Conversación de Armando Montesinos con Rufo Criado

También disponible en: español

Milagros, Spain, April 26, 2008

Rufo Criado: To begin with, Armando, I want to tell you that a project like this is very exciting for me, exciting in the sense of motivating. Since the time of A Ua Crag, where we did in situ projects, I haven’t done a work with a church in mind. Back then I did two. The first was in 1990 in the Chapelle de la Salpêtrière in Paris, and then in 1992 in the Arthous Abbey in the south of France. Those were part of an exchange with artists from Le Genie de la Bastille de París. But as I said, in both cases there were pieces defined and thought out for a specific context, within a collective project. Here we’re talking about a personal project, thought out as an intervention in a space that, undoubtedly, I’ve had in mind for its religious connotations, that in my past had an important personal component. Then, let’s say, it wasn’t a question of taking an artistic work and putting it there, but rather, starting with the place where the project was going to be shown, clearly create an intervention that would dialogue with the whole space. And that’s what was so difficult, not just because of the architecture, but also the symbolic, allegorical and functional character of a church.

From the formal point of view, and bearing the support in mind, a way to go came up at the very beginning: the idea of the rose window, giving color-light to a space like that. It was, without a doubt, the starting point. And that came about very early on.

Armando Montesinos: It’s in the origin of the project.

RC: Yes, because look, on the way back from one of those trips to Palermo (Sicily), on the flight there suddenly appeared the image of the rose window, and since I am working with light boxes right now, is exactly why I should give that profane character to the function that the rose window has historically had. They are clearly luminous elements, at the same time as, depending on the period, they appear to me to be more narrative or more “geometrized.” But we would say that, normally, they’ve always been chromatic, clearly colorful, contrasting the austerity and silence of a cathedral or church with those very showy elements, as if they were from another universe…, and that they give other sensations. Other types of sensations.

AM: Yes. Aside from the architecturally technical reasons that make them possible (wall thickness, column lightness, etc.), I think they fulfill the function of presenting a… I was going to say magic world. But, clearly presenting a fundamentally polychromatic world, which is what I think is the most interesting.

When you began to work with light boxes, was that connection already there? For me, the light box raises certain problems, formally speaking. I think there was a time when it was used in a very… gratuitous way. So I would like to know where your interest in light boxes comes from.

RC: To begin with, the first issue in using a support like this was the color-light application, which undoubtedly gives the work sensations and perceptions that are totally different from a painting. And here is where I have to reference Gustavo Torner, who for me was, let’s say, one of the first references for works created using a luminous support.

AM: “La escala de Jacob” (Jacob’s Ladder), in the Abstract Art Museum in the Hanging Houses of Cuenca was, for me, brilliant. I think we share the impact of that type of Torner’s work.

RC: Yes, it was something that mentally I had there. But here I would have to say that, as an artist, when a computer first came into the house in 1992, I inevitably felt the temptation to see what I could do with a tool like that. And I realized that the computer let me work with color-light and that the results had nothing to do with the color of a painting. One of the first things I realized was that the computer is another world, with formal developments clearly different than what I was used to. There were registers with possibilities… not better or worse, just different than those I had been using with canvas and acrylics.

AM: Yes, autonomous.

RC: Absolutely. From there, unavoidably, one just wants to be carried away or get lost, in the best sense of the word, when it comes to investigating or searching, to see what this new tool can offer. Then, when already working, those works come to mind, and I connect with those specific works by Gustavo Torner. The Americans have also done that type of work, we’re talking in the 60s and 70s, when new supports clearly come into play, not to mention the visual experiences the kinetic artists were working with, centered around light, and light in movement. So, I was interested in seeing where the color-light experience would take me.

AM: Then there is no relationship with how the light box is used in photography, which I would say, because of its spectacular aspect, is one of the ports of entry of the photographic world into the art world. I think certain photographers, certain artists, use this strategy as a way to connect with artistic uses. Let’s say they create a spectacularly charged photographic image that, obviously, is also related to capitalist pop, the big neon signs. As I see it, aside from the examples you’ve given me, I think Torner’s work, for us, for our generation, is important, but I see the light box very tied to a strategy of presentation of photography.

