Written by 11:51 pm Art

Aimée Joaristi: “I’m my work”

The primary time I heard of Aimée Joaristi’s work was through photographer Ernesto Granado, who had documented Joaristi’s passage through the thirteenth Havana Biennial. My colleague, a person of the world, was, nonetheless, a bit dislocated with the virtually clandestine intervention of the artist in town. Based on what he told me, “hairy triangles,” which represent female pubes, had been “installed” in numerous columns of the Cuban capital, inside easy reach of the curious, who could take them home without knowing what it was about. Through the piece, the artist transgressed, and the passers-by felt that they were also transgressing by taking something that that they had not acquired in a lawful way.

Aimée had been invited to the Biennial with the installation Enrollate conmigo, for the curatorial space “Detrás del Muro.” The piece consisted of 5 rolls of canvas 1.5 meters wide and between 20 and 15 meters long, which slid down the façade of a constructing facing the ocean, on the Havana seaside walk. A part of the work was the performance of the opening day of the Biennial, when the artist cut segments from the scroll entitled “La ofrenda” (acrylic inlaid with plastic roses) to provide them to the general public.

Manifiesto Púb(l)ico (MP) (Pub(l)ic Manifesto) was a type of unauthorized bonus track of Aimee’s participation on this event, probably the most essential of the visual arts on a continental scale, which is held, sometimes with irregular periodicity, in Havana, which can also be the artist’s city of birth.

Since that participation within the Biennial, I actually have looked for details about Aimée, and I learned that she graduated from Interior Architecture in Madrid, and did a second profession at the distinguished Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York City.

I also learned that she, thus far, has made nine personal exhibitions, amongst which it’s price noting Tres Cruces, Museo C.A.V, La Neomudejar, Madrid, Spain, 2018; XMetro, White Concepts Gallery, Berlin, Germany, 2017; Escindida, Galería Gorría, Havana, Cuba, 2017, and Silencios y gritos, Klaus Steinmetz Contemporary, San José, Costa Rica, 2015.

In 2020 Aimée won the Artist of the Future Award, granted by the U.S. Contemporary Art Curator Magazine.

I recently had a chat with the artist wherein we talked about her art and the place Cuba has in her creation. Here it goes.

What place does Cuba occupy in the development of your identity, which has been forged in numerous cities of the world?

Cuba occupies a fairly incorporeal place in my imagination, with imperceptible physical connotations, since I left the country in 1959, once I was only two and a half years old, and didn’t return until 1999, once I consciously set foot on the island’s soil. And I felt what it represented

The primary impression I had of town of Havana was to search out myself in a Seville situated within the tropics. With this sudden conception, I attempted to bring together my two existential worlds: Spain, where I used to be raised, and Cuba, where I used to be born.

As is logical, in my mental construction there are very different fetishes that denote Cubanness: the congrí, the black beans, Miramar, Lucumí, pork, the Castro surname….

Bastón Yoruba (2020). Ceramics. Museum of Arts and Sciences.

Havana is for me a small Spain. In it my present and past life converge. I come, on my father’s side, from a family of Basque migrants. My grandfather, upon settling in Cuba, founded a steel structures company with limited resources that became essential over time. My mother descends from a wealthy sugar industry Cuban family. The cultural contrasts that occurred in my life have enriched my way of facing on a regular basis life, that’s the reason the fables of princes and beggars at all times exist in my mind.

How did the transition from architect to artist operate in you?

Art has been the lung of my existence. It’s why I breathe and performance. I cannot separate it from my life, nor can I accurately deduce where the boundaries of every practice or condition begin and end.

I studied interior architecture by default in Spain. The specialty was easy for me, and since I also liked to rejoice, I didn’t should be locked up for hours studying. My time in New York was a carefree time of fun and study. There I also enrolled in promoting design courses, one other manifestation that got here naturally to me, and didn’t hinder an excessive amount of my desire to live intensely. From New York I went to live in Milan. In that city I worked on the planet of ready-to-wear fashion and developed as an interior designer; this motivated me, just a few years later, to open my very own architecture and interior design studio in Costa Rica.

