TRYING TO KIND OF FORCE OR REDIRECT REALITY

TOWARDS THE DREAM,

BUT WITH THE KNOWLEDGE THAT PROPAGANDA

IS DIFFERENT THAN REALITY,

AND TRYING TO, IN A WAY,

PUSH PEOPLE TO BE REALISTIC ABOUT THE GOAL

AND ABOUT THE POLITICAL MEANS

INSTEAD OF PRESENTING US WITH JUST A DREAM.

I AM COMMITTED TO BE A CUBAN.

I AM COMMITTED BE IN CUBA AND TO WORK IN CUBA.

WHEN I DO WORK ABOUT CUBA, I DO IT IN CUBA,

BECAUSE THIS IS WHOM I WANT TO TALK TO

ABOUT THOSE ISSUES.

DISPLACEMENT...

IT WAS A PCE THAT WAS DONE ORIGINALLY

THE DAY OF FIDEL'S BIRTHDAY.

I DECIDED TO DO THIS PCE

WHERE I DRESS AS A NKISI NKONDI,

WHICH IS A FIGURE FROM CONGO.

PEOPLE CAN ASK FOR SOMETHING

AND EACH NAIL IS ONE WISH,

BUT YOU HAVE TO GIVE SOMETHING BACK.

LIKE, OKAY, IF YOU IF YOU GIVE ME THIS,

I WILL DO THIS FOR YOU.

I WILL BRING FLOWERS OR CUT MY HAIR OR WHATEVER.

IF YOU DON'T GIVE BACK THE PROMISE TO THE NKISI,

IT WILL GO AFTER YOU, YOU KNOW, AND PUNISH YOU SEVERELY.

SO THAT'S WHY PEOPLE ARE AFRAID OF IT.

SO WHAT HAPPENED IS, LIKE, I DRESS LIKE THAT,

AND I WAS INAS IN A SCULPTURE IN THEIN THE GALLERY,

AND THEN I "WOKE UP" AND WENT TO THE STREETS.

AND IT WAS BEAUTIFUL BECAUSE IT WAS THE FIRST TIME

I WENT OUT TO THE STREET AS A PERFORMER,

AND I WAS A LITTLE NERVOUS BECAUSE I WAS THINKING,

"PEOPLE MIGHT BE, 'WHAT THE HELL IS THIS?

LIKE, IT'S NOT CARNIVAL TIME, YOU KNOW?'"

THE PCE WAS ABOUT ALL THE THINGS THAT WERE PROMISED

DURING THE REVOLUTION THAT WERE NOT BEING FULFILLED

AND THAT WE'RE STILL WAITING FOR THEM.

AT ONE POINT, A POLICEMAN CAME AND SAID,

"WHAT'S GOING ON?"

BECAUSE WE'RE NOT SUPPOSED TO DO THAT

IN THE STREET THAT DAY,

WHEREVER, FOR THAT MATTER, BUT...

AND THEN A KID WAS SAYING, "NO, IT IS A ART WORK,"

BECAUSE HE WAS HEARING SOMETHINGPEOPLE TALKING.

THERE WERE PEOPLE FROM THE ARTS AS WELL.

AND THE POLICEMAN WAS QUIET,

AND I COULDN'T SEE IT, BUT I COULD HEAR HE WAS IN THE

HE WAS QUIET. THEN HE SAID, "OH, OKAY, OKAY.

PROCEED. PROCEED."

AND THAT WAS THE EXACT MOMENT WHEN I REALIZED

THAT ART CAN GO PLACES OTHER PEOPLE CANNOT GO.

- [speaking Spanish]

[both speaking Spanish]

- OKAY.

ALL BUSINESS.

IT'S, LIKE, FUN BUSINESS, TANIA.

- I KNOW. I HAVE TO LEARN THAT PART.

