ArtAttack Meets the Artists Presenting at Latino Life Group Exhibition

Jealous Gallery is delighted to be working alongside Latino Life, the UK’s leading Latin Culture Magazine, as part of this summer’s Crouch End Festival 2016. There will be an extensive number of artists exhibiting their work at the gallery with a diverse range of mediums and styles to attract all.

The exhibition, which shares a name with the magazine, will present original pieces from established artists Silvina Soria, Sonia Ciruelo and Alex Vargas, forming a vibrant collection of mixed media work ranging from iron wire sculpture, collage on canvas and photographic prints of manipulated digital photography accompanied by video performance. Coinciding with Crouch End Festival, which runs from 10 to 19 June, the group show will celebrate bursting creativity and talent within the Latino community.

In this unique interview, we were lucky enough to be able to speak to all three artists presenting in the exhibition.

THE ARTISTS:

SILVINA SORIA – Soria is an Argentine Sculptor who works with different materials, each of them exploring the diverse particularities of the three dimensions.  Searching for the subtlety in sculpture led her to work the line in the space, with iron and wire. In 2009 she was invited to participate in an Artists Residence in Paris where she worked during three months on a wire drawings series in between the two and three dimensions. The theme of movement, flowing, the transformation inherent in the passage of time lies beneath all her work, enriched by the experience of travelling. 

ArtAttack: How did you become involved with the ‘Latino Life’ exhibition? Is there anything in particular that drew you to the project?

Silvina Soria: I was invited to participate as one of the Latino-American artists living in London.

AA: Have you always had the intention to become an artist?

SS: I kind of didn’t have another option, not sure if I should call it intention but need and inner conviction, and I can say that I was open to consider other careers but Art School was the obvious path. That said, I still have some respect toward calling myself an artist. I’m a sculptor and also create wearable sculptural jewellery but I think that artist is a title that maybe the time will give you.

AA: Can you tell us a bit more about your interest in maps and city rhythms? Also, can you explain further about your future projects involving the public, which sound incredibly interesting?

SS: I guess that my interest on maps became an inspiration when I moved to Europe 7 years ago and started travelling a lot, acknowledging maps as the first approach to cities, their social and economic organisations.  My work gets references from subway maps and the massive underground networks developing into complex structures of steel rods that emerging from a nuclear centre expands centrifugally as a rhizome. This project comes from progressive research on transit spaces, a deep drive towards underground landscapes and what happens in that context beyond the construction. Masses of people that inhabit these spaces without ever belonging to them or even being aware of their transit through these underground passages absorbed in the daily alienation of large cities.

My latest work has included site-specific installation where I continue exploring on these ideas but tracing these invented maps with cable onto the walls.  These lines that build up mobile cartography are transformed according to its disposition at each new location.

ALEX VARGAS – Vargas is a Chilean Born artist who has has worked as a muralist for clients around Europe, notably at Casa Batllo, a famed Gaudi landmark in Barcelona. Alex has exhibited his work, which explores concepts of matter and its ongoing transformational condition, in Spain and London. Now based in London, Alex’s latest work includes a short film, Field of Dissonance, the first of a cycle of films to explore dimensions of life, evolution and individual experience as eternal processes through large-scale frameworks of time. His influences include the late Roberto Matta and Chilean cinematographer Alejandro Jodorowsky, who incorporates surrealism with direct aesthetic assaults and shocking juxtapositions on the cinema screen. “Film is the ideal art form to explore unfolding processes because they occur over time. Time is the only absolute. Field of Dissonance, I hope, delivers this perspective and, open doors for them and me to make more discoveries in perception.

ArtAttack: How did you become involved with the ‘Latino Life’ exhibition? Is there anything in particular that drew you to the project?

Alex Vargas: ”I was runner up Latino Visual artist of the year 2015 at the Lukas Awards I like the idea of recognising my condition as a Latino, not as a way to find roots if not as one part of many condition as a person that belongs to a global identity, where different cultures interact and make our identity even more rich. I was born in Chile, South America. I did have a grandmother from French origins. I moved to Barcelona as a teenager, then moved to London with my wife who is from Barcelona. My two kids are born in London; what a diversity. It is beautiful and I recognise my condition as a Latino in London. It is a celebration of diversity. 

AA: How long does one ‘project’ take you and what is your artistic process?

AV: My creative exploration of alternative realities began at age nine when I joined a troupe of clowns that performed on television in my native Santiago, Chile. So in some ways I work in the same project ever since. After studying fine art there and in Barcelona, what change is the medium that I use. I settled in Spain for fifteen years, developing my approach of examining human identity through representations of body parts and organs presented in distorted forms.

