Carlos Fernández-Pello is a teacher, researcher and cultural producer. His work examines codes of representation, mediation in the context of art, education and the make-up of the landscape. He is currently setting up an independent aesthetic research department and is working on a future digital publication on images; he is also cofounder of and a contributor to Aula de Propulsión Escópica.
Vive y trabaja en/Lives and works in: Madrid.
Licenciatura en Bellas Artes, Universidad Complutense de Madrid.
Matching your Surrounding, Libia Castro y Ólafur Ólafsson, Universidad Complutense de Madrid.
Exposiciones Individuales/Solo Exhibitions
Rational Romantic, The Attic, London.
Exposiciones Colectivas/Group Exhibitions
Centro y Periferia, Sala Distrito 9, Madrid. Aptitud para las Armas, Sala Amadís, InJuve, Madrid.
Muestra de Artes Visuales, Injuve, Madrid; Centro Cultural de España, Lima; Centro Cultural de España, Montevideo; Centro Cultural Parque de España, Rosario, Argentina.
Matching your Surrounding, Universidad Complutense de Madrid.
Time Slices, Galería RAS, Barcelona.
Programas de Vídeo/Film Festivals and Screenings
Sesión Continua, Otro Espacio, Valencia.
El patio expandido, Patio Maravillas, Madrid.
Proyectos cinematográficos/Film Projects
Eine Symphonie die Erde, Madrid.
Proyectos Curatoriales/Curatorial Projects
Aptitud para las Armas, Sala Amadís, InJuve, Madrid.
Becas y Premios/Awards and Grants
Circuitos de Artes Plásticas y Fotografía, Comunidad de Madrid, Madrid. (Ayuda a la producción y Selección)
XX Certamen de Dibujo Gregorio Prieto, Obra Social Caja Madrid, Valdepeñas. (Mención de Honor)
Ayuda a la Producción Moncloa-Aravaca, Junta Distrito Moncloa-Aravaca, Madrid.
Revelados 2008, Obra Social Caja Madrid, Madrid. (1er Premio)
VIII Premio Fotografía El Cultural, El Cultural, Madrid. (Selección)
Beca de Producción InJuve, Ministerio de Trabajo y Asuntos Sociales, Madrid. (Grant)
IV Premio Concurso Obra Gráfica, Universidad Complutense de Madrid. (1er Premio/1st Prize)
Obra en Museos y Colecciones/Works in Museums and Collections
Universidad Complutense de Madrid. Obra Social Caja Madrid, Madrid.
Checa Gismero, Paloma, Sobre Dibujando un Espacio, Escópica, s/n, 2009.
Nedev, Kamen, Crash, Waiting for Cargo, s/n, 2009.
Fernández-Pello, Carlos; Solar Abboud, Teresa, La digestión de la vaca, Aptitud Para las Armas, Madrid, InJuve, 2008-09, Cat.Exp.
1. What made you choose art as a profession?
This isn’t actually a choice I’ve made yet. Art is one of the things I do, but I don’t see it as a profession – or at least not yet.
However, it’s no secret that young artists now have to have a professional approach to applying for awards and grants and taking part in contests. From this perspective, my professionalism is somewhat shaky. I play the game like the lottery it is.
2. How would you define your work?
I like to think that the research process doesn’t produce results or conclusions in the form of objects or pieces of work, but shapes reflections and raises doubts. In any case, I don’t think this is only true of my work; it’s part of the nature of art. My pieces have always been delicious excuses.
3. What subjects are you interested in?
Any subject is always too broad and, paradoxically, limits the production of knowledge, since it’s about confirming and ordering things. I’m interested in working on specific, individual cases: when I get into them I increase my knowledge instead of reaffirming it. It expands the meaning.
4. What resources – formal or otherwise – do you use in your work?
Any resources that attract me or which I need. This doesn’t mean that resources don’t matter. Art is about aesthetic exploration and this shapes my work. In fact, one of the things that intrigues me is the confusion between cosmetics and aesthetics today. It’s astounding.
5. What relationship does your work have with reality? What are your raw materials?
I understand that ‘reality’ here means the agreed fiction, the invented codes of the world held up by a certain culture as common to all. This is the only possible relationship I can see, not so much with my work, but with the work of art. In terms of my raw materials, I think that, luckily, artists aren’t digging for oil, even though some might appear to be doing so.
6. What, according to you, is the point of art?
I don’t think there’s a point to art. Images are no longer codes for a feeling or an idea; they make up an independent system of interpretation of their own. I think that the image of art is the eloquence of the indescribable.
7. How do you hope the public will receive your work? What audience are you aiming at?
I hope they have a healthy interest and are willing to disagree. For me it’s essential to shake our beliefs by dissenting. If I want agreement, I’ve got my friends to turn to. I like to provoke people so they go on the attack and we can have a good debate on whatever’s on the table. This requires respect for the artist and obviously respect for the spectator: even though we use spectators constantly, they’re not uncultured. Slouching in front of the TV is also culture.
8. What qualifications have you got? What do you value most from your time in education?
I had a Judaeo-Christian upbringing, which I value positively.
9. How would you define your current professional situation? And in the future?
My professional situation is basically a game of chance and the symbolic production of capital. Working for free is the norm for young artists, although you’re told to try and get the best deal for yourself. Amongst other things I work for free setting up a digital publication and a research department and I collaborate with groups like Aula de Propulsión Escópica. I live off a loan from the State.
10. Many artists say it’s difficult to make a living from their work; how do economic considerations affect you when it comes to work? Do you think this has a bearing on your work?
This is obviously true; the economy is the new religion.
11. What do you look for or expect from your relationship with promoters and curators? What advantages and difficulties have you found with these relationships?
I look for a horizontal relationship with respectful, critical debate that gives meaning to the word ‘collaboration’. A context like this offers enormous possibilities for exchanging knowledge and expanding meaning. To my mind, artists increasingly have to play the role of promoters, but curators don’t have to be artists. Or perhaps they do, but in a modern sense of an artist with a name and reputation and historicist airs. I’m thinking of the latest work by N. Bourriaud and his “Altermodern”. I’m increasingly drawn to curators who have less in the way of categories and more in the way of processes, but I still think there’s a long way to go.
12. What do you think sets the arts scene in Madrid apart from elsewhere? What would you say are its pluses and minuses?
What characterises the Madrid scene is a chronic, precarious state affecting the whole country, which I thought we were getting over. The old saying that Europe only starts at the Pyrenees is more true now than ever (although if you’re a Catalan or Basque nationalist it starts a bit before).
Nevertheless, a precarious situation offers the opportunity for deeper reflection, which is a rich source of critical thought. However, when we have the chance to create other models we tend to be copycats and just put a fresh lick of paint on past models instead of coming up with new ones. In recent years, things seem to have taken a turn for the better. What worries us all is that this might just be superficial and not come to anything.