[people speaking Spanish]

- AND REMEMBER YOU HAD THOSE LITTLE WOOD CHIPS, BRANDON,

SO YOU HAVE TO PUT A LOT OF PRESSURE.

- I SEE THE ROLE OF THE ARTIST

AS SOMEBODY THAT CAN PROPOSE THINGS,

WHETHER THAT BE CREATING AN ENVIRONMENT

FOR SOMETHING TO HAPPEN,

OR WILL THAT BE GIVING THE TOOLS TO PEOPLE

TO DO CERTAIN ACTIVITIES ON THEIR OWN?

AND THAT'S THE ROLE I THINK WE HAVE NOW,

SHOWING PEOPLE THIS IS WHAT WE CAN DO,

THESE ARE THE TOOLS.

TAKE IT.

THE VAN ABBEMUSUEM INVITED ME TO DO A SOLO SHOW.

AND AFTER THINKING,

I REALIZED THAT IT WAS THE BEST PLACE

TO BRING ARTE UTIL TO A MUSEUM

AND USE THE OPPORTUNITY TO BE IN A MUSEUM

TO DO MULTIPLE THINGS.

WHAT IS THE USE OF A MUSEUM IN THE 21ST CENTURY?

AND CHALLENGE ALSO THE IDEA OF A SPECTATORSHIP.

HOW CAN YOU ELIMINATE A SPECTATOR FROM A MUSEUM?

ALL OF THESE IDEAS CAME TOGETHER,

AND THEN I DECIDED TO CREATE

WHAT I CALL THE MUSEUM OF ARTE UTIL.

WE HAVE SO MUCH TO COVER.

IT WAS, LIKE, IMPOSSIBLE,

SO WE DECIDED TO CREATE A FOCUS

ON THE IDEA OF THE ARCHIVE.

- WHEN TANIA CAME UP WITH THIS IDEA

OF MAKING A MUSEUM OF ARTE UTIL,

IT IMMEDIATELY BROUGHT UP THE QUESTION,

WHAT DO MUSEUMS DO?

DO THEY MAKE HISTORY?

DO THEY BRAND A MOVEMENT?

ARE THEY THE AUTHORITATIVE VOICE THAT SAYS,

"THIS IS MINIMALISM.

"THIS IS PERFORMANCE ART.

THIS IS ARTE UTIL."

SO WE THOUGHT, "OKAY, HOW WOULD WE DO THAT?

HOW WOULD WE GATHER TOGETHER THIS ARCHIVE?"

- THE FACT THAT WE CALL IT ARTE UTIL,

THE INTENTION WAS TO BE IN SPANISH.

THE WORD "UTIL" IN SPANISH HAS TWO CONNOTATIONS,

WHERE IN ENGLISH IS ONLY ONE.

THE TWO CONNOTATIONS ARE

THE BENEFIT YOU CAN GET OUT OF SOMETHING,

YOU KNOW, SOMETHING THAT CAN BE USEFUL TO YOU.

"UTIL" IS ALSO A TOOL.

[speaking Spanish] UN UTIL DE TRABAJO

IS A TOOL, A WORKING TOOL.

- YOU SAW THAT FACADE OUTSIDE,

AND THIS WALL CUTS THROUGH ALL OF THE SPACES.

IT SEEMED NECESSARY TO US TO BREAK WITH THE PATTERN

OF THE WHITE CUBE.

IT'S TOTALLY A THEATRICAL DEVICE,

CONTRADICTION NUMBER ONE IN THE SHOW,

BECAUSE WE KIND OF REALLY TRIED TO AVOID METAPHOR SYMBOLS

IN OUR SELECTION OF WORKS.

WE TRIED TO THINK ABOUT A PRACTICE OF ART HISTORY

THAT IS NOT ABOUT THE METAPHOR.

IT'S RATHER ABOUT GENERATING A KIND OF ENGAGEMENT

THAT NEEDS A USER AND AN INITIATOR.