I work with a collage technique: human images taken from magazines which I cut and transform into veins decoding the initial image, as if unravelling the human gene and rebuilding the code, to create new images which often become organs.

The symbolic impact of the images challenges the viewer, attempting to convert their consciousness into part of this transformation of the body and perceptions of that body.

My art is informed by this notion: We humans are animals conscious of our own end so this makes us melancholic beings. But we are not even finished humans; we are a process as well as being only part of another process far larger than our own existence, or life, we could say.

I am also interested in alternative spaces involving forms drawn from non-Euclidean geometry and the idea of entering these spaces. These structures do not rely on the sense of space, as we know it; it is a space without limit and which transforms itself in time  –a mutant space. Or rather seemingly mutant if its perceiver has not undergone some necessary transformation which, through my work, I aim to assist in achieving. I believe these spaces should be approached with intent to genuinely enter … perception of art should constitute the preparation for that entry.

AA: Your work is so incredibly unique and it’s clear you have a strong interest in the dimensions of life… Do you feel you see ‘life’ in a slightly different way to others or do you observe people to reach your perspectives?

 AV: I truly believe that as an artist you see life in a different way to others and you are searching in your unique way to observe reality, and how it defines your sociocultural and geographical origins. 

Being born in Chile has marked me. I always perceive its vast, moving mountains as a landscape in construction. The exuberance of its nature seems to incorporate all the elements that form the planet and the fact that its ground moves in eternal seismic shifts makes me feel that reality isn’t solid or fixed. It’s a feeling that endures in me, like the landscape we all make together in culture, forever unfinished. From this unsettled place we call nature or our planet or physical universe is born the idea that we are not an individual thing; only part of a larger evolution always in motion. As a truth that has no solid object to embody it, the notion acquires another dimension, levitates in unlimited forms. It is manifested in ideas that mutate to render melancholy, useless as a state from which to reach them; only poetry normally approaches an expression of this insight. My aim is to make objects, which resonate with that expression; infect my audience with my own fixations and try them to reach my perspective.”

SONIA CIRUELO – Ciruelo is a mixed media artist and mural painter from Barcelona, who juxtaposes acrylic paint mixed with fabric and paper collage on canvas to cumulatively organise the pictorial space. This gradually determines the course of the painting, but not in a methodical way. In her own words: “In my paintings I am always working with ideas of perception and transformation. I have always been fascinated by the way in which microorganisms, the smallest creatures evolve, by how they mutate and transform themselves. That which is almost invisible to humans ends up being perceptible, constituting an impressive spectacle..

ART - sonia ciruelo

ArtAttack: How did you become involved with the ‘Latino Life’ exhibition? Is there anything in particular that drew you to the project? 

Sonia Ciruelo: ”I was a finalist at the Lukas Awards 2015 in the category of Visual artist of the year and had the pleasure to go to the Lukas Ceremony which is an exciting and lively event that Latino Life organises to award the work of Latinos in the UK. 

I am very pleased and excited to be part of the Crouch End Festival this June and be exhibiting at the Jealous Gallery.

AA: Where do you take inspiration?

SC: ”I walk to Hampstead Heath (North London) very often, go for a wander in the middle of the day to think though a painting or about my next creative step. I believe hard work isn’t always productive, I realise that your brain needs periods of inactivity. 

I also get inspiration from film, music and art there is so much to learn from them or get inspired. On my creative process an idea never comes to me suddenly, it sits inside me for a while and then emerges.    

I seek inspiration from everywhere, I like to observe my surroundings acutely, when I am walking down the street, the process of a plant growing, the texture and forms of the fabrics I use on my paintings. I absorb all this information and transform it like an alchemist, trying to created something new, always willing to surprise myself and the spectator.

AA: Can you explain a bit more about your interest in perception, transformation and how microorganisms evolve?

SC: ”I have always been fascinated by the way in which microorganisms, the smallest creatures, they mutate and transform themselves. That which is almost invisible to humans ends up being perceptible, constituting an impressive spectacle. Generally, I juxtapose acrylic paint mixed with fabric and paper collage on the canvas cumulatively organising the pictorial space. This gradually determines the course of the painting, but not in a methodical way. I am working with these ideas of perception and transformation.

– Charlotte Harley

Latino Life is on view at Jealous Gallery North through this Sunday, 19th June; 27 Park Road, Crouch End, London N8 8TE; Monday to Saturday 10am-6pm, Sunday 11am-5pm; Admission: FREE

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