NO MORE PIZZA
29 February 2008, Cervera de los Montes
If Partido Popular’s candidate for the presidency of the Spanish government Mariano Rajoy wins the elections, he will make us – the immigrants in Spain - to sign a contract where we have to promise to respect and follow the Spanish customs. Mr. Rajoy hasn’t explained very clearly what these customs are but I’m afraid that he obligates us to go to watch bull fighting on Sundays. Mr. Rajoy has also promised bigger police forces. If the police sees an immigrant eating pizza – foreign food – he well be repatriated immediately.
Should Partido Popular win the elections, I’m going to leave the country. I want to live in the free world where the immigrants have human rights and I can have sushi, Scotch and Swedish meatballs. I think I’d head to Cyprus where the communist Dimitris Christofias won the presidential elections last week.
SITE SENSITIVE SKIN
26 February 2008, Cervera de los Montes
I proposed that the title of my show in Paris could be Human Rights Damage Our Economy, one of my most effective slogans. My gallerist Emilie liked it but, for my surprise, she doesn’t want to translate it to French.
Now I’m drawing new pieces for a show that Raúl curates in Mexico City, he does want all the texts in Spanish and Latino things. I’m also working with some drawings inspired by the Russian consumer goods I got from Bert for the show which Eeris curates in St. Petersburg, although he originally chose some Spanish speaking drawings for it. I think nobody would get them.
I want to be site sensitive – deal somehow with the local issues - when I do a show. Burgers for the United States, freedom for China, French fries for France… Sometimes it can be very superficial to work with a cultural and political context that I don’t know. Maybe shipping the same ideas from a site to another is more honest, although it sounds terribly modernist.
RANGE ROVER SPORT V8 SUPERCHARGED
22 February 2008, Cervera de los Montes
Range Rover Sport V8 Supercharged is effortless on-road, legendary off-road. Every inch of its athletic, muscular body has been designed with aerodynamics and exhilarating performance in mind. Range Rover Sport looks like it´s moving even when it´s standing still. A single-piece rear aluminium tailgate, rear spoiler, all-terrain sport tyres and 20 inch alloys further enhance its sports tourer credentials. Range Rover styling cues include the ´floating´ roof and clamshell bonnet with a sportier raked windscreen.
The acclaimed Land Rover Command driving position is re-interpreted in a cockpit environment that wraps around the driver for a premium sports-car feel. A range of wood, leather and metallic finishes and sophisticated colour schemes create an interior that is as refined as it is dynamic. A new Hybrid TV option is available, capable of receiving both analogue and digital TV channels to satisfy the most demanding of passengers.
YOUNG ARTIST'S SURVIVAL KIT
19 February 2008, Cervera de los Montes
In March , I conduct a seminar called Young Artist’s Survival Kit in the Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki. I’ve been contacting my famous friends asking their secret formula of the success. Most of them believe, rather innocently, that they are just so great artist that they deserve the fame. I don’t doubt that but of course there’s something more: to be in the right place in the right moment. And then do the right things.
I’m going teach my students how to find that hidden right place, what to wear, how many gin and tonics to drink, how many lines of cocaine to sniff and analyze the biggest dilemma: to sleep or not to sleep with the curators.
I’m not an example to follow, I’ve been too proud, political and stubborn and not enough work-orientated, humble and flexible. And I didn’t sleep with that curator who asked me to go to his hotel room.
15 February 2008, Madrid
Arco looked much better than previous years – including Thomas Hirschhorn's amazing “Concept Car” filled with philosophy books and other paraphernalia - but that’s not the question. An art fair is neither a space nor a site. It’s a pure simulacrum. Even a master piece looks empty and unnecessary if there’s no real context. Art fairs make me despise art. I planned with Bert showing some of my new drawings at ArtBrussels but maybe I suggest him a bomb instead – and not as a sculpture but an action.