- TO DO THIS PROJECT WAS A TEAM EFFORT.

I WANTED THE PROJECT TO GROW NATURALLY.

I DIDN'T WANT TO COME AND IMPOSE AN IDEA.

FOR ME, IT WAS VERY IMPORTANT,

FROM THE BEGINNING AS AN ARTIST,

I SHOULD NOT BE THE AUTHOR OF THE PROJECT

BUT THE INITIATOR,

WHICH IS ONE OF THE CATEGORIES WE USE ABOUT ARTE UTIL.

- WE HAD LAURIE JO REYNOLDS

ON A RESIDENCY HERE WITH HER CATS,

CONTAINED IN THE TENTS MOST OF THE TIME.

BUT SHE IS AN EXTRAORDINARY ARTIST

WHO CAMPAIGNED FOR TEN YEARS

TO CLOSE DOWN A HIGH SECURITY SUPERMAX PRISON IN THE STATES.

HER WORK HAS BEEN ARCHIVED OVER THE LAST SIX WEEKS

HERE IN THE MUSEUM.

SHE JUST LEFT YESTERDAY.

THE BIGGEST PROJECT HERE IS THE HONEST SHOP.

THIS SHOP WORKS IN A REALLY SUCCESSFUL WAY IN BRITAIN.

THE SHOP HAS NOBODY RUNNING IT EXCEPT FOR THE PARTICIPANTS.

ANYBODY WHO WANTS TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE SHOP,

THERE'S A SERIES OF RULES.

THEY HAVE TO BE AMATEUR, CREATIVE PEOPLE,

SO THEY CANNOT BE PROFESSIONAL ARTISTS

OR PROFESSIONAL DESIGNERS

THINGS THAT YOU FEEL THAT ARE KIND OF CREATIVE

AND THAT YOU DO AS AN AMATEUR HOBBY

THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO SELL.

all: ♪ GREEN HILLS, I LIKE THE FIRESTONE ♪

♪ I LIKE TO WALK ALONE

♪ DO, WAKA, DO, WAKA

♪ DO, WAKA, DO, WAKA

♪ I LIKE THE FLOWERS

♪ I LIKE THE DAFFODILS

♪ I LIKE THE MOUNTAINS

♪ I LIKE THE GREEN HILLS

♪ I LIKE THE FIRESTONE

♪ I LIKE TO WALK ALONE

[train rattling]

- I'VE VERY HAPPY THAT IMMIGRANT MOVEMENT

HAS HAPPENED AND IS WORKING VERY NICELY.

I THINK THE CULTURE OF THE PLACE HAS BEEN ESTABLISHED.

THE PRINCIPALS OF THE PROJECT HAVE BEEN ESTABLISHED.

- [speaking Spanish]

- ONCE WE GAVE THE PROJECT TO THE COMMUNITY,

THE PROJECT DOESN'T NEED ME,

WHICH I'M VERY HAPPY WITH,

BECAUSE I THINK PART OF OF THE HOMEWORK

THAT SOCIALLY ENGAGED ART HAS TOHAVE TO DO

IS TRY TO RETHINK THE WAY IN WHICH THE PROJECT SURVIVE

BEYOND THE ARTIST'S PRESENCE.

- [speaking Spanish]

[children speaking indistinctly]

- I DON'T SEE SOCIALLY ENGAGED ART

BEING PRESERVED BY THREE PHOTOS AND A VIDEO IN A MUSEUM.

I SEE REAL GOOD SOCIALLY ENGAGED ART

AND POLITICAL ART

LIVE BEYOND THE LIFE THAT THE ARTIST HAS GIVEN IT

BY BEING TAKEN BY OTHER PEOPLE

WHO ARE REPRODUCING THE MODELS,

CHANGING THOSE MODELS,

BEING INSPIRED BY THAT.

- WHOO! COME ON.

