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04.11.2014 INTERVIEW

Darío Escobar. Foto: Anna Kristine Hvid Petersen

Traces from the game outside the gallery

Darío Escobar’s artwork is by the view of it both beautiful and simple. However, when looking deeper into the works a much more complex net of traces and reflections of popular culture, a worldwide winner-mentality and Guatemalan tradition occurs. Carefully knitted each piece of thread regularly crosses over another creating both Unions and Intersections.

Darío Escobar has shown his work at big exhibitions in Latin America and the United States. However Unions and Intersections at Nils Stærk is his first solo exhibition in Scandinavia. A refreshing breeze from the other side of the world and a reminder that contemporary art is not restricted to the western world, it is in fact global.

AF Anna Kristine Hvid Petersen

NILS STÆRK
Ny Carlsberg Vej 68, 1760 København V W: nilsstaerk.dk
Unions and Intersections
Darío Escobar
01.11.2014 - 20.12.2014

Can you start out by telling about the exhibition?
The exhibition evolves around sculpture. My work has always been a dialog between art history and art in itself. Working with objects interest me a lot, but I’m especially interested in new objects and the process of going from having a merchandise to creating an aesthetic object – a piece of art. In my practise it is very essential that the story of the object only starts when it becomes a part of the sculpture. 

Why do you choose objects that have got to do with sport?
Sport is a very important theme because it divides the world into winners and losers. But when using sport objects as part of an artwork the rules of the game change – it is no longer about winning or loosing.
The winner mentality is reflected throughout society; essentially it is not about the object itself, but the way the object reflects to society.  In my work I’m always very interested in generating contexts. I’m trying to bring forward what is not apparent.

You say it is not about winning or loosing when the object becomes art. But isn’t competition also a part of the art world?
Maybe, but that is another part of the game. What interests me is the social context. 

Could you explain a bit about the title – where are the unions and the intersections?
The title tells exactly what the sculptures are about; things that are far apart but will be connected in the unions and the intersections. In the end these intersections and unions will be a way of communicating – they will be the meeting points.
My art is made from recognizable objects, that can be found all over the world. For example; going down the street in any country you will see kids with skateboards. A communication with these objects is a communication that will stretch into all parts of the world. 

Could you talk a bit more about Guatemala in context of the global art world?
It is a small country with many problems. Despite of that Guatemala has always been on the same cultural level as big places. Especially within literature and art. So in terms of art there are definitely a lot of things going on in Central and Latin America, the problem is that even though there is a lot of will to do it, there is not a lot of structure. 

Is there a general public interest in art in Guatemala? And is it received any differently when showing your art in Latin America opposed to showing it in Europe and USA?
It is very complex. Of course there is a particular group that is interested in art, but this group is the same as in USA or Europe. 

I suppose this group would go under the term ‘the elite’. Do you think the art world is elitist? And is that a problem?
First of all you would have to define what the elite is. For example in my view Denmark is not elitist because here you have the same possibilities for education. Art is not a question of money it is a question of sensibility. In the question of sensibility you could say that there is an elite, but it is an emotional elite. For example in Guatemala there are villages with indigenous people that haven’t had the same opportunities for education, however they have this sensibility towards art because of their long spiritual history. 

Let’s talk about the oil drawings on the walls. You have done pieces with oil spills before that had a very organic and natural shape according to the drop. In these drawings you are trying to restrict the oil according to a straight line. What is the intention behind that?
These drawings are made from motor oil. The idea is to make a minimal drawing that does not respect the lines as the oil will always sort of reshape itself. The important thing about these drawings is that they are traces from an object, a car.  It’s an object made into a drawing. 
The same goes for the bumpers – they are traces from a previous event.  They are also the only objects in the room that have actually had a history beforehand. I chose the bumpers and then put the chrome on them in order to try and hide the accident – unsuccessfully as the bents from the crashes are what actually make the sculptures. 

You were trained as an architect – how is that present in your artwork?
My training as an architect is most obvious is in the making of the ‘Still Life’ sculptures. A rigid space is created in a construction made of a rigid material. However the space within the firm construction can be recreated as the ball is not fixed but can be moved. The object inhabits the space. 
But all of my sculptures recognize space. For example the football piece is almost a liquid sculpture that will adapt to the space in which it is installed. 

What is next? What are your working on at the moment?
I’m working on a big commission of truck doors – a 9-meter long construction.
On the doors there are painted geometrical shapes. I’m very interested in geometrical abstraction. The geometrical abstraction has been one of the most applauded waves within the western world. You associate it with this intellectual philosophy. But geometrical abstraction has actually existed in Latin America for forever. It is not something intellectual, it is more something intuitive.

Darío Escobar: Unions and Intersection (installation view), Nils Stærk, 2014. Foto: Erling Lykke Jeppesen.

Darío Escobar: Obverse and reverse XV, 2014, Variable dimensions, Latex, leather, string, steel. Foto: Erling Lykke Jeppesen.

Darío Escobar: Unions and Intersection (installation view), Nils Stærk, 2014. Foto: Erling Lykke Jeppesen.

Darío Escobar: Unions and Intersection (installation view), Nils Stærk, 2014. Foto: Erling Lykke Jeppesen.

Darío Escobar: Unions and Intersection (installation view), Nils Stærk, 2014. Foto: Erling Lykke Jeppesen.

Darío Escobar: Unions and Intersection (installation view), Nils Stærk, 2014. Foto: Erling Lykke Jeppesen.

Darío Escobar: Unions and Intersection (installation view), Nils Stærk, 2014. Foto: Erling Lykke Jeppesen.

Darío Escobar: Unions and Intersection (installation view), Nils Stærk, 2014. Foto: Erling Lykke Jeppesen.

Darío Escobar: Unions and Intersection (installation view), Nils Stærk, 2014. Foto: Erling Lykke Jeppesen.

Darío Escobar: Unions and Intersection (installation view), Nils Stærk, 2014. Foto: Erling Lykke Jeppesen.

Darío Escobar: Still Life No. 3, 2014, 127.6 x 38.1 x 38.1cm, Wood, formica, rubber. Foto: Erling Lykke Jeppesen.

Darío Escobar: Obverse and reverse XV, 2014, Variable dimensions, Latex, leather, string, steel. Foto: Erling Lykke Jeppesen.

Darío Escobar: Obverse and reverse XV (detail), 2014, Variable dimensions, Latex, leather, string, steel. Foto: Erling Lykke Jeppesen.

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