LLUÍS CERA: EXPERIENCES, FEARS AND DESIRES AN UNCERTAIN TIMES
Hello Lluís, we open this adventure with you as artist of the month, so you can tell us something about your work. But first, tell us how you deal with this "Shutdown" where you can´t leave the house for a long time. How do you feel mentally and can you work in any way despite the circumstances?
Hello Carmen, we are coping well with the restriction, I live with my wife and my two daughters in an apartment in Barcelona. In contrast to Germany, the pandemic in Spain spread quickly and virulently among the population, with a very high increase in deaths. The first thing that was ordered was the closure of all shops and the cancellation of all events.
Also, the access to the workplace of many self-employed and workers, should be avoided. During this transitional phase, I felt on my way to work, to my studio 20 kilometers away, how the streets were almost deserted. During this time, I transported two sculptures to be completed and a box of tools by car from the studio to my home every day. As I already suspected that complete isolation would soon follow, I started to add a third sculpture during the transport. The complete "shutdown" in Spain happened on March 30th, when the country's health system was on the verge of collapse. There were hardly any intensive care beds left in the hospitals for the many Covid-19 patients.
From that moment on, the whole family was forced to work at home. My wife can do home office and my two daughters have access to school lessons via video conference. Fortunately, we have a terrace and a small garden, and there I polish and finish by hand the sculptures I brought home by car. So, I can say about the absolute curfew that I can make good use of this time. I also enjoy the close everyday life with my family, where all daily tasks are alternately distributed. Cooking, cleaning, shopping or the common gymnastic exercise in the living room.
-Do you think that this experience will influence your future work? About the topics or the way you understand the work? And economically?
Certainly. If, as with most artists, all works have an autobiographical component, then our experiences, fears and desires are always reflected in the works we create. All exhibitions and fairs I had planned have been cancelled. Therefore, it is difficult to make a forecast at the moment. But one thing is clear: the promotion and sale of art, must currently run mainly through the social networks on the Internet. The galleries will also have to try to promote their exhibited works in this way. But the final acquisition of a work will remain an intimate and joint act between the buyer, the gallery and the desired physical work. Unfortunately, the third dimension of the sculptures in digital images is difficult to perceive, all their qualities and details are lost if they are not viewed live and their surface cannot be seen.
Nevertheless, I cannot complain. Many questions are currently reaching me about the sculptures: Which materials were used? Is the sculpture allowed to stand outside? What text is on the work? Can the sculpture currently be delivered? These were the most frequent questions I received from the gallery during these days, in greater numbers than before the isolation.
Ultimately, in this pandemic, we are focusing more on the things that are closest to us and that surround us. We are concerned with the objects that accompany us or that we leave behind in our lives. The most superficial things such as our external appearance, fashion and posture are becoming less and less important. We find ourselves in a time in which we begin to question many things.
-The works in the exhibition we are showing combine stone, usually marble, and iron or steel. Despite such different materials, you manage to create a personal harmony that identifies you. Technically, it's not easy either. Why and at what point in time did you decide on this material combination?
At a very young age I worked as an apprentice in a workshop. I made stone or marble sculptures for other artists.
There I learned very well the technique of carving, the surface texture and the qualities I could get out of these materials. But until then I was never attracted by the aesthetic challenge that these materials presented. It was only when I started studying at university that my curiosity for the use and confrontation with different materials began. I decided to combine iron and stone in knot forms, something that no one had ever done before. These challenges and my own biography make the kind of sculpture that identifies me in a very personal and recognizable way.
-Normally you integrate text or scores into your work. What motivates you to do this?
I believe that the inclusion of the text is due to two very personal events in my life. The first was a coincidence: I wet polished a marble sculpture on an old newspaper. The newspaper text, or rather the ink of the text, impregnated the marble so strongly that I could not remove it. From this experience and the development I made from this technique (better inks, acids and computer deformation of the text into the desired form), I have achieved something unique in today's world of art. The second reason was the constant admission of my mother to a psychiatric clinic. She suffered from severe depressions. In the dedication of my second catalogue, when she had already passed away, I express it briefly:
"To my mother,
wandering through the long passage of a mental hospital when her body chose her. No communication... say nothing"
Hence perhaps all these nodes and texts, like an obsession to communicate. And maybe the music helps me to free everything.