[men singing in Spanish]

[speaking Spanish]

[men singing in Spanish]

[speaking Spanish]

- THE ART THAT WE SHOULD BE DOING TODAY

IN THE 21ST CENTURY IS ART THAT IS NOT FOR THE MUSEUM.

IT'S ART FOR THE STREET AND PEOPLE'S LIFE.

[metallic tapping]

- I WENT TO THE STREETS IN PARIS

LOOKING FOR MATERIALS FROM DEMOLITIONS.

I WAS VERY INTERESTED IN ANTONIN ARTAUD,

THE FRENCH POET, SINCE I WAS A TEENAGER.

[clattering]

FOR THIS PROJECT IN PARIS,

I DECIDED TO APPROACH HIM AGAIN.

I LIKE THAT HE CONSTANTLY LOOKS

FOR A TRANSFORMATION OF LANGUAGE.

THIS IS ARTAUD'S MAP OF PARIS,

AND I MADE SOME LINES

FOR DESCRIBING POSSIBLE PATHS BETWEEN POINTS,

POINTS THAT REPRESENT THE MIND OF ARTAUD.

[engine revving]

FOR THIS EXHIBITION, I WENT TO THE STREETS OF PARIS,

AND THEN I USED ARTAUD'S MAP OF PARIS

TO MAKE SCULPTURES IN THE SPOTS WHERE HE USED TO GO

TO VISIT FRIENDS OR TO HAVE A DRINK.

AND I MADE SCULPTURES IN THE PLACE

WITH THE MATERIALS FROM THE PLACE,

AND I LEFT THE SCULPTURE IN THE PLACE.

THERE SHOULD BE NO IMAGE OF THE WORK I MADE,

AND THERE IS ONLY AN IMAGE OF THE PLACE WHERE I MADE IT.

IT WAS A BIG EXPERIMENT FOR ME,

IN A WAY, TRYING TO DESTROY MY OWN WAY OF MAKING WORKS.

[pounding]

IN THIS PROJECT, I TRIED TO MAKE THE REFERENCES

AND THE LINKS TO ARTAUD BUT NOT IN A DIDACTIC WAY.

THIS BIG PCE THAT I MADE WITH WOOD,

I WOULD CALL IT A NECKLACE,

BUT IT'S NOT, OF COURSE.

AT THE BEGINNING, I THINK IT WILL LOOK

LIKE SOMEBODY FORGOT TO FINISH THE WORK,

UNTIL MAYBE YOU DISCOVER

THAT THERE IS SOMETHING THAT JOINS EVERYTHING TOGETHER.

THERE IS ANOTHER WORK THAT I DID, A VIDEO.

I MADE IT IN 2008 HERE IS PARIS,

AND THAT WAS THE MOMENT WHEN WE LEFT PARIS.

WE LIVED HERE THREE YEARS AND A HALF.

IT'S MYSELF RUNNING.

LIVING HERE BUT NOT REALLY BEING FROM HERE

AND THEN ESCAPING FROM HERE

BUT, IN FACT, RUNNING FROM MYSELF.

THE VERY ORIGIN OF AUTOCONSTRUCCIONAS A CONCEPT

IS RELATED TO PEOPLE MAKING THEIR HOUSES AS THEY CAN.

IT'S NOT LIKE A METHOD OR TECHNIQUE OR STYLE,

BUT IT'S MORE LIKE ABOUT THE SOCIAL CIRCUMSTANCE

AND THE POLITICAL CIRCUMSTANCE.

PEOPLE HAVE NO MONEY

TO BUY AN APARTMENT OR A HOUSE AT ONCE.

MY FATHER CAME TO THIS LAND IN THE MID-'60s

AFTER AN INVITATION OF ONE OF HIS RELATIVES.

ONE OF HIS COUSINS TOLD HIM,

"THERE IS THIS LAND THERE.

NOBODY'S USING IT BECAUSE IT'S SO HARSH."

