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EXTRACT is an online section where we share some of the texts published by Temblores Publicaciones, Terremoto’s publishing house. We present the ninth extract of this section, “Our Houses: A conversation with Dorothée Dupuis, Larissa Garza, and Isa Carrillo” from the catalog La diosa verde, Reloaded. This catalog gathers artworks by more than twenty international artists in order to generate a dialogue with the public, and the environment that hosted them, the Museo de Arte de Zapopan. The multiplicity of voices, bodies and organisms that inhabit the tongues we use and the world that surrounds us invite to disarticulate and question categories cemented from art and fantasy.
Our Houses: A conversation with Dorothée Dupuis, Larissa Garza, and Isa Carrillo
Dorothée Dupuis: I’m interested in knowing what the production experience for the exhibition was like for you, how do you link your work to the exhibition in general and to other practices? In your work, it seems to me, there are several themes that intersect, such as the relationship with plants, the politics of care, creating community, among others.
Larissa Garza: In the pieces there is an alliance with the elements. When I go to water the sweet potatoes, I reach the planter and walk to your piece, Isa. I literally have to carry the water in it, and in my piece, I have to light the fire.
Isa Carrillo: Yes, this homage to the elements is also present in the artistic practice itself. The air is the idea that comes first followed by the action that is the fire, and then the materialization that is the earth, thus becoming a product. When you do this, Larissa, like the small ritual of lighting a candle, you are also complementing your piece, you are aware of the elements. I think you can see them fully in the exhibition.
DD: If the exhibition were an element, what do you think it would be?
IC: Well, earth predominates because there is more materialization, but there is also a lot of air. It’s like a connection of different airs, of different worlds, beyond the cultural difference between artists. In The Green Goddess Reloaded I felt, but not to the point of tears, that water would be the element for me. The air in the exhibition makes you change. Air is opposed to feeling, they are opposite elements; if you are crying you can’t talk, and when you talk you stop feeling because you are putting air in it. I think each piece takes you to different worlds and elements. There are many dialogues between the artists, they mix with each other.
LG: I felt a lot of freshness, I think seeing this exhibition in the city was refreshing in many ways. It opened just a year after we were confined by the pandemic, and touring it after that confinement felt like going out into the garden after a drizzle. To witness the works of all these artists in a space that brings nature to the table, in this very specific moment that we are living as humanity, it feels like a great sigh.
DD: In my curatorial practice it is important to put in dialogue different processes of artistic production. To see how the artists are going to relate their bodies of work to each other, but also to their previous artistic practices; as well as to link them with the space where they socialize and the public with whom they interact.
IC: I don’t know if it happens to you, but for an exhibition what I think of first are the visitors, more than the other artists. I think a lot about the people who are going to visit the show, because when it’s a gallery I know that collectors or friends are going to go, it’s just stuff for walls, something to be observed; but when it’s for the public I feel it should be something more interesting. You can’t stop thinking that it’s going to be for children, for gentlemen, aunts and uncles, I don’t know, people who may or may not be familiar with art.
LG: Yes, there is a lot of this in my process as well, and I think it is one of the most important parts of my work. I draw on the relational and participatory in a lot of my work. My energy when producing focuses on paying very close attention to all the people who might stand in my work, to find and use languages that are light and familiar to translate my works , and to make sure they feel my door is always open, inviting them to create, leave, or take something away. Once the piece is assembled, I turn to see what the others have done. This is one of the moments I appreciate the most, just looking around and seeing the exhibition as a whole, I enjoy it very much.
DD: I am struck by the idea that nature is untouchable. I think that our relationship with the environment must be problematized and that is a central axis within the exhibition. As artists, how do you situate yourselves around this and what you are doing at that moment? What is the point of art, why do we do it? From where does it arise? These are questions I ask myself as a curator. I would like to know how you approach within your personal practice, but also within your community. Why do we do this and not something else?
LG: Several things come to mind. For example, the freshness that the exhibition gives me, and I know I’m not the only one who has perceived it this way. It has a lot to do with Guadalajara in a pandemic context. It hadn’t happened much, and when it did, it felt stale, and it’s exhausting, that’s why it’s important for me to isolate myself, to set limits. I continually ask myself why I want to be and why I think it’s important, and I keep coming back to a sticker I designed years ago (when I didn’t even participate that much), which said “more trans bodies in art”. So, now that I am exhibiting at the MAZ, it is perhaps fulfilling my past self, but also betting on the future, on exposing my body and speaking from these other places that interest me and that of course takes a lot of emotional and energetic effort.
IC: I had never done an installation, nor an embroidery of this size. I also wondered if it had not become outdated, because it had been a year since I imagined it, but it didn’t lose its meaning, quite the contrary. I look at my Isas of the past and I find things that embarrass me, but I leave them there so I don’t forget them. Some have become very dark, very dense, but I remember that season and they are well aligned with life too, I can’t detach them. I feel very responsible, if I had been a public accountant I would feel the same responsibility.
DD: And what is your responsibility?
IC: My responsibility has to do with what I give birth to and with what I am creating. I associate the creation of my pieces with giving life to something, you imagine it and then you give birth to it; I try to always review what I have done so as not to forget my processes because I know they will change. If I’m giving birth to a child-piece, it has an energy and it’s better to birth it without tension, because I know it is for someone else to see it, to criticize it, to like it or to resonate with it… Art, up to this moment, was given in a very phallic, very material way; but this process of the ejaculated object is crumbling and with it comes a responsibility as an artist to create something, which also demands respect for those with whom I coexist, I must think about how to make my energy coexist with others.
DD: I also wonder, how do you defend your territory? How can you, from art, claim a place in coexistence with other convex energies? What possibility of space does your piece generate?
LG: I think the possibilities are many, depending on your point of view. My work is a kind of detonator to remember what’s Important, it is an invitation to pause, to go to our center, to connect with that which gives us life, with what surrounds us, with that knowledge we all have but we forget because we live at high speeds or because of the systems in which we develop. This piece has been a crucial point for me, for my research on the reciprocities with life, death, and the processes that cross us day by day. To see how the sweet potatoes are growing and taking more space, climbing everywhere, overflowing, speaks a lot about where I am in my life and my career. I just perceive my works with a life of their own, my main tool would be listening to the life they have. I’ve always known that they are going to take their own course and I try to trust in it, that is how my processes are being carried out.
DD: Our participation in the art system is relative. We work from and with art because it seems to us a tool for apprehending the world, which allows us to negotiate the affections and concerns we have about our presence in this world. In this sense, it is a very esoteric way of seeing things. It is a filter, a language. Do you still believe in the power of art? What can art do today?
IC: There is also an intention, everyone knows their own particular intention. What gives consciousness to the artistic endeavor is where you take it from.
LG: I think about this a lot every day, literally. And yes, I believe that art has the power to lead us to search for more possibilities, both as an artist and as an audience. As an artist, I know that there is meaning in participating because there is a response to what I choose to create and offer. That response often comes from the work itself, from collaborations, from the public, or even from where I would not have imagined that a response could be issued, and to receive the answers you have to be open.
IC: To be able, perhaps, to generate something new towards art, because the classical construction has already collapsed, something is emerging there.
Photographic credit: Itzel Hernández