Presented by Gallery Victor Lope, lodged the unique frame that only the city of Barcelona can provide, a solo show of Gustavo Díaz Sosa‘s work provides us a perfect chance to get to know the artist better. Please enjoy some images and ideas conceived for this occasion, discussed in his very own words.
This monographic exhibition of yours has a great title, would you mind explaining your choice to us?
Nowadays, we are individuals who are part of a Whole. This Whole, Society, is full of mysteries and successes which sometimes go unnoticed by most of its functioning parts. Like sheep, and in a gregarious way, everyone joins the flow that leads to consumerism; steeped in shallow knowledge and others’ tastes it can be difficult to choose the right path or find a proper sense of life for ourselves. It is because of this that, in a poetic way, I represent an anonymous crowd, lost and guided along the path that someone with more power has designed for his convenience.
Most of us, blinded by the comparison between equals, competition, ambition, cravings for power and possession; trying to elevate ourselves and touch some form of His Glory by dealing in clichés and hiding in agglomerations, ceasing to be authentic and to take part in new stratagems. But not all know (nor want to), see or understand how regrettable the situation is. This is why, as a simile of the warnings of Saint John in his Revelation, I convene the public to find the truth, but to do it, they must take away the bandage that blinds them and know how to use their authentic eyes…”If anyone has ears, let him hear!”, “If anyone has eyes, let him see!”
Your sketchbooks are prominently on view, how do you work and what paths lead you from ideas to finished compositions?
My notebooks and sketches display the constant and unceasing search for myself. It is my way of liberating myself from the bandage, which I just mentioned, that blinds humanity. Usually I never expose my notebooks, no. On this occasion, though, exceptionally, I let the public have access to the research process that leads me to final renderings. It’s in the notebooks where you can find the real work of art. It is the thought unveiled in ink. It is the voice that echoes outrageously in my brain, looking for and fighting to find the truth.
My artwork is constant, is the continuous reflection of myself as an individual and as a social being, and, consequently, as the society I’m part of. These notebooks are the tool I use to rub my eyes clean. The notebooks are the spontaneous instant, the eruption, the outbreak…The final work, the canvas or the sculpture, is just the finished image, already consolidated, of a thought or an idea. The process of creation on a canvas is an enrichment ritual, a fight, almost esoteric and of a great metaphysical connotation, which materialises the thought in a physical object, and this way the work that later will be given over to the public is born.
What art historical references fuel your creativity, and what inspires you?
Regrettably, this is the most classical question when interviewing an artist. I always avoid replying to it or cross my fingers so no one asks me that. I don’t consider my muses the ones that the public, journalists or critics expect to hear. Nonetheless, I try to please the interlocutor using German expressionism as my main reference, because it is the most obvious one. For example, I reckon Fritz Lang has caused a ruckus in the aesthetic and conceptual evolution of my work. So has Anselm Kiefer and other significant representatives of film noir and German expressionism. I also have to mention the literature of George Orwell, Franz Kafka, Goethe, Dante, Schiller, and lots more.
I can’t not mention the South-African William Kentridge, or the American artists trading in new figuration. But if I want to give a complete response, I can’t ignore the work of Leonardo and the mysteries of his notebooks, or the unbeatable drawings of Michelangelo, or simply the never-ending narrations of El Bosco…But if I want to be even more honest, I must confess that the architecture of Antiquity and its mysteries are a bigger source of inspiration…
What specifically about the visual arts appeals to you and how does the outside world affect your work?
In the visual arts, I just try to communicate, unveil, transmit, materialise, discover and experiment through my thoughts and emotions. I don’t look for anything specific, I find everything along the way. I consider my work as intimate and, honestly, I find it hard to share it with the world. Nonetheless, I feel like it’s accomplishing its duty towards society and it would be unfair to not share with others the fascinating stories I discover in it.
I don’t intend to do anything with my artwork. My ambition is only to have the chance to keep on creating in a sincere way and, consequently, continue that search with myself, connect with the Universe, and stay out of the flow originated by those who don’t want to see. I try to cultivate the virtue of Being in this investigative process and I consider that this way I contribute to the illumination of society.
What is your dream as an artist and what do you see yourself doing in the future?
My dream as an artist is to always be able to create whenever I wish to, that this creation is honest and that I can have all the time I need to finish the artwork. As any other artist, I’ve wished that someday my work will be appreciated on the walls of big museums or art galleries, but it’s not my ambition, nor my greatest dream. My dream is not having limits to create. To have time and enough materials for infinite creation. Creating is to me a process of education, permanent learning and personal overcoming; so not having limitations to work is the only thing I desire. Where are my steps taking me? I don’t know. I don’t know where the path I’ve chosen will pass by in the future, but I trust it’s leading me to the light.
Diana di Nuzzo