AND HIS COUSIN SOLD HIM A PCE OF LAND

AND EVEN WHEN IT IT WAS NOT FOR SALE.

THERE WAS NOTHING BUT ROCKS,

SO HE STARTED SOMETHING OUT OF NOTHING.

WITH THE COMMUNITY,

THEY STARTED HELPING EACH OTHER TO CONSTRUCT THEIR HOUSES,

AND, OF COURSE, THEY HAD NO IDEA OF ARCHITECTURE

OR CONSTRUCTION EVEN.

THEY WERE JUST IMPROVISING WITH THE MATERIALS THEY FOUND.

THIS WAS A BIG PATIO.

THERE WAS A KITCHEN THERE.

THERE WAS THE BEDROOMS OVER THERE,

AND THEN THE ENTRANCE

LIKE, THERE WAS A FENCE, A WOODEN FENCE.

THERE WAS NO PROPER STREET.

IT WAS ONLY LOOSENED EARTH OR ROCKS.

THE EXHIBITION AT THE WALKER

IS NOT CONCEIVED AS A RETROSPECTIVE.

IT'S MORE LIKE A SELECTION OF WORKS

THAT ARE RELATED TO THIS IDEA OF AUTOCONSTRUCCION.

THEY HAVE IN COMMON, I THINK, THE WILL OF LEARNING.

AND I THINK IT'S BEEN ALWAYS THERE IN MY WORK,

THIS NECESSITY OF UNDERSTANDING.

UNDERSTANDING OR DEALING WITH THE CONCEPT

AUTOCONSTRUCCIONIS

IT'S ALSO HARD IN SPANISH, I WOULD SAY.

THIS IS A WORK I CALL

AUTOCONSTRUCCION: THE RESOURCE ROOM

IN WHICH THERE IS REFERENCES,

LIKE THE HISTORY OF MEXICO,

IMMIGRATION TO THE CITY.

IT'S A SCULPTURE THAT IS GROWING.

IT'S ALIVE WHEN PEOPLE USE IT.

THERE'S LOTS OF PICTURES OF MY NEIGHBORHOOD

FROM FAMILY ARCHIVES.

THERE IS ALSO SOME SILK SCREENS THAT I MADE.

THEY ARE COPIES OF ORIGINAL PAMPHLETS

AND FLIERS AND POSTERS FROM POLITICAL MOVEMENTS

IN LATIN AMERICA FROM 1968 TO NOW.

I LIKE THAT IT'S MORE LIKE A DIDACTIC DEVICE.

PEOPLE CAN UNDERSTAND MORE ABOUT THE CONTEXT

OF MY AUTOCONSTRUCCIONCONCEPT,

THINGS THAT ARE NOT NECESSARILY RELATED TO AUTOCONSTRUCCION,

BUT IN MY MIND, THEY WERE IMPORTANT FOR ME

IN MY EDUCATION AND MY CONFIGURATION

OF THE CONCEPT OF AUTOCONSTRUCCION.

[dog barking]

- [speaking foreign language]

- OKAY.

- [speaking foreign language]

- [speaking indistinctly]

MY MOTHER IS THE DAUGHTER OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLE.

THEY LIVED IN A VERY POOR ENVIRONMENT

NEAR TACUBAYA IN MEXICO CITY,

SO IT WAS NOT NEW FOR HER FACING PROBLEMS,

BUT ALSO, IT WAS WORSE.

- [speaking foreign language]

- SHE HAD TO TRANSFORM HERSELF, VOLUNTARILY OR NOT,

AND THEN SHE BECAME AN ACTIVIST,

AND THEN SHE BECAME A STRONGER WOMAN

AND A GREAT EXAMPLE FOR ALL OF US,

NOT ONLY MY FAMILY, BUT THE NEIGHBORS AS WELL.

WITH OTHER WOMEN,

THEY BECAME ORGANIZERS OF THE PEOPLE,

DEMANDING THE SERVICES,

LIKE ASKING FOR WATER OR SEWAGE OR ELECTRICITY.

