How would you define the project that you undertook for TruckArtProject?
I didn’t change my work, or my idea, just because the project involves unusual characteristics and canvases. The title of my work is Allí donde los rayos de la razón se quiebran el corazón manda (There where the arrows of reason fail the heart commands); or, depending on which side you see first, El corazón manda allí donde los rayos de la razón se quiebran (The heart commands there where the arrows of reason fail). Normally my work features the Sacred Heart prominently, since it’s the first religious image that introduces a woman: Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque. It’s the image that some military personnel wear over their heart as a symbol of protection, and it has spread across the world to form part of the popular imagination as an amulet, without being specifically related to Catholicism. The image itself has thousands of representations without losing its essence. All of this led me to think about subjects such as “circulation” and “arteries”, concepts used both in anatomy and in driving. So thinking about a truck that circulates led me to the heart as a motor. Then an image came to me fully formed: The emblem of the Casa de los Tiros de Granada Museum. I was born in that city. At one time, they stored pieces of artillery and arms in the Casa de los Tiros, although now it’s an exhibition hall. Like I said, the image came to me all of a sudden, along with the title of a project that I had in mind but had never seen the light of day: “Where the arrows of reason fail”, a phrase from a letter to the Chancellors of the European Universities, by Antonin Artaud. Specifically, a fragment that says: “In the narrow tank which you call "Thought", the rays of the spirit rot like old Straw. Enough plays on words, syntactic dodges, formula-juggling; now there is the great Law of the Heart to find, the Law which is not a Law (a prison), but a guide for the spirit lost in its own labyrinth. Further away than science will ever reach, there where the arrows of reason break against the clouds, this labyrinth exists, a central point where all the forces of being and the ultimate nerves of spirit converge”. I wanted to have this message on the truck in constant motion at street level. I thought it would be beautiful.
In your case, how do the two sides of the truck work together?
Both sides make up the piece. Although if you saw only one (which is possible), I think it would create the mystery I’m looking for. Both sides are completely connected, and they each have a reason for being separately.
What are the challenges of the project for you?
The biggest challenge was time. I usually work alone in my studio in privacy. Being in contact with other artists or colleagues that you’re sharing the process with greatly changes your working process. Those factors lead you to a different rhythm. There are many ways to work, and each one takes time; it’s not a factor that adds or takes away anything, but it is real. So I found myself in a personal challenge from which I learned and with which I feel satisfied. That’s what challenges are for: to grow and overcome them. I think if I came with everything prepared to be resolute and effective, I’d work in advertising, which I respect, but which isn’t what I’m interested in. If you immerse yourself in what you do, what you do speaks to you. And that should be respected.
How does this project fit into your trajectory and your discourse?
I think it’s one more piece among the ones I’ve done in my discourse and trajectory, and of the ones I have yet to do. I measure it with the same barometer, regardless of the characteristics of the project.
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 didn’t change my idea, but I did change the way of executing it formally to speed up the process, without changing my way of working. I’ve done pieces in this format before, but I invested the time that each piece demanded. In this case, I had to be firing on all cylinders to speed up the work, because the truck arrived on a Friday at 8:00 p.m. and it was leaving on Monday to work again, and then it wasn’t coming back until the next weekend. That meant that I had a limited time to execute it. In my case, I needed two weekends to finish it, and until that time I was the only artist that needed more time. That was mentally stressful, although Jaime Colsa and his team gave me all the support I needed.
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?
That’s the aspect of the project that interested me most: a work that you see on the street and that the spectator comes across without looking for it, in their daily life. I don’t think being an artist is something that marginalizes us, or makes us different, or more special than the rest of the world. What most appeals to me about TruckArtProject is that its vehicles circulate and live in our surroundings with nobody controlling them: not the gallery owner, not the patron, not the curator, and not the artist. The project lives on the street and on the street everything circulates at its own pace.
What about the fleeting nature with which it’s received?
The fleeting nature was a more positive than negative factor for me. I think the number of spectators that spend the necessary time seeing art in galleries and museums is decreasing. I would even say that there’s a certain laziness when it comes to spending the necessary time that each piece requires. The fact that you see this work in a brief period of time, but in a daily and unexpected environment, takes you into another dimension of time than if you spent that same time inside a gallery or museum. I think the fact that you see the work unexpectedly transforms it into a more direct and immediate filter for the spectator and it leaves a different impression, making the spectator question what he saw later, without having to be in front of the piece.
How did you approach the scale? Were you used to it?
Yes, I’ve worked on pieces of this scale. But I was able to spend the time that each one demanded, without hurrying. But am I used to it...? Let’s just say that my heart and knees don’t flutter when faced with something like this, but that doesn’t mean that I’m used to it. If I were, I’d stop doing it, because it wouldn’t surprise me and I wouldn’t learn anything from it.
What does this type of project offer you, and what do you think you bring to the project?
A project of this type gives me the opportunity to have a piece outside of the conventional artistic environment. And the work will be seen by a lot of people, outside and inside that same artistic environment. In a project like this, usually there are urban artists working on it, whose environment is the street. In a way, these types of jobs are more common for them, although they also exhibit in galleries, and right now there’s no limitation of any type to the market. But I think the fact that artists that don’t usually work in this environment are participating, people like Abraham Lacalle, Carlos Aires and myself, gives us the opportunity to bring our work to the street. Just because our usual place of work is the gallery or studio doesn’t mean that our work has nothing to do with social issues, or that we’re not interested in what surrounds us. In that sense, I think this fusion is rewarding for both parties.
Why is a project like TruckArtProject interesting?
I think there should be more projects of this type. Especially given the state of our country’s culture. There are a lot of companies in Europe and the United States that support art in all of its manifestations. It would be great if this project were contagious like a virus and more companies showed up to support culture and art, because that would enrich and solidify the very fragile and unstable panorama that we have right now, and it would be a natural and direct way to give Access to people that haven’t done it before.