RC: Of course, there’s Jeff Wall, who is the artist that, from the photographic point of view, gives the most powerful sense to the images. Not only for the shapes of his light boxes, with their amazing details, but because they give a certain three-dimensionality to the photographic support. The printed photo is still two dimensional, but when a photographic scene is shown illuminated, it’s transformed into a movie still, and a light box is like a movie screen frozen in a still. I think this explains the many possibilities that a light box can have as a support for advertisers, who were the first to use them, and for artists.

Ever since 2003, when I first presented a set of works on this type of support in the Evelyn Botella Gallery in Madrid, I have looked for a way to get more applications and resources from them. The first were more abstract, more pure line, color, tied to all the dimension of color-light. Later I connect them to my desire to combine nature and structure. A program like Photoshop, with its layering ability, lets me articulate elements, let’s say, photographed of the nearest reality with elements that I construct, compose or elaborate using the tools of the digital world. The final result of my light boxes is very different than those we discussed by Gustavo Torner and Jeff Wall.

AM: Going back to the color-light concept. It’s clear then, that you enter the world of the light boxes, not from advertising or photography, but really by way of painting.

RC: Absolutely. And furthermore, what I’ve looked for using industrial type supports is to give a nod to advertising by using similar supports but making it very clear that the content, the compositions are clearly pictorial. There is always a need to try to leave the color plane, to transform the flatness of the painted color. Here we see the type of wrapping, of atmosphere and reverberation that color has when it’s lit up. Suddenly I said to myself, if this light box exists in the marketplace, in the coffee shop, in the airport, with its clearly functional use, then… why not use those same supports, which, really are like frames, to show another type of experience to the spectator. It’s like in ARCO ’06 when I presented a two-sided light box, which was really a luminous support that, for the manufacturer is used as a support for advertising for a bank… If I place it in the center, from my eye it’s taking me to a quasi-sculptorical place. But, aside from that occupation of space, the light that radiates from it doesn’t cease to be a totally three dimensional object.

AM: Going back to that question of color-light. In your work as a painter, you have also been very interested in new materials. That is, all your interest in industrial painting, that obviously offers very different ranges than the classic oils or acrylics. I think it’s important how in your pictorial work you propose a growth of your material knowledge and techniques, but also I already detect there is a search for a specific color, for a specific quality of color.

RC: Yes because... there you can get either the most recent stimulus or infection of the trends of the times. Of course now we would enter into a discussion about painting today, that is, that never-resolved question about the sense or nonsense of painting. The first step would be for me to recognize whether, after several years working digitally, if using a graphic pencil or mouse to make or create, aided by a program and seen on a screen, is painting. And now I am convincing myself that it is. It seems silly, but those of us who, for many years, have been doing this alchemy or laboratory chemistry that is traditional painting (and which I continue to do), find the fact that working in a space that isn’t the studio, with tools that are colorless, odorless and fairly insipid, to me, mentally, is difficult and very hard to recognize the end result as my own work.

From the purely… I don’t know if the word is semantic, point of view this is painting, because it has line, color, composition, we would say that all it has all of the elements that pertain to painting. The intervention of the hand was one phase and the intervention of the intellect taken for granted. There is a whole process of creation on the computer, hours in which you are making constant decisions, as if you were painting on canvas. When I think I have arrived at a point of assimilating the possibilities and seeing that the results can really be as interesting as that of a painting, is when I see the inherent difficulty in making an object that makes sense now, right now, with a result that is something more than a purely functional, decorative element, etc. Of course a painting or a photograph, no matter what support it’s on, I need it to be something more than a purely functional object.