At the fair, many people smiled at me calling me Sam. Finally, I found out that Samuel Keller, the ex -director of ArtBasel is almost my double. I felt very uncomfortable. I saw him in the exclusive party ( I got the invitation from Filipa and went there with Judas) organized by the Brazilian galleries yesterday night. I asked him if somebody had called him Riiko but he didn’t answer and turned away.
A SANE ARTIST DOESN'T GO TO ART FAIRS
12 February 2008, Cervera de los Montes
Tuesday morning, I go to pick up Emilie at the Madrid airport. Her studio visit comes in an inadequate moment, because I don’t actually have a studio. We’ve been (or the workers we hired) renovating our outbuildings and we have a new chimney and soon a new fireplace. All our stuff is now stored in my studio and it doesn’t look that beautiful space I’d like to show to my Parisienne gallerist.
After the lunch and the siesta, we’ll go back to Madrid and the Arco art fair week begins full of networking and obligatory parties. I though about going to Francesco Clemente’s opening at Javier Lopéz and then have dinner with my other gallerist Bert, who also flies in tomorrow. I hope he buys me an über-priced gin and tonic in Bar Cock, that’s the unofficial headquarters of Arco. I don’t have any money after buying a beautiful Breil watch today but at least I know what time it is.
SPECIAL PRICES TODAY
08 February 2008, Cervera de los Montes
Jani phoned me. Yesterday, he inaugurated his solo show at Krista Mikkola in Helsinki. He told that he had doubled the prices of his A4 size drawings, now they cost €1600 and he had already sold ten of them. I was shocked, until now our works used to be in same price range. In the beginning of the year, I just increased my price to €750 – and it’s less than half of Jani’s special price.
No doubt, Jani is at the monent the hottest artist in Finland (and sells practically everything he does) but still I have my work in better collections and have exhibited more widely. I had to react somehow and decided to change my drawings’ price tag to €1000.
NO MORE DRAWBACK
06 February 2008, Cervera de los Montes
Obviously, I think I'm an awesome artist, just next to Goya, Picasso, Kippenberger, McCarthy and Nara, but when somebody else praises me, I truly believe it without any irony.
Eeris, who curates the show at 4mula Gallery in St Petersburg in May, is choosing my work for the display and has scanned through my entire website archives several times. Today, he wrote me that I'm "a f***ing great artist" and continued "I don't understand how you combine the serious and the trivial, the committed and the superficial, the political discourses and the commercial slogans - and make it work". Then he finished off opinioning "and you know to draw which is rare in these anything goes times". That one particularly made me feel good.
My own traumatized idea of drawing or to know-to-draw is from the Academy of Fine Arts where I received a classical art education ten years ago. The first semester we drew plaster cast torsos and the second semester real models. I was absolutely the worst in the class and made our sensitive teacher cry with my rebellion. The funny thing is that now the talented drawers, if they still do any art, are video artists. And I keep on drawing.
SWEDEN BELONGS TO THE SOUTH
04 February 2008, Cervera de los Montes
Sweden was a slight disappointment. I was looking for a social democratic paradise - I strongly believe it exists - but going from the hardcore capitalist Spain to the nicely leftist Sweden felt, surprisingly, moving towards the South, though it was snowing in Stockholm.
The first advice I got was to avoid the numerous illegal cabs that can charge triple prices, if you have a good luck, and in the worst case, rape you. I'd understand that danger in the Colombian jungle or Darfur refugee camps but at the Stockholm International Airport it sounds absurd. And the cheating happens everywhere, bars, restaurants and hotels. The hotel where I was staying wanted to charge the full price for the weekend nights too. I didn't pay and the reception lady showed me a typical Swedish lingonberry (you can buy it in Ikea) face.
Obviously, I had read about Sweden's ultraconservative attitude with the (commercial) sex but I couldn't guess that they had even banned the adult entertainment on the hotel pay-TV. Has somebody really ever in the world history watched Jungle Book in his hotel room?