How would you define the project that you undertook for TruckArtProject?
The idea led me to create various possible readings of it depending on the different audiences. It was important, apart from the first purely plastic and direct appearance, for it to have an aesthetic or thought content. But at the same time, each one of them could be different depending on the spectator, allowing each one to create their own. The title of the set is Sky´s The Limit, although the piece on the right side of the truck is called End to end, and the left side is called Whole car. I wanted to take advantage of the opportunities that this canvas offers to insinuate possible readings both through form and content, although, in this specific case, they may be the same and the meaning may be inverted, since the canvas is a moving container. Also, more than just a simple painting, I wanted it to give value to the object acting as the canvas, as if you could see that apart from “being” on it, it’s also on its interior.
In your case, how do the two sides of the truck work together?
On one side you see a group of anthropomorphic shapes of different colors that go from one end to the other (End to end). On the other there’s another similar big group, also of different colors, sharpened and almost without space. They lose their individual shape and begin to blur, creating a spot of colors (Whole Car). It evokes the trains that had gas chambers inside, but were decorated on the exterior with cheerful motifs (Sky´s The Limit). At the same time, all three titles, for anyone familiar with the purest graffiti, are filled with different meanings that you can only recognize if you know this culture, in homage to the people that, at the beginnings of this discipline, made paintings on the street on metro train cars that circulated throughout the city. This was one of my main thoughts regarding the canvas, since it’s impossible to see both sides of the truck at the same time, thus giving it a character that, if not sculpture-like, is one of dialogue and spatial and contextual relations. And that’s something that I was very interested in, since you can’t see both pieces simultaneously: the time it takes to go around the vehicle to see the other side creates a sort of story.
What are the challenges of the project for you?
I didn’t really see any. It all came together naturally and it inspired me with more ideas for the future.
How does this project fit into your trajectory and your discourse?
It fits in naturally, too. Anyone familiar with my work will see that it continues in the same vein.
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 really have to face anything that led me to have to make concessions with my own work, change things, or adapt, because my idea was clear, and I’m very familiar with both the canvases and the technique, as well as the life of those canvases, which may seem unique. What did happen is that, taking advantage of the project’s uniqueness – and once I was already there painting –, I offered the possibility of participating to all of the staff of the company that backed the project; I didn’t want it to just be “arrive, paint and leave”, and that way, once again, it’s making “human art”. So I made a proposal to Jaime (Colsa), and he thought it was a good idea and we got to work. In a matter of hours I got clothes and colored jumpsuits from other performances I had done a while ago, and I let whoever wanted to put them on. They didn’t have to, but everyone decided to play along and play at art with me. We were experimenting as if they were coming out of the painting in their colored clothing, creating a sort of living painting, and we were playing, creating a happening. I think it was a good experience for all of us. So, in this case, I was inspired by the canvas, the context, the day and the people and the relationship with them, and it led to interesting things happening, to them having a good time and enjoying it, and me too. The process was rewarding.
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?
Apart from seeing the work in this context and space, I also considered the time it would take to see it, because the spectator’s “encounter” with the work is fleeting and limited. And that really interested me: the fact that something that seems accessible, in terms of the context or space, to any passer-by, is nonetheless limited by the temporary exposure to it. I like the way it sort of goes against the classic treatment of an object in the art scene, and anyway I’m more than used to not “circulating” through the usual channels.
What about the fleeting nature with which it’s received?
I addressed that very issue by giving the work a sort of first visual reading at a distance, like a spot of undefined moving colors, and another reading close-up, like defined anthropomorphic shapes. That’s something that I’ve also liked to experiment with more explicitly in other works.
How did you approach the scale? Were you used to it?
Yes. I’m more than used to that scale. Ever since I was very young I’ve painted on backdrops for opera that were the same size, and even bigger than the backdrops on the trucks. And murals too, of course.
What does this type of project offer you, and what do you think you bring to the project?
I don’t really know, but it made me want to try things and do more. I’ve got several ideas in mind that I haven’t been able to develop and experiment with, since I only had the opportunity to work on one truck. I imagine that what someone with my background can offer to the project is to give it legitimacy, although that idea may seem ostentatious. I think that, in terms of public spaces, and even more so on the streets, in terms of painting on mobile canvases like wagons, trucks, backdrops…those are all things that I do feel like I represent.
Why is a project like TruckArtProject interesting?
I don’t know, but anyone like me who has experienced artistic work, especially in a public space, on the streets or on mobile canvases, sees the “encounter” with the work as almost fortuitous; and the magic moment of that “encounter” makes the experience interesting and alive. And that’s saying a lot. Transporting the message physically, in societies that are in continuous virtual movement, makes it interesting.