My dilettante life got here to an end once I found success in that career. For a few years I felt that I used to be getting paid to rejoice producing high-end projects. But when the world economic crisis of 2008 arrived, that existential feeling of wanting to start out again gained strength; I made a decision to take a pointy turn of the wheel and dedicate myself almost entirely to art.

Reviewing the resume that I used to be capable of access, I see that your work is made up of series. Is that this a conscious act based on the very genesis or do you accumulate works that you just later discover are articulated in a standard discourse?

My creative production methodology is born of instinct and is nourished by it. Unconsciously I work in series; and never for a preconceived reason, but because they’re all daughters of the identical momentary feeling, which doesn’t end with a single work or with a gaggle of them. Obviously, there are bridges between one series and the following. I’m referring to works which can be on the way in which, that dialogue with the past and the longer term; that on their very own transit reveal some supposed dissociation or lack of belonging, but that then time takes care of relocating.

Describe the journey from idea to work.

Persistently the work is born before the thought, and it takes me just a few days to comprehend that a project has been born. My ideas are clarified within the early morning hours, they take shape, to then have the opportunity to materialize them. As I work on the surface and at all times attested by basic instincts, there’s a standard thread that becomes rather more obvious in the ultimate reading of the spectator, or when later I distance myself and broaden the analytical perspective of my work.

I work for continuous and intense periods, until I reach physical exhaustion. That’s the reason I practice yoga and meditation, in addition to other sports disciplines that keep my body strong and agile. This training can also be obligatory to have the opportunity to create large-format works, a dimensional aspect that I’m keen about to the absurd.

I imagine a future time wherein, sitting calmly and almost tied up, I dedicate myself to making a miniscule work until I disappear….

You might be a really powerful installation artist. Also your “easel works” denote an intuitive, gestural, carefree expressiveness that somewhat contradicts your training as an architect, based on the belief that architecture requires, above all, functionality and rationality. Do you’re feeling that contradiction?

The kind of pictorial work that I develop goes from floor to wall at a meteoric speed. I never know where to start out: painting on a bench or running around in search of the canvas. Normally the identical work passes each through the ground and thru the wall, and from the wall to the ground; sometimes I even leave it out within the open for some time in order that its process can proceed without my intervention.

Since architecture is a reasonably indoctrinated, academic practice, and never in my nature, the leap into the world of art was a type of liberation from the desk, from formal methodological structures. Freeing myself from the whims of others and taking up the challenge without strings attached made me realize that this new stage was even harder and sophisticated. I used to be by myself without excuses, no third parties, no markets, no customers; faced exclusively with a private catharsis.

Design can also be a service activity, with a high degree of rationality in its processes. Neither architecture nor design are, from my standpoint, sufficiently viable manifestations to completely experience this need for artistic catharsis.

The urban intervention Pub(l)ic Manifesto began its journey in Havana. Then it has been seen in Tokyo, Madrid, Venice, South Africa, Miami and Costa Rica. Based on the outcomes that you’ve gotten collected at the extent of the spectators, is your purpose of mobilizing consciousness towards the difficulty of gender inequality fulfilled?

The greater purpose, which is that of gender equality, shouldn’t be being fulfilled, and we’re still very removed from sooner or later its being fulfilled, but so far as I’m concerned, it’s a grain of sand in the development of the perfect. Sometimes ideas that emerge in a harmless and almost fortuitous way turn out to be unsuspected banners. The actual fact of using a female pubis or vagina, so ignored within the social and cultural environment, not only dismantles the stigma and cancels the eroticism of the symbol, but additionally points to the conflict over the regulations wherein we live, wherein the male and his weapon, the penis, proceed to beat us.

Pub(l)ic Manifesto (2019). Photo: courtesy of the interviewee.
Pub(l)ic Manifesto (2019). Photo: courtesy of the interviewee.

Sedimentations like this, sometimes manifested even in small gestures, have acted as subtle elements that condition our cultural identity. Pub(l)ic Manifesto is a small subversive act against that reality; a questioning of every little thing that makes you’re feeling guilty.

Are you able to relate some notable differences within the reception of MP by residents of various cities?

