29 June 2016, Pepino
The summer after my graduation from the Academy of Fine Arts I did a three-month residency in London. I was hosted by Camden Arts Centre and I lived at Delfina Studios with British and international art stars. The road to success and fame seemed to be paved. Later the reality has been tougher.
One of the projects of my residency was a drawing publication - designed in collaboration with Alex Rich - which included a calendar for 2016. It was a year that was the furthest away I could imagine - when I would be turning 40. Being so absurdly old made me laugh.
I was ambitious and my goals were set very high. Next Saturday, I'll turn 40. I haven't had my works in Documenta or Venice. Of course, my career hasn't been a total failure, I've exhibited widely including one drawing once on the wall of the MoMA.
However, the art world fame doesn't mean so much to me anymore. I'm middle aged and middle class - and happy. I have a great wife and two healthy kids. My dream is to sell enough works to pay my mortgage every month. Professionally I have no higher goals than make good works. I don't care anymore about being the most famous artist of the world.
THE BORDER FIELD TRIP
20 June 2016, Pepino
I haven't done any interesting voyage in a long time. The last research trip was almost three years ago, when I had a two-month residency in Beirut hosted by Zena. After that I've been happy to work at the studio but I know I need to see sometimes wider horizons if the themes of my practice are global.
Yesterday, I booked everything for the Border Field Trip which is an expedition to Europe's borders. One sea, two continents and three countries. I'm going to be accompanied by Pauli - I think it's very special that a museum a director travels with an artist, that's what I call a real curatorial attitude.
We'll meet in Madrid and catch a train to Algeciras in Andalucia. The first border will be Gibraltar, the Birtish enclave in Spain. We embark on a ferry in Tarifa and arrive in Africa via Tangier, the international smuggling and espionage hub in the last century. The next stop is Ceuta, one of the Spanish cities in the North African cost. This is were the border is very present, a wall separates the European Union from the rest of the world and migrants dream to cross it and not to die trying.
We need to find a driver to take us then to Melilla, the other Spanish fortress in Morocco. It will be 400 km by the small costal road. Some sources say it's controlled by drug lords and human traffickers. That's the border we are interested in.
If you want to understand the world, don't look neither the center nor the periphery but go beyond to the borders, that's were the things meet, mix and stir. It's the liquid space in between that defines the humanity from identity to politics. That's where the surmised hegemonies are challenged.
16 June 2016, Pepino
Today I finished the 100 blue and white monochromes. It took two months of long days and nights but I think it's worth it. Actually, painting was just a part of the job which needed several days of research too. Before painting, I made the lists of the titles, references for each color.
Finding the paints was an interesting task too - the system was not to mix them, they had to be ready-made. Blue color was easy, there are a great variety of tones and hues available. White was more complicated. First I didn't move very far from pure titanium white but buying a new car gave me a wider perspective what can be considered white. My wife chose for our new SUV a color called "white sand", which is a light brownish grey. I decided that if they call that thing white, I can call similar colors white too in my bicolor work.
SWIMMING POOL BLUE
13 June 2016, Pepino
Finally the summer heat is here, though the Spaniards say the summer begins the day when other nations celebrate Midsummer. I paint white monochromes in the morning, the afternoons - when it's too hot in my studio - I spend with my kids at the swimming pool and after dinner I paint blue monochromes. Strangely my list of blue titles doesn't include swimming pool. I have ocean and blue lagoon but those things are very far from here.
NO HORROR VACUI
06 June 2016, Cervera de los Montes
My studio is empty. Galerie Forsblom organized the shipping of the finished paintings though the exhibition is not going to be inaugurated before January. I want to interpret that they think the works are so high quality that they don't want anybody - like curators that could be interested to show them earlier - to see them. Kiira asked me if I suffer of horror vacui but I feel much better with more space, which is valuable for completing my 100 blue and white monochromes, a monumental work that is driving me to the border of insanity. It's a great idea but too laborious for my nerves.