Javier Lozano uses his images to portray actions and situations and to shape pre-existing concepts. He aims to reflect universal characteristics of human beings, rather than seeing them as merely cultural products.
1. What made you choose art as a profession?
I decided to study Fine Art because as a teenager I’d been fascinated by culture, mainly music and literature. I was drawn partly by the impact some works had on me and partly because I was thrilled by the thought of creating my own discourse. Once at university, as I learnt about art – mainly 20th-century art – and slowly found my own voice, creative activity proved to be vital to me. I hope to make art my only profession and spend as much time as possible both producing art and reflecting on it.
2. How would you define your work?
I’d like to define it as ‘transcendental’, but that depends rather more on the person on the receiving end than the creator. My pictures are narratives. They need to be read as well as looked at if they are to make sense. Their messages are questions, problematic issues that call for reflection. They go beyond their literal meaning and are open to multiple interpretations – ideally a different one for each spectator.
3. What subjects are you interested in?
Both specifically human subjects and eternal ones that live in each and every one of us: death, love, power, freedom, pain… Any subject that might interest people, that talks about people and their relationships with one another and reality.
4. What resources – formal or otherwise – do you use in your work?
Although form and substance are bound tightly together, in some way sense serves content, since the content, the narrative, appears before the form. And we shouldn’t forget the process, which is when the most interesting solutions appear. Until now, in most pictures, the title (which, together with what is being represented, creates meaning) has been integrated within the image and is equally important. My images always feature lots of colours. The finish has gradually evolved from a somewhat naive aspect – like illustrations in a children’s book, with few components – to almost over-refinement and more complex scenes. This is the result of the form of art I like best (Indian and Persian illustrations and gothic painting) and the inevitable evolution in technique. Both styles can be used to create hard-edged images with tragic overtones. In general I make small-scale paintings and use supposedly non-artistic media such as wood, cardboard and even stones. Small paintings force spectators to break down the distance between them and the painting if they are to appreciate it, rather like coming closer to someone who’s about to whisper a secret in your ear. Unfortunately, galleries tend to prefer large, spectacular works.
5. What relationship does your work have with reality? What are your raw materials?
My painting isn’t realistic, but it does draw from reality, although I don’t think reality has anything to do with the present. In my paintings I try to express the complex, paradoxical and contradictory side to human behaviour.
6. What, according to you, is the point of art?
I’d stress the communicative nature of art and its occasional ability to shake people up. Art can’t improve people, but it can expand their awareness. Art is a meta-language. The ultimate and ideal point of art would be to reveal something to each and every spectator about themselves.
7. How do you hope the public will receive your work? What audience are you aiming at?
I hope spectators are willing to give something of themselves when they come face to face with my work and are understanding when interpreting it – although there can never be total comprehension between the artist and spectators. I’m not aiming at any audience in particular. I try not to think about other people’s tastes or what commercial opportunities my work might have.
8. What qualifications have you got? What do you value most from your time in education?
I studied Fine Art at university in Cuenca and also spent some time in Vilnius and Lisbon as an Erasmus student, although I didn’t get any economic backing for my time in Portugal. The best thing about my education was meeting other students whom I become great friends with and who shared my passion for art. The most gratifying thing about university was sharing the learning process and learning from them. As far as the teaching was concerned, you had to separate the wheat from the chaff. Cuenca has made a name for itself above all for several theoretical classes and the almost total freedom granted in practical classes. I suppose that’s what I value most from my time in education.
9. How would you define your current professional situation? And in the future?
My current professional situation is somewhat delicate. Small things crop up with even smaller sources of income. In terms of opportunities, I get the impression you have to meet the right person at the right time, and I’m yet to have that pleasure. I’m not very sure about the future. After just over two years, I’ve met many different people from the art world, but the process is so slow that I’ve even thought of changing city. I’d like to have a decent life with art as my sole profession.
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?
Fortunately, right now I’m working on one-off projects designed to keep me afloat. When I’ve had to work eight hours a day, it’s clearly a waste of time and energy with respect to my art work. Artists would do well to ignore the art market, but nevertheless the market exists. And is it any wonder it’s so wildly speculative when it’s so difficult to place a value on a work of art? If such a wide range of different values can be placed on materialising an idea or emotion, what does the work really cost? Is it moral to put a price tag on it? Purely out of respect to their work, artists shouldn’t indulge in speculation and should keep away from the art world, where they’ll always be at the bottom of the pack. I hope my precarious economic situation hasn’t had more of a bearing on my work than on my life.