AM: In the same way that the painting painted on architecture, the mural, the fresco, gave way to the portable painting, painting as a free standing object, autonomous, do you think this would be another transformation of the concept of painting and the pictorial object? I see that relationship, and I also think that the pieces you currently have in Palermo and Naples have to do with that idea. We’re going to make a parallelism. The rose window would be similar to the fresco, this would be a solid painting and the rose window a light painting, a color-light, but both are tied to the architectonic. And I would say that the free standing or hanging light box is parallel to the picture as object. When you refer to that presence of the free standing object, to that relationship… sculptural in terms of volume, are we talking about another phase, in which painting is not only separate from architecture, but is separated from its own classic support as well, that is to say, the canvas itself, to adopt another format, that oddly goes back to being related to space?

RC: Yes, it’s very hard to talk about or comment on that because…

AM: What I’m trying to convey is the idea that the painting abandons the wall and enters into a relationship with the space. That’s what I think is interesting.... a painting that doesn’t need a wall, of that support that is wall, or a continuity of the wall, a skin of the wall, but instead the painting appears…

RC: Yes, in whatever way it happens. It’s exactly where I think we should go, to the disappearance of categories… It gets to the point where what I have created on a screen (flat surface), with a pictorial mentality, from the moment it is proposed using an industrial support, why isn’t it sculpture? At the same time, there is an existing photographic element that I have taken with my camera… So then we would be talking about a pictorial proposal, with photographic resources, elaborated by way of a tool such as the computer, and shown as a totally three-dimensional object or sculpture.

AM: Furthermore, tied to a certain use, usually signage.

RC: Exactly. And, undoubtedly, with a physicality that can initiate dialogue with, or can not ignore, the architectonic component where it is set, where it will be situated. The first light box I did, I did in the street. It was a project I did for ArteSantander. It was a light box with a front and back that was like a billboard. It was in the town hall square, set to one side, at an intersection. It was placed so that the drivers who passed by, who had to stop at the light, especially at night, could just see, if they looked carefully, that something was there, something that wasn’t advertising but something more visually loud. Well, the challenge to try to find a new possibility for that primary application, which is the pictorial, has always interested me. For it to be more present in the street, more evident and more obvious, while at the same time have greater potential.

AM: Although you are using other elements... And in that pictorial construction it does seem interesting to talk about how not technically, but conceptually, you understand that approximation by layers, which you mentioned before, that the computer allows you. Because, obviously, the pictorial work has always been a layered work. But here we’re talking about layers that transcend the idea of a material that covers…

RC: Yes. I would say that an external system of layers, even a purely technological program of layers like Photoshop, really has interested me because it is the way to translate personal layers in terms of vision. That need to join, to continually superimpose the experience of nature. I mean, I have my studio out in the country, because I have the need to be next to that never-ending source, with everything that it entails for me as a rational and animal being, as well as my surroundings. That’s vital to me. But at the same time, I need, I appreciate, I enjoy and am stimulated and really develop my abilities when I travel, when go to cities, am in a metropolis. And the camera I always carry is yet another tool for me. It lets me mark the territory, perceive, be conscious of certain details of life and my surroundings. That and the daily reading of poetry.

For me the day to day is like a succession of all those superimposed layers that make up my own identity, my own personality. That’s how this tool makes sense to me. It expands the field of action of my painting, since, in the times we live in, it lets me express the succession of layers that accompany me each day, to articulate them, or represent them in some way through the work that I do as the sum of it all.

AM: So you are saying then, that it gives you the chance to present all of this almost simultaneously.

RC: Yes, it would be an articulation of all those stimuli, distilled and re-elaborated with new tools that finally give way to a work more connected to the spectator’s point of view, who is very influenced by the continual saturation of images in which we are immersed. As an artist it bothers me that what defines this era is novelty for novelty’s sake, the unimportant, the dominating fashion of the moment. That’s what’s worrisome. To control all those mirages that generate the world of images, that all those colors, reflections, glitz and intensities that bombard us from the outside, that all that, is not only something in which to lose oneself easily, something in which one can be trapped or fascinated by, for the urge to try to respond to the stimuli of the times. I still believe, and still need for that cumulus of experiences to help, by way of distillation, make a type of work that doesn’t have to be grandiose, but rather a very elemental thing, with a density of energy and thought. I mean that art is art with capital letters. I continue to fight for art with capital letters and it continues to interest me. Maybe the difficulty today is that we are conditioned and overly fascinated by the quantity of external stimuli that surround us.

