How would you define the project that you undertook for TruckArtProject?
I made two murals for the TruckArtProject project, entitled 1. Untitled (Art Worker’s Coalition protesting at the MOMA, 1970), in which I use marker on canvas, and Untitled (Zvono), using the same technique and the same materials.
In your case, how do the two sides of the truck work together?
The images that make up this entry are part of a series of prints that I started to make in 2011 for the project called The Saving Game [in which I looked back on, among other things, the political baggage of the return of Guernica to Spain], which I first exhibited at the T-20 gallery in Murcia that same year. Although those images make up part of that set, I didn’t want to consider a dialogue between both murals, beyond what The Saving Game project entails.
What are the challenges of the project for you?
First there’s the problem of scale. These were two pieces on a sort of giant “canvas”, each canvas being almost 14 meters long. On top of that, the surface of this canvas is a material that’s not designed to be painted on, but rather to protect and preserve a product, so painting on that surface was very particular.
How does this project fit into your trajectory and your discourse?
As a process I don’t think it particularly affects my work, but it was interesting to think about what a project would be like where the people that see it will have a few seconds to intuit an image in motion. In general, the spectator is the one that passes in front of a work of art. Here, there’s much more possibility of the work passing in front of us without knowing exactly what it is we’re seeing. I found it interesting to think about that.
Some artists admit that they came in with a pre-existing idea that they had to modify, or that grew in other directions when faced with a canvas like this one. Was that the case for you?
I was clear from the beginning: the most complicated thing was thinking about what images were the most appropriate. Then I had problems bringing them to the canvas because, as I mentioned, this surface is complex. That led me several times to re-approach how to resolve the murals.
How did you approach the reception of a work like this, in which the spectator comes across it instead of seeking it out, and which doesn’t “circulate” through the usual art channels?
Well, you might be sitting calmly in your village and see a truck pass by, or you might be in your car on the highway and pass that same truck and think, “what is that? It’s beautiful! I wonder what it is”. Or you might think “how strange!” I don’t know if it’s important to identify the work with a work of art, or rather, I don’t think it will be identified as an original artwork, since our patrons aren’t going to identify it as such.
What about the fleeting nature with which it’s received?
That’s what seems most interesting to me about the project: how this fleeting situation has a lot in common with the speed at which we consume images on the Internet, for example, or the speed at which we “see” and take in information in the media. If you go to a web site and the data takes longer than usual to load, we get nervous and we might close the window and move on to something else. The parallels between that instant of the passing truck and how we consume images today are very interesting. That’s very important in my current work because, now, the pencil drawings I’m doing take months to finish, and I make them on newspaper, which is a very precarious material for daily use; so the time making and consuming an image is essential to me in thinking about how we live.
How did you approach the scale? Were you used to it?
Yes. The scale is essential to understanding the piece. I recently read a piece by Sol LeWitt that talked about the importance of scale for a work of art. If you’re asking about the large dimensions of this project, whether that was a problem, I would say no: I’ve done works of large dimensions and they’re interesting, but it wasn’t an added difficulty.
What does this type of project offer you, and what do you think you bring to the project?
It surprised me. And not a specific characteristic of the project, but rather that the person that thought of this project (Jaime Colsa) has that energy, excitement and affection that he approached my work with. So I was able to meet someone who takes care of the people he works with. So my contribution was to try to do my best on the project, nothing more.
Why is a project like TruckArtProject interesting?
As I said before, I don’t know if people are going to understand this as something artistic, as long as there’s no compulsion to see the image. But I don’t think that’s really important. The murals on the trucks will be a “flash” and they’ll make us ask ourselves what it is that we just saw. It’s good to ask ourselves about certain things.