The country that has had one of the best reception of the work on an expressive level has been Cuba, for being extremely sexist; for having a society where sex, or as people vulgarly say on the road, “screw,” is paid special attention and given priority within the absence of other freedoms. That’s the reason the MP object caused a small “revolution” among the many spectators.

At a dinner amongst artists, young painter Maikel Sotomayor confirmed to me that it had almost turn out to be a cult object in the course of the Havana Biennial. In Tokyo, Japan, it was the alternative. Distance was kept from the article, with medium curiosity and great modesty. Surely as a consequence of the conservative and content nature of the Japanese people, many questions remained within the air. But I used to be capable of confirm that tons of of pubes had disappeared the day after that they had been installed.

Pub(l)ic Manifesto in Havana (2019). Havana Biennial.
Pub(l)ic Manifesto in Havana (2019). Havana Biennial.

One of the crucial nice surprises that Pub(l)ic Manifesto has given me are the various individuals who write to me from social networks, send me photos of the article stored of their homes, and ask me to send them the written manifesto. This, despite not offering an accurate statistic on the extent of awareness, does give me a sign of the interest it has aroused.

Pub(l)ic Manifesto in Havana (2019). Havana Biennial.
Pub(l)ic Manifesto in Havana (2019). Havana Biennial.

Each pubis has on its back the name of town of the intervention, the article number and my name. That I’m written to is an indicator that the questions that I sustain with the work have a level of receptivity and expansion….

Do you “retouch” the thought to display it based on the peculiarities of every audience?

As a result of the universal character of the symbol, I actually have decided to not make changes in its material appearance or within the drawing details of its representation.

Is the sphere and/or bibliographic research that precedes the gestation of the series hard be just right for you?

Not all of the works that I do have a bibliographic support; most of it comes from intuition and private feeling. Nevertheless, once the thought is gestated, I dedicate myself to in search of other possible arguments or approaches to provide it a historical and experiential grip. As my work is normally multidisciplinary, this research not only takes place across the theme, but additionally across the format; nevertheless it never precedes the gestation of the series, which is generated spontaneously and emotionally.

Tendencias 2020 (2020). Intervened mask. 23 x 23 x 23 cm.
Tendencias 2020 (2020). Intervened mask. 23 x 23 x 23 cm.

I approach the topic in an organic and non-methodical way; based on a contingent or experiential perspective. I fluctuate through deep and continuous emotional changes, a type of spark that leads me to provide every kind of labor. It’s on this unstable fluctuation that I find my ideal support. I’m my work.

Plainly the controversy between conceptual art and other manifestations which can be inscribed in “traditional” genres has aged. Is art possible without concept?

If anything is feasible in art, it’s absolute freedom. If something is prime, it’s absolute freedom.

The role of curators has grown over time. From an easy curator, they’ve turn out to be a cardinal piece within the story, projection and revitalization of the artistic work. What relationship do you identify with the curators?

As in any career on the planet, counterparts are sometimes sought, but they’re almost at all times found. There isn’t a formula. Persistently the encounters turn into disagreements, and others are consolidated as friendships, far beyond the skilled role.

The curator-artist relationship should be based on an organic, reciprocal functionality. Curators contribute to accrediting, to legitimizing the work from the conceptual and technical standpoint; and so they can even have an effect on the art market so long as their practice is sincere and never promoted by other aspects. Despite any skilled, personal, or other relationship, the validity of the curator’s criteria will at all times be conditioned by the degree of honesty. I’m extremely fortunate to currently work with David Mateo, who I could point to for instance in his medium.

Your property workshop is cited as a benchmark of avant-garde Costa Rican architecture. How empowered do you’re feeling there? Do you long for the bustling and exciting New York days?

I actually have the nice luck of not eager for anything, as they are saying: “been there, done that.” My life has been very wealthy in experiences, in dreams, and what I actually have lacked to live, I pass though my work. My house and my workshop are consubstantial spaces, scenes of confluences, corridors where I display all of the protagonism of my every day work. Beyond feeling empowered in them, they keep me busy, sufficiently immersed in on a regular basis life, to not compromise with the “unbearable lightness of being.”

Alex Fleites, alexfleites

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