AND AS A CHILD, I WITNESSED THIS TRANSFORMATION.

SO THE HOUSE, FOR ME, IS IMPORTANT BECAUSE OF THAT.

IT'S NOT ONLY THE FORMAL APPEARANCE

OR THE SHAPES IT TOOK IN TIME ACCORDING TO SPECIFIC NEEDS

BUT ALSO ACCORDING TO THE TRANSFORMATION

OF AN IDEOLOGY.

THIS WORK IS COMPOSED BY A COUPLE OF VIDEOS.

I MADE INTERVIEWS WITH MY PARENTS SEPARATELY

SO THEY COULD GIVE THEIR OWN TALE

ABOUT THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE HOUSE.

THEY HAD CONTRADICTORY PERCEPTIONS OF REALITY.

WHEN I WAS A CHILD, THAT WAS MY PERCEPTION,

OF BEING IN BETWEEN THESE TWO NOISY THINGS, YOU KNOW.

[chuckles]

[both speaking foreign language]

MY FATHER, HE'S DEAD NOW.

I THINK HIS PERCEPTION OF REALITY

WAS PRAGMATIC IN MANY WAYS,

LOOKING AT THE LANDSCAPE

AND DESCRIBING THE PLANTS AND THE ROCKS AS SOMETHING NICE,

AND I THINK I IDENTIFY MYSELF WITH HIM.

I LOOK AT THINGS VERY MUCH LIKE HIM.

AND MY MOTHER IS MORE ABOUT THE STRUGGLE,

THE FIGHT, THE CORRUPTION OF THE GOVERNMENT, POVERTY.

[both speaking foreign language]

I GREW UP WITH THIS KIND

OF CONTRADICTORY VERSION OF REALITY,

AND I LIKE THAT VERY MUCH,

AND I ACCEPT THE CONTRADICTION AS MYSELF,

AS PART OF MY IDENTITY,

AND I'VE BEEN THINKING MORE AND MORE ABOUT THIS

AS AN ELEMENT OF MY WORK AS WELL,

THAT I'MI'MI'M COMPOSED

WITH CONTRADICTORY AND UNSTABLE ELEMENTS.

THIS SPACE, WE CALL IT EL TALLER,

BECAUSE MY FATHER USED TO PAINT HERE

AND TO READ AND TO LISTEN TO MUSIC,

AND EVEN WHEN HE STOPPED MAKING PAINTINGS AND SCULPTURES,

WE KEPT CALLING IT EL TALLER.

SO IN A WAY, IT WAS THE HEART OF THE HOUSE.

HE LIVED WITH THE FRANCISCAN PEOPLE.

HE WENT THERE, NOT AN ORPHAN,

BUT AS THE SON OF A SINGLE MOTHER.

AND THEN MY GRANDMOTHER TOOK HIM AS A CHILD THERE.

HE TOOK THE HABITS OF THE MONK,

AND HE LEARNED TO PLAY MANY INSTRUMENTS AND TO PAINT,

AND TO ALL THE THINGS HE KNEW,

HE LEARNED IT WITH THE FRANCISCAN PEOPLE.

I GREW UP AS A CATHOLIC, BUT I'M NOT ANYMORE.

ANDBUT I UNDERSTAND,

I THINK I UNDERSTOOD THIS

THIS ESSENCE OF CHRISTIANISM IN LOVE.

HE LOVED RELIGION LIKE HE LOVED GOD

AND THE PRESENCE OF GOD IN EVERYTHING.

AND I THINK THAT'S WHY I ALSO TOOK

THIS SORT OF ANIMISM IN MY WORK.

I ASSOCIATE IT WITH OTHER WAYS OF THINKING,

LIKE TAOISM.

