March 19, 2021 – May 20, 2021
Thoughts on GUATA MAI DUIN
The construction of the “self” as an artist is something that travels through different fields within the artistic imaginary, however there is one in particular that I have paused to think about: How do we deal with our self-esteem as we build our career as artists? The way in which this relates to work and its recognition, I believe, are completely linked.
It is clear that work has an impact on many people’s self-esteem, not just in art. While we might see on the wall of a chef or a dentist, diplomas hanging throughout their office or workplace, how does an artist perceive their own achievements, and how do they work to achieve them?
What interests me about self-esteem is that it is something beneath what we see.
What we get to see in an exhibition, in a portfolio or in a presentation, is what the artist has already assumed of him/herself, but the way he/she presents him/herself to the world sounds somewhat objective, depersonalized. Something that no longer belongs to the artist, but they managed to put it into motion, give it a focus and share it with others. Many opt for a strategy of work, research and diffusion to place their work in the desired place. However, it is interesting to consider how the paradigm of contemporary art delimits the ways to “professionalize” as an artist.
Beyond thinking that this professionalization will obey the demands of the market, translated into well-designed portfolios, complex research, and impeccable exhibitions, what interests me is the idea of having a “critical outlook” as a requirement within this professionalization. A way to “complexify” the practice.
One could say that in order for there to be a belief in such a requirement, there would have to be a prejudice on my behalf regarding what is supposed to be done. And this is where the personal issues that motivated the pieces of the project come in. The way we perceive our work in order to present it to others plays an important role in self-editing. I always felt very divided when presenting my work as an artist, I even divided my work into several parts, and I still do to this day. What was that more spontaneous and plastic part, I left out of my portfolio unless it was a project of greater “relevance”.
In that self-editing of the “relevant” is where I understand that in reality, there is also censorship. There is something that I don’t know what it is, but it functions as this phantasmagoric identity, which judges me and leads me to self-criticism to the point of completely giving up on the idea. That identity also contains fears. Fear of the idea of turning a social problem into a “subject”. Fear of knowing that I can do more and that i’m not doing it. Fear of just doing nice things. Fear of having superficial or hypocritical intentions. Fear of being mediocre without realizing it. Once a week, I find myself in an agonizing anxiety about everything I should be doing and what I’m not accomplishing as an artist. I have to say also that there are gusts of wind where I feel on top and I like myself.
And I actually think that this identity is an abstract construction on figures such as a curator, academic, panelist, artist and anyone else who might hypothetically pass judgement on me. I find myself constantly comparing myself to the work of others, and I think self-editing work is extremely necessary and enriching. But there’s something that clicks for me every time I think about it: that the subjectivity which gives relevance to our projects, indeed, has to do with various factors, but in many of the occasions it’s taking that leap of trusting your own decisions. Buying your own ideas. And I say buy, because in the end it is a transaction that requires self-esteem and vanity.
All of this may sound like a rather self-absorbed way of looking at art, but on the other hand I no longer find a sense in talking about things that are not part of my own context. And I’m giving myself the moment to fully inhabit my work concerns.
In that sense, I made this series of ceramics in which I allowed myself to splash around in the pool, to further develop the plastic art that for a long time I used in a contingent way and to give it a central focus. GUATA MAI DUIN on one hand took the uncertainty of paralysis to its appropriation and conquest. That conquest meant materializing the accumulation of concerns, infinite and schizoid voices. And to think of them in a pictorial way, making an equation between painting and ceramics, taking this last one to a two-dimensional format.
One of the things that helped a lot was that since Bruno and Dani—managers of Interior 2.1—placed their absolute confidence in my work, they gave me a kind of torch, which although it meant a great responsibility, at the same time it was already loaded with gasoline so that the work would not stop.
Something that remains to be said is that the way in which I presented the exhibition to the public during the show was to talk about it as a kind of parenthesis to my work as an artist. However, what I have concluded is that this parenthesis is widening more and more, to the point where I will probably have to understand that this is not a parenthesis at all but is more like a new book.