Artist and cultural producer Cristina Buendía started out on net.artista and now works in a highly multidisciplinary field. Her works centre on subjects related to gender studies, feminism and oppressed social minorities, and create a lasting bond with the public, who are always deeply involved
1. What made you choose art as a profession?
I don’t know whether I really chose it or whether was the upshot of a series of events. In any case, I feel comfortable doing it and it fits with my way of working.
2. How would you define your work?
Over the course of my artistic career, I’ve made repeated use of methods and strategies to reveal hidden subjects no-one wants to talk about. Starting with net.artista and moving into a more multidisciplinary terrain, I centre on subjects related to gender studies, feminism and oppressed social minorities. My works always involve the public and create an ongoing bond with them. It’s this involvement that gives the work meaning, so most of my works are ‘open source’ pieces and people can take a copy home with them.
3. What subjects are you interested in?
Above all, subjects linked to gender studies.
4. What resources – formal or otherwise – do you use in your work?
I use very simple resources and offer straightforward methods for the public to read and complete the work. Basically, they’re everyday systems that anyone can deal with.
5. What relationship does your work have with reality? What are your raw materials?
It does have a relationship with reality, since I talk about relationships between different social groups.
6. What, according to you, is the point of art?
For me, art is a kind of filter for looking at many different aspects of everyday life, a prism that reflects an image of reality magnified in a myriad of different pieces.
7. How do you hope the public will receive your work? What audience are you aiming at?
Any reaction from the audience is welcome. If I think I’ve created a ripple somewhere, I feel my work’s been a success. I don’t think I’m aiming at anyone in particular; in fact my pieces are at first sight ‘encrypted’ and anyone can come and find out what they’re about…
8. What qualifications have you got? What do you value most from your time in education?
I graduated in Fine Art from the Universidad Europea in Madrid and took a Master’s Degree in Digital Art at Camberwell School of Art in London. What I value most from my time at university is the fantastic opportunity to have some of the best Spanish artists as teachers, to guide you and teach you to be your best critic.
9. How would you define your current professional situation? And in the future?
I’m still finding my place: even though I’ve been doing this for a few years, I’m still only just starting to get used to it; I’ve still got so much to learn and mechanisms to suss out. In the future, I want to carry on in my place in this world saying something, and if not making a living from it, then at least getting as close as possible.
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?
At the moment, it’s almost impossible for me to make a living from being an artist. It’s difficult to combine a working life and an artistic life, especially when there’s not enough time to do it. It has a bearing of sorts. Sometimes you have to go for the cheapest resources, but I don’t think it’s a determining factor in the quality of the piece.
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 imagine I think the same as most people: I’d like them to give me the greatest possible assistance to carry out the project. In general I haven’t had any problems with promoters or curators, except when there’s been a lot of them all together and they can’t agree on certain choices.
12. What do you think sets the arts scene in Madrid apart from elsewhere? What would you say are its pluses and minuses?
Something that sets the Madrid art scene apart is its more international flavour when compared to other Spanish regions. Galleries here, for example, try to alternate Spanish and international artists. On the one hand, this is a positive thing, but on the other it’s worth remembering that there still isn’t enough space for Spanish artists to exhibit their work. Anyway, I suppose this isn’t the gallery’s fault: a gallery looks for artists to boost its own status. I don’t think Madrid has enough contests (such as Generaciones, run by Caja Madrid saving bank) open to a wide enough range of voices. As far as the Government of the Region of Madrid is concerned, I think some exhibition spaces have made interesting selections for collective exhibitions touching on subjects that matter on the current contemporary scene. However, the contrast with solo exhibitions is striking, with always the same names and uninspiring rereadings. Although still at national level, I get the feeling that audiovisuals/multimedia still haven’t really taken hold on our scene; they haven’t had much impact on art critics, as with the programme from the audiovisuals department at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía.
Vive y trabaja en/Lives and works in: Madrid.
Master en Arte Digital, Camberwell School of Arts, London.
Licenciatura en Bellas Artes (Nuevas Tecnologías y Diseño), Universidad Europea de Madrid, Madrid.
Exposiciones Colectivas (Selección)/Selected Group Exhibitions
Generación´09, La Casa Encendida, Madrid.
DigiTales, Camberwell School of Arts, London.
WAVE, Camberwell School of Arts & M-Post, London & Seul.
Free P0ster #2, Centre d’Art Santa Mònica, CASM, Barcelona.
Cárcel de Amor, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, MNCARS, Madrid.
Blog, Comunidad de Madrid.
Madrid Go!, Los 29 enchufes/Invernaderocultural, Madrid.
Spanish Paradise, Liquidación Total, Madrid.
MAD 03, Centro Cultural Conde Duque, Madrid.
VideoMetal, El Laboratorio, Madrid.
Becas y Premios/Awards and Grants
Generación´09, Premios y Becas de Arte Caja Madrid, Madrid.
Beca CriticArt, Universidad Europea Madrid, Madrid.
Freeman, Jude, WAVE, "Hibridity, Hidentity and the Self", World Art College Vision Exchange, London, 2006, Cat. Exp.
Sichel, Berta, Villaplana, Virginia, Zafra, Remedios, "Cárcel de Amor", Ministerio de Cultura, Madrid, 2005, Cat. Exp.
Zafra, Remedios, "No pasatiempo, Cárcel de Amor", Ministerio de Cultura, 2005, Madrid, pp. 337.
Espuelas, Fernando, Cabello, Helena, Carceller, Ana, España, Pablo, Mayayo, Patricia, "Espacios Abiertos para interferencia: Blog", Universidad Europea de Madrid, Madrid, Cat. Exp.