What is your concept of art? When did your passion for art begin?
The term “art” has been defined and redefined: the concept of art has always been at the center of reflection. As far as I am concerned, art is something very generic, a way of representing the world. Art is just this, a way of expressing what we experience and the fundamental questions that lie between life and death; two polarities present in everybody’s life.
I cannot tell exactly when I consciously encountered art for the first time in my life, but I can say that since I was very little I had a strong relationship with art. I was lucky because as a child, my mother (a professor) soon recognized my interests and she always fostered this propensity towards the arts.
What is your relationship to the generation of artists from the ‘80s and how did they influence your work along with the recent history of Dominican art?
This is a very important and complex issue because, regrettably, our art historians give very little attention to this topic. The ‘80s was a problematic period for Dominican artists. It was difficult to find galleries to present and promote their work. Together, as an artist collective, we decided to start a project, the Colectivo Generación 80 (80 Generation Collective), in order to show our work in new spaces.
This Colectivo was comprised of 100 artists who joined together for pragmatic reasons rather than for sharing values or a common philosophy. We had practical needs and wanted to improve our opportunities of working in the arts. Given the plurality of artists involved in this project, it was impossible to have a common conceptual framework. However, some of the artists shared points of view and also started working together. We finally managed to obtain some results: the Colectivo even opened its own gallery.
Now you are part of a new collective, the Quinta Pata. Could you tell us more about it?
The Quinta Pata represented the Dominican Republic at the Venice Biennale this year and is formed by Pascal Meccariello, Raquel Paiewonsky, Belkis Ramírez and myself. We have known each for a long time and decided to get together to raise our visibility. We wanted to achieve what is said in an African proverb, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” This is our philosophy. We believe in the power of the group.
Quinta Pata has exhibited works in Mexico, Buenos Aires, Lima, Miami, Santo Domingo, the Bienal de la Havana, the Bienal de Fin del Mundo and the Venice Biennale. We have a project running at the end of this year and another exhibition in Santo Domingo in March 2014.
Does your art have a specific social dimension?
I am very affected by the social reality that surrounds me. Every day I have to deal with the roughness of a society affected by serious social problems, particularly concerning children and elderly people. My sensitivity to these issues is manifested in my art, somehow, in an unconscious way. My art does not have an explicit message about how things should be. I try to play the role of a photographer who captures an image and obliges the public to think about it. Maybe spectators will feel the responsibility of doing something to change things for the better. I believe that even the smallest thought of change in someone’s mind is already an important achievement.
What are you presenting in Miami?
Recently, I have been focusing on the relationship between art and power. Power can deeply affect art and influence the artists’ creative process. The work I will present in Miami is about the 15 minutes of world-fame that everyone would inevitably experience, according to Andy Warhol. In Miami, 136 portraits of great artists will be for sale (as in an auction) and each of them will be shown several times for 15 minutes in turn. If someone buys them, they will not be shown again. This work is about how the art industry with its fairs, biennials, galleries and journals is capable of corrupting the honesty and creativity of the artist.
- Jorge Pineda, photo by Teresa Sartore
- Mambrù, 2005. Courtesy of the artist