I THINK HE HAD SOME REASONS TO LEAVE THETHE ORDER,

BUT HE LOVEDHE LOVES

I MEAN, I THINK, WHEREVER HE IS,

HE LOVES FRANCISCO AND THE LIFE HE HAD.

MY MOTHER KEEPS SOME OF THE OBJECTS MY FATHER DID.

HE WAS MORE LIKE A COMMERCIAL PAINTER.

HE MADE, LIKE, HUNDREDS OF THESE PAINTINGS,

VERY SIMILAR, IF NOT THE SAME.

HE WASN'T REALLY TRYING TO FOLLOW

ANY TREND OR STYLE OR ANYTHING

BUT MORE LIKE TO PRODUCE OBJECTS

TO SELL TO GET AN INCOME.

AND THAT WALL, THERE IS A PORTRAIT OF MY MOTHER

IN THE '60s.

I THINK THEY HAVE THE SAME SHAPE, YOU KNOW,

THE MUSHROOMS AND THE HAIRDO.

[chuckles]

WORKS I DID IN THE EARLY '90s,

LIKE USING MY FATHER'S PAINTINGS,

AND SO ONE OF THESE WORKS IS INCLUDED IN THE SHOW.

IT'S CALLED OBJETO UTIL PERO BONITO.

IT USES ONE OF THE HANDRAILS IN A PAINTING BY MY FATHER.

THAT WORK, FOR ME, IS IMPORTANT

IN TERMS OF UNDERSTANDING MY OWN IDENTITY AND MY CONTEXT,

AND IN A WAY, I WAS TRYING TO PUT

EVERY OBJECT POSSIBLE IN MY WORK.

IT WAS LIKE SAYING,

"EVERYTHING IN THE WORLD IS ALIVE,

"AND EVERYTHING CAN GO TOGETHER,

LIKE BEING TOGETHER,"

AND AS A METAPHOR FOR COMMUNITY AS WELL.

HERE, THE STAIRS, YOU CAN SEE THEY CHANGE

BECAUSE IT'S FOR THE WHEELCHAIR HERE.

AND THEN THE SHAPE, I LIKE IT VERY MUCH.

I THINK OF IT AS A SCULPTURE AS WELL.

BUT THIS IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE SCULPTURES OF THE HOUSE,

WHICH IS THIS KIND OF GROOVE

MADE BY THE WHEEL OF THE WHEELCHAIR,

SO IT WAS CARVED IN TIME, FOR MANY, MANY YEARS,

BY MY FATHER'S USE.

AND THEN BECAUSE OF THIS,

I ARRIVED TO THE CONSCIOUSNESS OR THE AWARENESS

OF THE AUTOCONSTRUCCION AS A...

AN ENGINE FOR MY WORK,

AS SOMETHING THAT WAS IN MY SOUL AND IN MY MIND,

BUT I DIDN'T KNOW.

AND THEN SUDDENLYIT'S NOT THAT ONE NIGHT I UNDERSTOOD,

BUT SLOWLY, I UNDERSTOOD THAT THERE WAS SOMETHING,

A STRONG INFLUENCE OF MY CONTEXT

IN THE ART I WAS MAKING.

[sighs]

SOMETIMES I JUST PLAY WITH THE MATERIALS,

FINDING COMBINATIONS...

[pounding]

JUST TAKING WHATEVER IS AT HAND, NOT REALLY CHOOSING,

BUT THINKING THAT ANY ELEMENT CAN BE USED.

AND I THINK THIS IS IMPORTANT

BECAUSE IT'S NOT ABOUT, LIKE, CHOOSING

BECAUSE IT LOOKS BETTER OR NOT...

THAT IT CAN WORK IN THIS COMMUNITY OF THINGS.

[coughs]

THINGS, THEY SPEAK.

[clanging]

I TRY TO FIND THE BALANCE AMONG THEM.

IN A WAY, I'M MAKING A SELF-PORTRAIT.

