Curator & Art
Alicia Paz is a marvellous artist from Mexico, her artwork explores the femenine universe, working with several techniques. She has recieved many awards and she has exhibited in many countries in the world. She was in the last SUMMA art fair in Madrid with the “Gallery Dukan”. Duas could speak with her, and this is what she told us.
Many artists are autodidact. In your case, how did you start with your artistic training?
My artistic training is a mix of many different experiences, autodidacts and formal/academics. I always like drawing and painting, and when I was a child in the school I spent hours making projects for art class, and I did them more complex and ambitious than it was needed. Monterrey, the place where I was raised, is a very industrial city where there weren’t that many museums or art galleries by that time; but we travelled each summer to California to visit my mother’s relatives, and there we visited art collections time to time. But, above all, the physic experience and the ‘visual panorama’ from each place were
completely different. Later I got the chance to study in UC Berkeley, in the School of Fine Arts in Paris, in Goldsmiths College and in the Royal College of Art back in London. I could take advantage of some scholarships and some awards during my studies, which supported me in a finance and moral way. Also, thanks to all these academic experiences in different countries I could get in touch with artists from all over the world, and get used to different art scenes.
Last year you were awarded with an Art prize in France. How did it feel to live that experience?
The Nicolas Feuillatte Award, that I received last year, allowed me to create works more ambitious in production terms, and work with assistants. With that help, I could produce more artistic works, since my artistic process are really laborious and they take quite time to finish.
We have seen that you have a really important artistic background. How do you consider that your work has been developing?
My work has evolved throughout the years due to the influences ofdifferent cultures I’ve lived with. From Mexico, I think I got the taste of color and the dense and baroque ornamentation. From California, the enjoyable and ironic Pop Art influenced me; and, in the same way, there were influences by the Asian culture (because of the big present of China and Japan in the West Coast of USA). During the years I spent in Paris and Germany, I got the interest of Rococo art, because of its theatrical aspects that play with artifices and mannered ways. Lastly, London marked myself because of its eccentricity and boldness of its art scene, and for its gothic taste.
Great part of your work is characterized by the combined use of different materials and techniques like painting and collage. Which techniques and materials do you feel most confortable with?
In relation to the materials, I like to use a mix of oil, acrylic and texture elements (plastic beads, glitter, “collages” of paper or photograph) to create optical illusions of shadows and deepness, almost like a bas-relief, thanks to the “trompe-l’oeil” effects. Maybe, the diversity of materials that I use and the different pictorial languages that I manage simultaneously reflect my cultural nomadism.
The vast majority of your characters are women who represent different feelings and emotions, as long as some duality. Is the female universe something important in your work?
The female universe is something really important in my production. My artistic work states female characters who exploreidentity as something multiple and in constant transformation. People from utopian and fantastic environments, mannered characters who I believe talk about fashion, collage, Pop Art and surrealism, as long as horror, literature and science fiction. The female figure as a metaphysic model of identity that exemplary shows notions of otherness, multiplicity, change and hybridity. The woman figure, that potentially can be “two” (within the pregnancy), appears opposed of the man figure (male), in which, as the Kant’s philosophy proposes, identity is more permanent and the ‘ID’ is autonomous, always different and separated from the ‘Other’.
The message that your audience receives from each one of your projects is really diverse. We would say that, depending on who is looking at it and what has lived, that person would see reflected in that work different aspects; due to your work having many metaphorical and symbolic aspects. How would you describe your work and what you are trying to approach with it?
I am interested in represent the female figure usually as an artist, author and like a monster at the same time, because the three of those roles share some self multiplicity and a liminal position, in the border of different worlds. On one hand, the biologic potentially of woman navigates between the ‘ID’ and the otherness, integrating both aspects. On the other hand, the artist constantly looks for the otherness and the difference. Lastly, the monster is often a hybrid and multifaceted being. These characters “triple” work as alter egos and point to existential and feminism questions. They emerge as amphibians from a kind of “post-cognitive swamp” formed by painting and mud, in which coexist organic processes of growth, decay, and rhizomatic parasitic relationships.
You are Mexican, work in French galleries and live in London. It’s a curious combination of cultures. Is that reflected on your work in a conscious way?
The double Mexican and American culture in which I lived the first period of my life has a lot to do with the hybridity and multiplicity of my work nowadays.
In your works you combine sculpture, collage, painting, etc. It is obvious that it exists a creative process, which requires moments of reflexing. But, how do you set each piece and how long does it take to elaborate it?
I work on several different projects at the same time, and I have two studios, a little one in my house and another bigger outside. Also, I work a lot when I am in the subway travelling from different places (London is huge and everything is far away from you), either it is cutting paper or images, or writing down new ideas. At least, it takes me a month to end each work, and I rather not to work in a hurry. It is better if I take all the time I need to see my process in an objected way, and think…
Translated by: Vicky Mancebo