Hugo McCloud: Timeline, an interview

by Elena Scarpa
November 6, 2015
Elena Scarpa

Fondazione 107, in partnership with Luce Gallery, presents Timeline, Hugo McCloud’s solo show, curated by Federico Piccari.

Hugo McCloud intervenes building inside the spaces of Foundation 107 three places: the shops in which the artist worked in his youth and that contributed to his professional education.

Being aware of the fact that people are the result of their own experiences, McCloud retraces through the crafts, his being an artist himself; to do so, he merges in this solo show traces and fragments of different lives and worlds. He builds “Memory Rooms” using his artworks and transforming windows and mirrors in artworks.
Beside his traditional paintings made with bitumen, vines and metals, the artist shows for the first time his sculptures, in which he put in live parrots.

Visitors are involved in the three different situations created in the three spaces by assuming roles that will make them observers and observed. The role of the visitor is crucial to the experience of the show.

We sat down with the artist during Artissima week, when the show opened:

Elena Scarpa: Could you tell me more about the choice of the works that are installed here which include both paintings and installations?

Hugo McCloud: I wanted to create a dialougue between the paitings and the sculpture so all the colors tie back to the blocks or to the paintings, so you kind of get all these connections. Sometimes I think that because you are in these  three different spaces you will be in this other room but the memory will relate back to the previous space. All the paintings were not paintings that have specific meanings, they are made with the idea of this show.

ES: I’m really intrigued by the first work on the wall when people walk in, the one where visitors will have to clock in, stamping the cards.

HM: I wanted to create a space in a way that makes people walk through it. You’re able to walk in between the glass that represents the store front window, through the cubes. I wanted to create something that made people unconsciously or subconsciously think that they were changing space. The show is called Timeline which has to do with blue collar work, just regular labor type of work and my memory growing up doing those kinds of jobs, which I haven’t now done for a long time, you always had to clock in. I wanted to reminisce this memory for myself but also visitors will be able to relive this memory of these kinds of jobs that a lot of people had. It’s an interactive thing and I think it’s also really interesting that the piece will accept 600 timecards and we’ll see the piece filling over the time of the show. It’s also the world’s heaviest watercolor, so the piece is really heavy and at the same time ironic. Every other work that I do is very heavy that’s why I need to try to make a piece which is also fun; the watercolors make it lighter. The work doesn’t actually make any sense it that way but I do find it interesting because it’s also a perfect representation of my non-traditional way of working: I’m making watercolor but with some type of heavy non conventional material and I think it’s fun, I think it’s something that people will remember because it’s interactive. I want to give people a memory that goes beyond the thought of having seen something beautiful. That’s the philosophy behind my work: beauty is not just this thing that at first you recognize as beautiful. Beauty is also something that originally you wanted to find beautiful and then now you’re seeing it in a different way and it becomes interesting. When something becomes interesting you can find attractiveness in it. This applies to a time clock, it’s something you would never think as attractive, so it’s about changing people’s perception of things.

Take for example the green painting in this show, it’s not necessarily the most attractive color. When at first people see it here, when Nikola (Cernetic, founder of Luce Gallery, n/a) saw it, when people saw it in my other gallery in New York…they didn’t really like green; but it’s interesting to think that if you can do things in a different way, you can change people’s mind about it…and now they love it. I find this very interesting, the possibility of making someone see things in a different way, that’s actually what most of my work is about.

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