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 expect honesty, understanding and solid artistic criteria. I also want them to provide artists with comprehensive information on the promotion to be carried out with their work, as a sign of respect. As far as advantages and disadvantages are concerned, I’ve not had much luck to date; the most noteworthy thing I’ve experienced has been broken promises. All in all, I don’t feel I have the right to tell a curator or promoter how to do their job in just the same way I don’t think they have the right to tell me how to do mine.
12. What do you think sets the arts scene in Madrid apart from elsewhere? What would you say are its pluses and minuses?
With some honourable exceptions, there’s no denying that Madrid galleries are very conservative. They generally exhibit comfortably consolidated artists to ensure their income and prestige. Access to a gallery is limited to those who have been recommended by someone from the art world. It’s sad to think that no gallery would exhibit work by an unknown artist if they didn’t already know them personally. It’s also sad that there are people in the art world for whom works of art are secondary. Madrid needs a parallel system of less complacent and more daring galleries when it comes to choosing artists and contents. But this might not be the kind of art that’s best for seducing buyers. I’ve got quite a few artist friends living in Madrid. They rarely exhibit, but it’s not for want of trying…
Vive y trabaja en/Lives and works in: Madrid.
Licenciatura en Bellas Artes, Universidad de Cuenca.
Exposiciones Individuales (Selección)/Selected Solo Exhibitions
All my heroes died the same day, Heroes, Berlin.
Inofensivo, La Piola, Madrid.
Personal damages, Rote Lotte, Berlin.
Animations, Le krew, Madrid.
Ciudad Rodrigo street, The artists of the neiborghood, 6º edition, Madrid.
Dibujos en/Drawings in La Segoviana, festival Oporto, Estudios Abiertos, Madrid.
Exposiciones Colectivas (Selección)/Selected Group Exhibitions
Twipper, Mad is Mad, Madrid.
Escala 1:1, Matadero, Madrid.
Printed Matter & Original Artwork, General Public gallery, Berlin.
Bookmark 2, Zirkumflex, Berlin.
Wir sind hier bei uns, Studio Siegfreidstraße, Berlin.
NoZines, Sala de Exposiciones de Caja Madrid, Zaragoza.
Proyecto 9, Sala de arte joven de la Comunidad de Madrid.
TRANSFORM im Rahmen von The Big Draw, Kotti Shop, Berlin.
De Zines, La casa encendida, Madrid.
Quartierfür Vielfliege, Kreuzberg Museum, Berlin.
10 por menos de 100, Galería Mad is Mad, Madrid.
No soy un monstruo, Galería Mad is Mad, Madrid.
Gayperman se va de casa, Galería Mad is Mad, Madrid.
Museo de locuras naturales, Galería Mad is Mad, Madrid.
Fresh!, Facultad de Bellas Artes, Universidad de Cuenca.
Reality Show, Facultad de Bellas Artes, Universidad de Cuenca.
Porno, Facultad de Bellas Artes, Vilnius University, Lietuva.
Zoo, Facultad de Bellas Artes, Universidad de Cuenca.
Otros Proyectos/Other Projects
Gallery Kastanienallee 86, comisariado con/curated in collaboration with Katja Stoye Getin, Berlin.
Art Festival “Ingráfica”, participación/participation, Cuenca.
Tante Julie, comisariado con/curated in collaboration with four other artists, Berlin.
Devout Sacrilege, comisariado con/curated in collaboration with Stevie Hanley, Jamie Schwartz, Berlin.
Papergirl, participación/participation, Berlin.
Vigilio y Languis, música para obra de teatro/music for theater play, Madrid.
Redacción y publicación del fanzine El Acto, junto a Lorena Álvarez.
Actividades Académicas Relacionadas/Academic Related Activities
Artista invitado en/Invited artist in FBAUL, Faculdade de Belas Artes, Lisboa.
“His beautiful ugly hands”, Pogo Books, V/2011.
Welcome, fanzine, IX/2010; IV/2011; II/2012.
Lozano, Javier; Obregón de Cospedal, Inés, 967 Arte, II/2010.
A5 Magazine, Israel, 2009.
Montaña sagrada, fanzine, 2009.
Revista Mu, II/2009.
Errorezine, n2, 2009.
Becas y Premios/Awards and Grants
Programa Creo en África, La Fábrica, Madrid. (Selección/Selected)
Archivo de Creadores de Madrid. (Selección/Selected)
INJUVE, Castilla la Mancha. (Selección/Selected)
Competition of Videoart 143 Delicias, Madrid. (2nd Prize/2º Premio)
Nuevos Creadores, Madrid. (Beca/Grant)
Beca Erasmus, Vilniausdailésakademija, Vilnius, Lithuania. (Scholarship)
C/ Ciudad Rodrigo, 5, 2ºB,