Tique | art paper asks six questions to an artist about their work and inspiration.
This week: Juan Fielitz.
Lives in Montevideo, Uruguay
How do you describe your own art practice?
My research process focuses on the collection, archiving and appropriation of intervened images through the collage technique. I modify archived images and enhance them. I am interested in artists who call into question the technique with which they work or those located at the crossroads of two rivers. Often people ask me if I am a photographer or a visual artist – I never know what to answer. However, I know that I am not interested in artists who divide the waters. Both disciplines are complementary. We cannot understand one without the other.
Which question or theme is central in your work?
I am interested in reproducing the scenes that come to my mind in the moment before a dream. My goal is to create images that evoke the idea of silence. In emptying, abstraction and monumental figures, I find a metaphor for silence. Nevertheless, there is always something that escapes. We always hear something; this is beautiful and scary at the same time.
What was your first experience with art?
My first experience was as an observer. I remember when I was a child (about 7 years old) my grandfather gave me some magazines with a selection of works by German postwar artists: Joseph Beuys, Sigmar Polke, Günter Förg and Gerhard Richter. Those images were kept somewhere in my brain. Later I understood who these artists were.
What is your greatest source of inspiration?
It varies constantly. I consider myself a very curious person, I am interested in architecture, literature, philosophy and human relationships. Paradoxically, the theme on which I researched a while ago is silence and for that I find the right inspiration in music. Ryoji Ikeda is ideal for achieving states of systematic abstraction and Leyland Kirby with the manipulation and deterioration of dance hall music from the 30’s manages to put me in the right place. During my current work I listen to Kirby´s album Selected Memories from the Haunted Ballroom. There are certain analogies between his music and my work, we both handle materials with a heavy load of time.
What do you need in order to create your work?
The most important thing is my workspace: A small isolated space to avoid disturbances, table large enough to observe several images at the same time, good work lamp to work at night, cutters and glue. I always use book images as a starting point: Catalogs, magazines, encyclopedias and mouldy art books that I get at second-hand fairs. For several years I worked in a second-hand bookstore which I think influenced my passion for deteriorated images and the smell of old paper. Every time I open a used book, I enter into a dialogue with its former owners. Finding the right image often depends on the chance the book proposes as a device.
What work or artist has most recently surprised you?