AM: When you say art with capital letters, do you mean something that, coming from the every day routine and that permanent waterfall of stimuli, creates its own autonomous territory?

RC: I don’t think you can fence it in. I think those are questions that are difficult to explain, but that, knowing each other, we know what we’re talking about. When I talk about art with capital letters, I’m talking about… something that can be a gesture. It could be… could be something very, let’s say…

AM: Yes. But you used the word density before… Art with capital letters would be something that has a certain thickness, wouldn’t it?

RC: Obviously. Especially...

AM: When you said art with capital letters, I think it’s interesting not to fence it in, but to enter into certain definitions. For example, the simultaneousness of experience. You are simultaneously overlapping your experience in a noisy city with your experience in a natural landscape in a practically pure state, that is subject to the cycle of the seasons, etc. etc. with your own changes of mood, influences. Let’s say, everything in the day to day has a lineality. This technology allows you to place it, simultaneously, in a process like layers. And evidently, that implies, not only subjecting oneself to that flow, but a reflection on it, like a second time around, which is what I think the artist gives. I mean, an artist, let’s say it this way, places, or stands next to, or superimposes a second time, which is the time of reflection, onto real time. That’s what I meant when I spoke of thickness. I understand that art with capital letters, as you call it, has to do with that other time, that it’s not different, but second, parallel, and with the idea of a pictorial image that is made up of different experiences.

RC: Yes. That’s a summary. We could say, the summary and substance of all of this.

AM: Sure, but a summary that is in its own materiality. I mean, it’s not the representation of a summary, or the synthesis of a summary, but a summary by superposition, by thickness.

RC: I completely agree. I would even say that it would be interesting that it would be alien to reaching that end. That someone, when he is creating a piece, is creating the artwork, and never knows, in that process of work, if he will create an interesting piece. Another question is if it will be large or small scale, or for a public or private project. The most important thing is that it continue to grow through that increasingly important necessary concentration…

AM: Privacy...

RC: Or privacy. That’s it; silence, silence, silence. Precisely because of the number of stimuli that influence us, for the amount of material we have to read, things we have to have… we need to concentrate more; or should “re-concentrate” much more than at other moments in history. We have to look for that kind of interval, pauses, silences, in which we can assimilate so much. Starting from there is when, at certain times, pieces will be substantiated, or you give way to works that in some cases are more or less interesting, or more or less sum up what you want or try to say.

AM: Would you say that light-color is the opposite of image-noise?

RC: No, because light-color can have image and noise.

AM: No, no, obviously. I mean noise in the sense of visual noise.

RC: Going back to the project we were first talking about, “Eyes of Water,” what I was looking for, and tried with the circular boxes, aside from the formal aspect, was to remind us, evoke or fulfill the function of the rose window. They formed small spaces of silence... you know, I wanted to re-unite myself and the spectator in a more real than symbolic way, to the function of a sacred space: to create a space of silence. What these light boxes attempt is to bring the spectator closer to the idea of silence and retreat, of pause.

They are bits of nature that dialogue with structures. When I was at the openings in Palermo and Naples I noticed that people picked up on the sense that I wanted the pieces to have. The people that went enjoyed it; it was like a pool of tranquility. I think that what I achieved was to create a dialogue, not something strident, but which interrelated with the architecture where it was shown, and that causes or transmits a pleasing sense to the spectator. But pleasing in the sense of, let’s say, also of density, like we were talking about before.

AM: Yes, in the sense that this doesn’t seem foreign to them.

RC: Exactly.

