Places / Art 1 month

Interview with Amalia Caputo on the exhibition Headspace and her work

A few days ago, on June 16, the contemporary art gallery and production studio La Plataforma inaugurated the exhibition “Headspace“, featuring the works of artists Amalia Caputo, Janice Sloane, Eugenia Vargas Pereira and Michelle Weinberg. The exhibition, curated by Amalia Caputo, offers to weave through the work of these four artists, threads and conceptual entanglements that reveal different facets of the mental process in which we live in times of post pandemic, environmental crisis and generalized unrest, produced by global conflicts in a broad sense, from the question: how do we women see, feel and think the world?

We have interviewed the creator of the exhibition, Amalia Caputo, in order to unravel the whole world that these artists teach us and the features and textures that this magnificent exhibition transmits to us.

Foto: Oriol Tarridas

 

  • Two years ago the exhibition “Headspace” had been scheduled at La Plataforma Gallery, but it was suspended because of the pandemic. In two years, the world we live in has changed a lot. What will be different in this exhibition compared to the one that was scheduled two years ago?

Headspace was initially scheduled in La Plataforma’s calendar for March 2020, as a proposal that aimed to show the recent work of the four artists that make up the exhibition: Janice Sloane, Eugenia Vargas Pereira, Michelle Weinberg and myself, all women at the “Mid-career” stage in our work. The exhibition’s premise was to think about the process that activates artistic creation within the mental space, understood as a laboratory of experiments, of crossroads of thoughts, revelations and ideas, agitations. With the advent of the Covid-19, Headspace was postponed and with the passage of time – a bit more than two years- new threads of thought were built, and with them, the understanding of a new reality, which we had to take care of and preserve in the face of the unknown and of that hyper-object (Timothy Morton) of evil (a virus coming from nature) that stalked us and translated into a world pandemic. Introspection, reflection on the paradigm shift -before and after the pandemic- and loneliness, took their toll on a large portion of the world’s population. However, as artists, we somehow took advantage of that new mental space by pouring it into the work and into our understanding of the world and the mind (how we see the world). Thus, almost the entire set of works that had initially been selected for 2020 were swapped out for others made during the pandemic, with the exception of Eugenia Vargas Pereira’s set of portraits, which remained untouchable.  On the other hand, Sloane’s and Weinberg’s pieces, as well as mine, revolve more around an inner look, dealing with themes around the self, the human being’s look at himself and his environment, both natural and cultural.

 

Foto: Oriol Tarridas

  • In this exhibition we have the opportunity to see works by four artists, Amalia Caputo, Janice Sloane, Eugenia Vargas Pereira and Michelle Weinberg. What is your proposal?

Headspace was born from the need to think of other possible scenarios, which do not correspond to the reality of the world we know today, based primarily on patriarchal precepts, but rather in an idealized, fantastic, unreal, eloquent and feminine one. Inspired by the ideas of philosopher and linguist Gilles Fauconnier about mental space, the conceptual pairings we are capable of producing, as well as the hidden complexities of the mind and the uses of (visual) language, we maintain with fascination that the human mind is a super powerful inventive machine, which allows us to be able to think and develop ideas that have never existed before, to imagine and create them. This exhibition focused on precisely these mysterious and creative aspects of how our mind operates. Headspace proposes to weave through the work of these four artists, threads and conceptual entanglements that reveal different facets of the mental process in which we live in times of post pandemic, environmental crisis and generalized unrest, produced by global conflicts in a broad sense, from the question: How do we women see, feel and think the world? Accepting the premise that the world was not originally designed by and for us, the works gathered here were produced in a unique historical moment, pre, during and post pandemic, and bring to the table questions about the feminine, the human and our presence on the planet.

 

  • As a curator, how did you come to the idea of elaborating a collective exhibition with Janice Sloane, Eugenia Vargas Pereira and Michelle Weinberg?

When it comes to elaborating or thinking about possible curatorships, I am always interested in trying to show the work of women artists above all -to increase the statistics and visibility of art made by women-, on the one hand, and on the other, to study and closely follow artists whose work interests me for various reasons. In this particular case, there is a particular and professional link between the four of us that has been taking place for many years and it seemed appropriate to gather and review our most recent works in order to generate a visual conversation that could address, from different angles, our particular worldview when making our work as artists. We are mid-career artists, and we all live in the United States, which made it very attractive for me to offer these four proposals in Barcelona and also because each one approaches the feminine and contemporary from a different place, however, we use common languages such as photography, video, drawing and installation.

 

  • Your work in “Headspace” reflects a feminine identity in different forms and textures, what is/are the message(s) you want to convey?