CONSTANTLY, I MAKE SCULPTURES THAT ARE ABOUT TO COLLAPSE.

THEY ARE NOT TECHNICALLY OKAY.

FOR INSTANCE, A COLLECTOR,

IF THEY WANT TO COLLECT SOMETHING LIKE THAT

OR KEEP THEM IN THEIR COLLECTION,

THEY KEEP A PROBLEM.

IT'S SOMETHING THAT YOU HAVE TO PROTECT FROM ITSELF.

THIS ONE, I CANNOT LEAVE IT HERE

BECAUSE IT'S ACROSS THE DOOR,

AND I HAVE TO CLOSE THE DOOR,

AND IT'S BECAUSE THERE IS A LARGE ELEMENT

THAT CANNOT FIT IN THE STUDIO.

I WOULD LOVE TO LEAVE IT LIKE THAT

AND SHOW IT LIKE THIS IN A MUSEUM IF POSSIBLE,

LIKE STOPPING THE DOOR,

YOU KNOW, LIKE, WHEN YOU USE A SHOE TO STOP THE DOOR,

LIKE USING SOMETHING, LIKE A TOOL, YOU KNOW?

MATERIALS HAVE DIFFERENT ORIGINS.

THIS IS DRY MEAT.

THIS IS A PCE OF PLANT POT.

THIS IS THE ONE LEG FROM A GRILL.

THIS WOOD FROM BEAMS FROM THE HOUSE

THAT I RENOVATED RECENTLY,

SO MATERIALS I USE FROM THE DEMOLITION,

SO THEY HAVE A PROPER HISTORY OF THEIR OWN,

A LONG EXPERIENCE.

THIS WOOD IS

IT'S LIKE FROM LATE 19TH CENTURY,

SO IT HAS LOTS OF THINGS TO SAY.

BUT THERE ARE THINGS THAT ARE JUST NEW, LIKE THESE,

THAT ARE MAYBE TASTELESS OR THEY MEAN NOTHING,

BUT AT THE END, EVERYTHING WORKS VERY WELL TOGETHER,

AND I LIKE TO USE, LIKE, THESE BOTTLE CAPS

FROM BEER THAT I DRINK WITH FRIENDS.

THIS IS FROM MY NEW PANTS

THAT I BOUGHT IN NEW YORK LAST TIME,

BUT THEY ARE TOO LONG BECAUSE I'M NOT AMERICAN SIZE,

SO IT'S ALWAYS LIKE TRYING TO FIND,

LIKE, EXTRA LARGE CLOTHES FOR MY BELLY,

BUT I HAVE TO CUT A LOT OF THE LEGS,

SO THIS ISTHIS IS, UH

YEAH, THEYI DON'T KNOW.

THERE'S NO REAL PARTICULAR THING

TO SAY ABOUT ANYTHING,

BUT THE WHOLE THING SPEAKS TOGETHER,

AND THAT'S NICER, I THINK.

NO, NOT FINISHED.

[chuckles]

announcer: NEXT TIME ON ART IN THE 21ST CENTURY...

- IT'S NOT NECESSARY TO DECIDE

THAT YOU ARE A PAINTER OR A SCLUPTOR.

IT DOESN'T MAKE YOUR WORK MORE RADICAL OR MORE CLEAR.

- I THINK OF DIFFERENT WAYS THAT I CAN BRING DRAWING

OR IMAGE MAKING INTO THE PERFORMANCE.

- I'M NOT A JOURNALIST.

MY WORK EXISTS IN THE SPACE OF ART,

WHICH ALLOWS FOR CONTRADICTIONS.

announcer: TO LEARN MORE ABOUT ART IN THE 21ST CENTURY

AND ITS EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES,

PLEASE VISIT US ONLINE AT:

ART IN THE 21ST CENTURY IS AVAILABLE ON DVD.

TO ORDER, VISIT:

OR CALL:

STREAM ART21 ON

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