AM: It’s a very.... measured intervention. It doesn’t try to provoke, or what it looks to provoke is exactly the contemporary experience of a space that was previously sacred.

RC: Yes. And it goes along with what I heard in Palermo and Naples, of people saying “You should leave this here forever. This should stay here.” That, for me, is a compliment, in the sense that it produced that unity, which, as we know, we are not used to happening in contemporary art.

AM: We’re used to the opposite.

RC: Yes, the opposite: this dysfunction, that idea of jumping right in, that sensation that anything goes... That sometimes individualistic, arrogant idea of the work itself, that it will overcome in any context and in any circumstance… That’s why I insist that one of the good things that this project has is that it produces symbiosis, and that the spectator perceives it: perceives a bit of that continuity of sense and of space, that although both churches are already places that do not have a religious function, they do maintain that almost sacred atmosphere; even through a more profane use, because the theme of the boxes is not a iconographically religious theme.

AM: Here I think we shouldn’t avoid a word that I think crucial in terms of what it has to do with all of a tradition of art with capital letters, which is the idea of peace, ultimately the idea of harmony.

RC: That’s right. If you remember, I said as much in one of my short texts from the book Velocidad sobre el agua (Speed over Water), and which what I maintain, even though it’s rather a Utopian question. In such a difficult context, in which you perceive a continuous flow of negative energies, what would interest me with my work would be to generate a flow of positive energies. Not to counterbalance the negative, but, in this continuity of flows that inundate us, that mine be, for the spectator, for the human being, positive.

AM: We’re sitting on the porch of your studio, in front of an amazingly beautiful view. It would be good to talk about the ongoing relationship that exists in your work between nature and sculpture.

RC: In regard to the project it was important. It was described in the press release as being one of the fundamental elements of the project. The title “Ojos de agua” (“Eyes of Water”) starts there... It coincides with the fact that I was reading Octavio Paz when the Instituto Cervantes asked me to do a project for the Iglesia Eulalia de los Catalanes in Palermo. Reading a book of poems by Octavio Paz, suddenly I came across a poem with these verses:

Ojos de agua de sombra,

Ojos de agua de pozo,

Ojos de agua de sueño.

[Eyes of shadow water,

Eyes of well water,

Eyes of dream water.]

And, well, all that we’ve talked about: stained glass windows, light boxes, the circular shape, are undoubtedly what suggested the idea of the eye. The idea of my eye as a constant spectator of nature, of landscape, of water, because several of the boxes have a photographic background. They’re backgrounds of reflection, of reflections of water. Water is that abstract skin, that surface that changes into non-referential texture, ideal base, or the most apt, to oppose the rationality of the shape. Then, when I looked for base images to create these eight light boxes, in many cases, I started with reflections of water, induced or motivated by the title itself of the show. I normally title the shows a posteriori and they sometimes can have a poetic indebted weight, that is, not mine, simply a verse that I’ve read, that I found interesting and used for this. Then I opted for this circular form, that can be a stained glass window, but at the same time is an eye, the eye that looks.

AM: And it’s not a passive eye. It’s an active eye, I mean, it’s an eye that know what it’s looking at, and it’s a meaningful look, isn’t it?

RC: Yes, yes of course. Let’s say that the eye, when it focuses on a specific place, outlines a spatial area. What happens? The function of the eye has become the function of the lens; the lens of the camera is also circular although the end product is square, but let’s says that the lens is also circular… On the other hand, the circular shape undoubtedly generates a greater dynamic weight in the compositions. The perpendicular or rectangular composition is always more balanced or more static. The circular compositions always generate a greater dynamism. The confluence of all those elements is what makes me dedicate all those hours to creating the compositions that will then be used to make the light boxes.

AM: And the color choices? Do they also come from observing nature or are they decisions that already have more to do with the function of color?

RC: Yes, they would be more the product of the latter.

AM: So, the specific research of color.

