Wednesday, September 7, 2011

We chat with Cristina Palacios

Pachamama install 008


We chatted with our current exhibiting artist, Cristina Palacios about her exhibition Pachamama and what inspires her.  If you would like to know more, then come along to our In Conversation program this Saturday 10 September at 2pm.  Cristina will be answering questions and telling us all about how this show came about.

TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF! WHERE ARE YOU FROM?

I was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, South America. I migrated to Australia in 1987.
My interest in materials, colour and patterns comes from my previous profession as a fashion designer.

I have also been exposed for many years to the drama, colour and light of the theatre. My eldest sister was an opera singer and I was exposed for the first time as a six year old to the opera ‘Madame Butterfly’. The experience was a powerful one and it left me with a deep fascination for the exoticism of Eastern cultures.

My works reveal a Latin American sensibility, with strong links to both traditional art and the Neo-concrete movements in Brazil. I am also influenced by traditional Japanese art and my art combines an eclectic range of influences.

This openess is an important aspect of my practice, which aims to communicate notions of energy, transformation and potential across cultures.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR WORK? WHAT MATERIALS DO YOU WORK IN?

The source of my inspiration comes from PACHAMAMA. She is a sacred cosmic living being and a feminine god that is fertile and nurturing. In South American mythology PACHA represents infinity, the feminine spirit of force, the ‘Cosmos’, the divine and the sacred. MAMA means mother, therefore PACHAMAMA is Mother Earth. The infinite aspect is often represented by the use of the circle with no beginning and no end. This endless cycle has captured my interest and attention.

The circle and the spiral form, represents the Universe, evolution and the spiritual growth throughout our lives. The spiral reaches out beyond the circle, and continually transforms.

Pachamama’s Poncho is a work that interprets an imagined story about the birth of the rainbow. I wanted to make up a fictional story about her ability to create. I used craft to convey a sense of femininity, I used colour and a repetitive action to access the subconscious abstract realms.

The poncho is widely worn in South America, and so I based the sculpture on this garment. This version is enormous (850cm x 145cm), and is therefore designed for a figure that is beyond human scale or form. Pachamama’s Poncho was made with acetate ribbon, which is used in the fashion industry to make sequins. I wanted to create a large artwork that evoked the energy and vibrancy of this mythical figure. The acetate had a ‘wow’ factor that suggested new forms and processes. The reflective quality of the material is important because it creates a bright surface, and also reflects the viewer looking at the work.

WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO WORK IN THE MEDIUM THAT YOU DO?

My approach is interdisciplinary; however I am inspired by the hidden potential of unconventional materials, and the spontaneity of drawing practices, particularly within an installation context.

My research attempts to combine a wide range of different materials, processes and influences. This reflects the diverse cultural and personal experiences throughout my life. It has been important to try and incorporate these prior histories within my art practice.

The ready-made and found materials are important in my practice. I have collected discarded objects on a daily basis for many years and incorporated these materials into artworks. I am interested in creating new potential for these waste materials and this reflects my concerns about the superficiality of consumer culture, and our insensitivity towards nature.

Intuition, spontaneity and chance occur through the use of unconventional materials that allude to packaging and the environment, using plastic materials to play with the idea of immateriality, temporality and impermanence.


WHAT ACHIEVEMENT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF TO DATE?

Wining an Award in Tokyo Japan; and being a finalist of ‘The Silk Cut Award’ in 2008, 2009 and 2011.

As a consequence of being a Finalist of the Silk Cut Award 2008, I was invited for the Summer Printmaking Residency at RMIT; which entitled me with the use of the facilities of the printmaking department for the year and an edition of my prints to be kept for the RMIT Collection.

IF YOU COULD COLLABORATE WITH ANOTHER ARTIST, WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHY? WHO INSPIRES YOU?

I would have liked to have the opportunity to collaborate with Louise Bourgeois but unfortunately she passed away last year.

Yayoi Kusama is the other artist that inspires me and my dream would be to meet this amazing artist, one day soon. I visited Yayoi Kusama’s exhibition titled “Mirrored Years’ at the MCA in Sydney. Yayoi has had an enormous influence in my practice, to see her work live was an unforgettable experience. Her versatility and her commitment to art were inspiring. Even though she is in her mid 80’s, she still works every day in her studio in Tokyo.


WHAT'S YOUR WORK PRACTICE LIKE? DO YOU WORK IN A STUDIO/HOME? WHAT GETS YOU IN THE MOOD TO CREATE?

I was lucky enough to have a studio in the city for a period of seven years while studying. That never stopped me working at home as well. My studio is at home now but my most prolific studio is the one in my head which I call my ‘virtual studio’, it never stops, especially when I’m sleeping.

I get inspired by nature and life in general, especially under tumultuous times.


IS THERE A SOUNDTRACK TO YOUR CREATIVITY? DO YOU HAVE MUSIC OR SILENCE?

My taste in music is very eclectic; I listen to classical, Opera, Pink Floyd, Gotan Project, Tango…etc…etc…. . Sometimes only silence will do….depends on my mood.


WHAT DO YOU THINK PEOPLE WILL TAKE AWAY WITH THEM FROM SEEING YOUR WORKS

My aim is to share my interpretation of the spirit of the land, to engage and transport the viewer to universal landscapes. The content of these works can elicit a sense of journey which parallels my own travels.

I hope that these works evoke a sense in the viewer of the varied experiences, in relation to an appreciation of difference and similarity in culture and personal identity; a journey that started for me some 9 years ago, as seen through the eyes and sensibilities of a Latin American artist.

My goal is to build a cultural bridge without the boundaries of place, race or colour. I wish to unite exchange and enrich myself and others that is my commitment.


WHERE DO YOU WANT TO BE IN 10 YEARS TIME? WHAT'S YOUR DREAM?

I’m not a commercial artist but what I would love in 10 years time is; to be one of the most ‘expensive female artist’.

Why you may ask? My dream is to be able to fund with my art a few self-sufficient farms in different countries in the world to house homeless children. To be able to care, teach, nurture and give them some sense of belonging.

That’s my dream…I like to dream big…it costs me nothing….

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