Giulia: Your interest in the animal world is evident since the beginning of your artistic career, but I was surprised when I noticed that in your first artwork you portrayed the human figure. What happened then? Where the human figure has gone? Can you tell me the reason of this change of topic?
Andrea: I realized I’m not interested for the moment in working with human figure. Although I don’t dismiss the possibility of working with it again. I worked with human figure for many years since I was studying fine arts and I got bored of it.G: The animals you model have an inner strength that brings them to be really dynamic. I’m looking at your works exhibited in a white cube space and I’m comparing them with the recent experiments you did in Lumbier. There you exhibited open air, but you had full respect of the environment as you decided to remove all the works installed to prevent a contamination of the soil. In this way, after two months of residency there’s nothing left, but I guess this experience had a strong impact on your personality. Can you tell me how do you feel about this? Weren’t you sad or scared of throwing everything away?
A: For me it was a real challenge to work in the landscape because it was the first time I did that. My work has to do with the respect of nature and that’s why it would be a contradiction to leave the clay there. As I was psychologically prepared for a long time about the idea of throwing everything to the trash, at the moment I did it, it was fine for me. Of course it would have been nice to save this works but I new I couldn’t and I’m very happy with the pictures I took. I guess that one of the qualities of land art is its ephemeral life and that’s also part of its complicity and beauty!G: The work “Landscape” you developed in Lumbier is a reference to the mountains and their shape. I see it through the pictures of the installation. “360 feathers” is another site specific work realized in Spain. All the colors you used have created an evident contrast with the surrounding landscape. Your intervention is not mimetic and it doesn’t hide itself in the nature. Can you explain the reason why you decided to work with pop colors? They seem to underline something, as if they were trying to fill an emptiness. How did they communicate with the nature they habit?
A: I wanted to do some works that could dialogue with its surrounding no matter the color I used. I think that part of the challenge was to be able to connect geometrical figures (as the ones in “Landscape”) and bright colors with thesurroundings and be able to generate an equilibrated contrast and at the same time do something that could connect physically and metaphorically to the landscape. That’s why I decided that the color should have been the protagonist and should have been able to generate a contrast, which gave at the same time a new meaning or “spirit” to the place where the work was installed. The color also, as you say, underlines a specific zone of the landscape I chose, for me it was like trying to write poetry over nature but with shapes and colors.G: Do you think the work you did in Lumbier has something in common with the Land Art?
A: Of Course! I saw a lot of Land Art pictures to get inspired.G: The two main figures we encounter when approaching your work are animals or abstract shapes. They are two distinct spheres that present specific features. The animals have an identity and they are all different one from the other while the abstract shapes come from the same mold and they change just in the colors. When do you feel the necessity to switch from a production to the other?
A: The process of making my animals consists on modeling a first copy and then making its mold. I can use it to reproduce a figure several times, but making every copy differently, in order to see some differences. After a while I started paying attention to the molds of the animals I was doing and I realized I needed to do something with them. That’s how I started thinking about reproducing part of this molds with clay so that these “meaningless reproduction tools” could have a new aim and could be transformed into art pieces by themselves. When I started working with them, little by little abstraction started to take place in my work and I saw that there were new and interesting possibilities. I also discovered that, in one hand, I could continue working with my “animal/nature concern” but in a less literally way, by using the negatives of the animals I modeled and also, new ideas started to came to my mind. Not only I could work with animal shape molds, but also, I could work straightly with abstraction and geometry so that a new and maybe completely different project could be done, inspired of course on this molds I had. And for this type of project I needed to work with molds: making the mold of the mold of some animal or other interesting shapes I did, then reproducing them in clay, then making the mold of the mold of the mold… and finally trying to make a difference in each piece by intervening the shape of each one in a very subtle way so that they look like they are the same, but none of themis the same as the other. So my work now doesn’t have to do only with animals and nature, but I’m discovering new and different possibilities that also can be done with ceramics but that will probably have completely different meanings. And that’s what I love about art!G: How’s the experience of a residency abroad? Lumbier is totally different from Tokyo. What are the advantages and the disadvantages of being isolated from the chaos?
A: Advantages: Having extra time to work on your own. With the help of the silence and the isolation I had the opportunity to connect with myself in a deeper way so new inspiration came to me. When you are surrounded by stress, to many people, to many information, too much to be done, it’s very hard to get connected with your own art and feelings, so this was a good chance.Disadvantages: Loneliness and cold weather really affected to my mood somehow. I felt lonely sometimes because the other artist in residence arrived a month later than me. I think my energy went slowly to a “low battery mood” and that affected a lot to the production I was making.
Andrea Rodríguez Vial, Spring 2018 artist-in-residence at Calle Mayor 54.