RC: They are closer to the field of composition, like in a painting. That’s why I mentioned a photographic first base, as a background surface, but like the first layer that’s the background when you paint a painting. And in the background you can even sketch, you can hint at where you are going to go… What is it that the tool gives me? What I said before: that by way of those digitalized layers you can superimpose very different elements. In the creation of a painting, precisely for the texture of the paint itself, I haven’t been able to make is so that one of the elements is not dominant: the rational-formalist or the expressive-smudge. While on the one hand, by a mechanical means like the computer, everything ends up being surface, in which the vibrations come, logically, by counterpoints of lines, planes, colors, but not texture; not like physical texture, which is what paint gives you.

AM: Yes, there is no volume, no thickness.

RC: No, there’s no roughness. Let’s say that everything ends up being much lighter…

AM: I think this works in the opposite or contrary way to that whole line of reductionism, doesn’t it? There’s a whole modern movement that reduces nature to shapes, but here what we’re talking about is not that reductionism, but superimpositions, complications… completely the opposite. You could even superimpose a reductionist look over a directly natural look, couldn’t you?

RC: Yes. But what would interest me… I always talk about intention, and what I would like would be to go to a type of baroque spirit, and not baroque as something overdone. For me in the baroque is where, let’s say, more things can be in a painting, but each thing fulfills a primordial function. Right now, undoubtedly, there is a weight in my pieces that could become excessive.

AM: There is a certain kind of baroque, before falling into rococo, with that idea that everything fits there, but everything is there, really, just to be, that is to say, as ornamental. One of the virtues of the ornamental is that it occupies space in an incontrollable way. It’s a kind of virus, a shape that is repeated, replicated, expanded. Between the, let’s call it asceticism, of the primordial function and that type of waste or extravagance, where do you find the balance? Because many times the danger of the infographic images is that type of abundance which is a bit, shall we say, “acritical.” How have you held back so as to achieve that atmosphere of peace, that bit of harmony, which we talked about before?

RC: Well, going back to h the work of Johannes Vermeer or Johan Sebastian Bach in music as a starting point, I would say that that type of overabundance of registers and elements, are, in the end, welded together. In their works everything is in its place, and you perceive a sense of tremendous harmony.

AM: There is a higher order.

RC: Yes. And a melding. Let’s say there are no edges; that this sum of elements is a structured superposition, as if they were parts of a puzzle that fit. In my case, with the layers, there is always a type of saturation, saturation with which I search for something else entirely. Sometimes I can sense where I am going, but it is undoubtedly that the terrain on which I move is sometimes a little dangerous, because it can make it excessive. It’s also true that right now I am, when I talk about this, thinking more in the new series that I am going to start. It’s a set of six pieces that measure 2 x 3 meters where I will finally add many more expressive elements, not to say expressionist. As if I were trying to scratch that formal harmony with graphics that come out of the background and begin to take on more importance. There’s an attempt here that these pieces be more… acid, more scribbled.

AM: More saturated.

RC: Yes, but at the same time, due to the impossibility of painting digitally directly, “dirtily”, I will look for new tensions because that dirtiness, in digital terms, is very complicated. Everything is almost sweetened.

AM: I’d like to go back to something I forgot. We were talking about stained glass windows, of rose windows... In that context, and in the Italian shows, how do you interpret the light box placed on the floor?

RC: I have always seen that box as a simile to a well. Since it is flat on the plane of the floor, you see it with a very different perspective compared to how you would see it hanging and suspended on a wall. It’s as if you are looking down into it. In Naples, you got even more of this idea since you had to go down some stairs from the main church to the small church. You got all of the luminous splendor at the beginning, to then later discover a horizontal plane that was like the surface of water. And the circular horizontal stripes of color accentuated its most sculptural aspect.

AM: That’s the inverse of what happens with the other pieces, the rose windows, that imply that something from the outside comes in, while here, something is growing out from the inside. But I can’t get away from the idea that when you look in a well what you see is the sky, don’t you?

