PAINTING’S TIME . JAVIER DÍAZ-GUARDIOLA

You choose not to describe your work as artistic “creation” preferring instead to emphasize the constructive process. My oeuvre comes from regarding paintings as promiscuous. I conceive reality as the result of crossing and multiple reconstructions. What is here today will have disappeared or changed by tomorrow. I perform my work in relation to idea. I aim is to rework the process of a painting into constant formation, reconstruction and recycling; a permanently changing painting which act as a method for understanding the transient condition of the contemporary world. You apply the basis principle of thermodynamics to your work: producing pieces that are simply transformed as opposed to created or destroyed. Is this a way of giving unsuccessful works and material a second chance? I find your comparison with thermodynamics an interesting one, since that principle, moreover, hinges on the balance of the transformation of one thing into another. Balance is one of the fundaments of my process, but I must be careful about how I use this term. I do not use the word in relation to the compositional aspect of the work, but rather to describe a system that operates as a kind of volume adjuster of the pieces produced and of its trials, leftovers and waste. All the leftovers that come out of my work deserve a second chance to be reinterpreted, adapted and revisited. It is still a sign, regardless of whether it is destroyed or deconfigured. This makes me think of a kind of natural selection by which works from this cycle enter to form part of the collection of a museum or a collector. Are you driven to continue combining by the quest for the perfect piece?  My pieces are in a state of constant change, they undergo a constant metamorphosis in which the notion of a finished piece can only exist temporarily. This temporal stability usually coincides with the short period during which the pieces are exhibited, which is the only time in which I do not interact. If someone is interested and buys one, then the piece is closed. If not, they return to the studio and are entered once again into the restructuring process. In other words, I never exhibit a final, unchangeable result, but rather a thought based on a moment or a state. As regard perfection, my work has moved gradually away from that. Nowadays I have ruled it out of my purpose. In fact perhaps perfection for painting is in the action of its metamorphosis, as Didi-Huberman said. I am happy to look for the perfect concord between change, thought and moment. The other category in which your pictorial work fits is DIY. DIY works in my painting not so much as a technique, but more as a work method. As a process it grants one an infinite range of actions: one may bend canvases, split stretchers, screw and drill in places… transforming the two dimensional media into a three-dimensional piece it this fashion and leading me to explore territories such a as sculpture and installation. These resources allow me to transform painting into a kind of all-in-one tool. You use this to criticize the flat quality of paintings and the restrictive edges of the frame. What are the consequences of painting when it acquires volumetric substance? I would look to Didi-Huberman for an answer again. He speaks about planus in painting as “that which is flat, clear and evident: that which is taken for granted”. Any opposition to the planus moves, therefore, in a borderline area, and tends towards ambiguity. For someone looking only for answers this could be negative, but completely beneficial for someone pursuing the opposite. And by that I’m not referring to someone who does not want answers, but to someone who prefers to generate ten questions rather than one clear and convincing answer. If uncertainty is acquiring but moving outside the planus, then I welcome it. Yet, despite this explanation, your work has been developed in suites processing quite distinct characteristics. I make my work using two different processes. In the first there is a direct line from the idea to the making of the piece. I have produced many pieces using this process, including, among others, the entire suite about American minimalist artists and the suite exploring the representation of the sky. The second one process emerges from the first, as the pieces created are generated from its trials and rejects. This second process includes the suite called “Mensajes”, the suite of signs and any new manifestations that I still don’t know where I’m going to put. While my first line is quite rational, the second arises from intuition and is devoid of prior conception. When it comes to exhibiting them, the pieces do not arrive immune to the venue, but rather the exhibition space determines their final appearance. This adds an installational dimension to the piece. Installations and temporality are aspects I have started to work with recently. Beforehand, I pondered at length the construction of the pieces, and even the way they should be arranged. I used to feel panic at not having finished the pieces for an exhibition. It was after the project “Cabeza hueca” for the show called “Un nuevo comienzo”, that my concept of finished work started to disintegrate. Pieces “finished” in the studio started to coexist with new approaches that emerged from the leftovers, trials and errors inside the actual venue. All of them have the purpose of inhabiting the space. You had a show here previously. How does it feel to return again to a space you are already familiar with? It’s curious. I chose this venue for my solo show because of its spatial sense and the nature of the works I wanted to display. With regards to Circuitos, It is like coming back to a space I control, which as a very human quality about it. However, I’m now working on ideas that are left hanging in the air. While in the previous exhibition the space enveloped the works, in this one I challenged the work to make the space. It is a different struggle with space. In the titles of your pieces there is an abundance of allusions to the giants of contemporary art, such Donald Judd, Rothko and Dan Flavin. Many of them wanted the work or art to attain zero meaning. I defend the opposite. For this reason, I don’t know if one could regard these works as homage. My own approach is closer to a type of perversion of their styles. On occasions I criticize their view of painting and I trivialize their structures. On other occasions, I use them as references to contribute something, generally something narrative, which they would have abhorred. I take the aspects that most interest me from their works and adapt them to my terrain. We have focussed on your pictorial work, but you also have produced some very intimate drawings. Drawing is a tool that brings me closer to the idea of making space, of building. In addition, the third process of my oeuvre, which never leaves my studio and which I don’t’ talk about much, is related to drawing: an exploration-drawing attached to the roots of my artistic thesis and which possesses a great deal of uncertainty. I think that these manifestations now warrant a degree of exposure, at exactly the same time I am starting to advocate the exercise and failure at the core of artistic endeavour. ■

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Painting’s time” is the interview done by Javier Diaz Guardiola to Guillermo Mora for the group exhibition XX Circuitos at the Centro de Arte Joven of the Comunidad de Madrid, october 2009.