There is no single message (which is what we have had so far, you could say), it is precisely the plurality of voices and views that interests us. Precisely, Headspace is an exhibition that reflects on how we think and build our individual and singular world being women, and that is why I talk about what is the intuitive look. I try to gather words and ways of seeing and understanding the world that start from the feminine, and precisely in opposition to the patriarchal gaze, understood as the world we know today, with all the problems we have today, the post pandemic crisis, environmental, global conflicts etc., which literally and sadly have been generated by the male gender mostly. On the other hand, the understanding of the world from the perspective of other genders has been historically minimized, silenced, made invisible. I am talking specifically about the predominance of white men, colonization, patriarchy and capitalism. I am interested as an artist and as a curator, to put on the table the conception of the creative universe of women (artists), and to reveal how we look and think from our point of view that leads to rethink our presence on the planet from another perspective, less extractive, aggressive and imposing, for a place of creation (mothering), hybridization (co-existence) and respect for life, which I believe, are intrinsic to a “feminine” thought, as we could say. What would the world be like today if women had been the protagonists and leaders of history? And, how can the future world be understood from the prism of multiple genders with equal voices? These are questions that I constantly ask myself, and that I try to reflect on through my work. I think it is urgent to give voices to other possible constructs and imaginaries, where the equation that until today has been predominant gives space to new configurations.

 

  • You confess that your work is the result of analysis from many angles, both photography and memory, because you need to define yourself continuously from them to build and archive those links you carry from Venezuela. What is Venezuela for you?

Venezuela and the social and political process it has undergone in the last 23 years is undoubtedly too long, sad and complex to be explained here in detail, but I must say that, although I did not leave because of the current political situation (since I had left before) the truth is that because of it I have not been able to return. It is a beautiful country, but equally difficult, dangerous, harsh and abusive that has been suffering a progressive deterioration in all its social, economic and political instances. Venezuela has seen 8 million inhabitants leave in what has historically been the largest exodus that has occurred to date in the American continent. Venezuela has lived polarized in two camps (the ruling party and the opposition) under the command of ignorant, inept and corrupt rulers who sail under the flag of a sui generis socialism they invented and who care little more than enriching their coffers ad infinitum and plundering the country and all its riches, which are not few. The country in which I lived – with all its problems – is definitely not the one that exists today, and that is precisely why I continually work with the ideas of belonging, identity, place, memory, and that is also why I am interested in using photography as a discursive tool that can build and contain the memories and narratives that we want to build. Through photography I can understand the world around me and from a distance reconfigure notions that are important such as exile, identity, and above all subjective memory. In the end, the exile or immigrant ends up being from everywhere and nowhere. Through my work I can rethink Venezuela from emotion as well as from reason, because for me it is root and pain, nostalgia and belonging, in equal parts.

 

  • You say that photography is a resource that works today not only as an object of consumption but also as a vital experience of reflection on how we communicate. Is a picture worth a thousand words?

I wouldn’t know if a picture is worth a thousand words, but what is certain is that today the language of images is predominant. Everything goes through the image: social networks, art, new technologies, the visual universe is imposed in all areas: cultural, political, social, etc., as they use images to operate and define who we are today, and it is clear that we live especially with photography and video almost without even thinking about it. In my opinion, the important thing is to stop and think about what the images we coexist with say, and what they say to each other. With the oversaturation of images we face every day, we should reflect on which ones stay with us, in our memory, and why.

 

  • Dean Kissick, editor of Spike Art Magazine, in an article published in The New York Times, recalls that Henri Rousseau and his contemporaries Picasso, Gauguin or Seurat had a visionary role in creating unprecedented artistic realities. With this transformation that we are experiencing in the last decade not only with photography, but with art in general, with the emergence of platforms such as Instagram, Spotify, and recently with the technology of the metaverse, will today’s artists be able to make sense of this new dimension of reality?

Throughout history, artists have been the ones who have reflected and captured the reflections and thoughts of each era, and I don’t see this being any different in the future. Art is one thing and the art market or system is another. The art system will navigate according to and together with the platforms that exist, and if the Metaverse or social networks serve for that purpose, they will use it. Now, art, as such, from its epistemology, has been valued as a barometer of the time in which it is made and as an agent that defines, modifies or validates reality, and has been understood as a field of knowledge, because society (and artists) always operate critically and subjectively through a medium, and with it, they help to give dimension and to the reality we live in.

 

Headspace can be visited at La Plataforma until September 9th from Monday to Friday from 10 am to 7 pm (August closed).