RC: Yes, but also, from the spectator’s position, it will always have an almost Narcissistic pose. When you look in a well, precisely because of the light and darkness, you see your own reflection.

AM: But that reflection can’t happen in your light boxes.

RC: No, what appears are the geometrized elements, which give an even greater idea of surface, an almost pictorial surface. But really, this “well” thing was purely anecdotal; it was something to call it, like the rose window… The effect in the small church in Naples with this piece was the most interesting: to create a wash of color in an entire space, to create an atmosphere that transformed the whole chapel.

AM: So, initially, you didn’t give these pieces a symbolic connotation.

RC: No, what I tried to do was to place the spectator, or visitor, inside a silent space. I think the referential or allegorical character, is almost implicit from the moment you enter a “sacred” space…

AM: Is it the spectator who gives it that connotation?

RC: Exactly. In the space in Palermo there was no religious imagery. In Naples there was, there were chapels with saints, or dedicated to certain saints. But going back to that intentionality that I can give to my work, the idea that I mentioned before about calm, about peace. Showing nature, or fragments of nature, in works that have a fairly contained, poetic, evocative climate, combined with the silent space, could provoke the sensation of being in a small pool of tranquility to a spectator who enters the church with his senses open. In the times that we live, when you visit churches in cities like Naples and Palermo, in the most active, loudest, vibrant old parts of the cities, you get the full meaning of having found a pool of tranquility. Starting from that point, obviously, what dictates your interior or you mind depends on each person. But I would say that, in my case, that work, or my works, give or lead to interior experiences. That’s what my objective is.

AM: Those interior experiences, do you think they can happen again if the setting of the show doesn’t have those connotations, in a place that isn’t a church?

RC: I think so, and that’s going to be the next challenge. In the rest of the cities where the show will be opening, the spaces are more normal, big empty spaces with white walls. That said, it’s clear that the way the show is set up and the lighting will be crucial to achieve a “climate” that can catch the spectator and carry him to those sensations that we’ve talked about. I already know that it will not be the same as it was in the religious spaces, but I’m sure that I’ll create another type of visual experience.

AM: Insisting on this, how do you see that step from your work as a painter, working on a flat surface against a wall, to the idea of working in a space, in a sculptural sense, in the sense of installing the show? What type of pressures does that pose? How do you go about it, from being face to face with the wall, which is what painting is, to translate that, and give it a sense of spatial suggestions?

RC: It comes naturally. It’s a situation I’ve found myself in during the hanging of many shows, both the works of other artists and my own. This going from inside to outside and the pictorial plane to the spatial plane is complex, while at the same very related to one another. To interpret a space spatially is like the very difficult process of composing a painting. You work with different elements, especially the volume or third dimension, but in both situations you have to achieve tension, rhythm, balance, sequence. You essentially have to involve and stimulate the spectator.

AM: Do the color-light concept and the idea of pictorial diffusion help you? Is it easier to do it with light boxes than with paintings? How do you see that problem?

RC: Well, I’d say that the fundamental problem is having to make the intervention in the space. In the first two spaces it was for their unique characteristics and from this point forward in more normal spaces. It’s not the same to hang paintings, as it is to place light boxes. I fully understand this because when I’ve set up the shows, the light boxes inevitably have to have their own space, and the paintings their own space. They can’t alternate because the visual competition is tremendous and the sensations that the different pieces emit are on very different frequencies. I have to make sure that I create the right circumstances so that something happens to the spectator. In this project, specifically in Naples, there was another type of competition. As you saw in the photos, you can tell, especially in the works in the central nave, that there was something superimposed over the religious images in the altars to the right and to the left. Logically, my works are not, or were not made to be related to those saints. But what’s clear is that when those works are up or installed, the spectator, and especially the spectator not familiar with contemporary art, can think about the quackery that this exhibit shows, or on the contrary, that the saints maybe are superfluous. The ideal project for me would be one that, as long as it is well thought out and respectful, is done in those spaces that are no longer used for worship, in these types of places…

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