Pablo Serret de Ena

Artist selected by Armengol, David at 2011
More artist content updated at 2016

Pablo Serret de Ena lives and works between Spain and Sweden, mixing in his projects genres and disciplines (from video to installation, sound art, editorial intervention, photography... even graphic design) mainly around themes as margins, pioneerism, identity, power, daily politics, transit or error... among others. In the majority of his projects, processes arise at the same level than results and the audience tend to be part of the artwork, completing, participating from it or even as part of a big game. There is therefore, an understanding of art as a shared experience; a place (a square) to gain from the dialogue between people and their (our) contexts.

He has developed and exhibited art projects and workshops in several countries (Croatia, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Romania, Holland, Greece, USA, France, Portugal, Peru, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Morocco, W. Sahara...) and works everyday hard and happy to grow this way.


1. What made you choose art as a profession?
I think it’s the profession where you have the most fun in the world and where I feel happiest and most comfortable. I was always drawing as a kid and things just followed on from there. Later I studied fine art because of all the ‘official’ studies, it was the one that came closest to what I was looking for. I’ve always been driven by intuition, without thinking too much about the long term, and until about three years ago I wasn’t really aware of building a life around art.


2. How would you define your work?
I’m only just getting started, playing around a lot and diving off the deep end into unfamiliar pools, which I guess should be reflected in my work for better or worse. I like working with ideas, regardless of the tools involved – that comes later and I usually mix different areas and tools, even if I’m not that skilled in using them. I suppose it’s still early days for trying to find a definition above and beyond a search.


3. What subjects are you interested in?
I’m interested in a whole load of different things: the connections between people and their environment; identity; power and ways of tackling it; the fringes; DIY and ingenuity; mobility; pioneering approaches and the mechanisms of travel; the extraordinary in the ordinary and everyday; music, of course…


4. What resources – formal or otherwise – do you use in your work?
My installations are almost always based on scrap or found materials, iron and wood, which inevitably shapes the final appearance and adds the story behind the material itself to create new compositions with familiar references. I suppose my work should reflect my background in collage and graphic design, which is an area I still work in, in terms of plastic expression, typography, etc. Perhaps the photography series make most use of classical formal resources, similar to the documentary series.


5. What relationship does your work have with reality? What are your raw materials?
I hope it has a fairly close relationship. All the material comes from reality, although it’s then put in a different context or altered. In fact, almost all my reading and the films I watch are nonfiction.


6. What, according to you, is the point of art?
From my point of view, it should act as a vehicle for reflection, a very special communication strategy, an educational tool and, hopefully, an agent for change. For me, it is key to understand art as a service above and beyond a mere product, a mutual teaching, and naturally, a fun activity – you have to enjoy art.


7. How do you hope the public will receive your work? What audience are you aiming at?
I try to actively involve spectators in all my work, either with interactive installations where they complete the pieces themselves or including them in the processes. Other examples include pieces in the form of workshops, collaboratively created works, content taken from outside, network communication… These are all factors I try to bear in mind in almost all my projects. I don’t think spectators’ interpretations should be closely guided, but I do like to explain my point of view of the process and the result, although it’s not that easy. Much of the blame for the scepticism surrounding art, at least in this country, lies with artists themselves.


8. What qualifications have you got? What do you value most from your time in education?
As far as my ‘official’ education is concerned, I think I learnt more outside than inside class, through the people I went to class with (or not), on the street, records, films, books and the cities where I studied. All of my education outside Spain coincided with times of major change in my life, in everyone’s life I suppose, so it was always linked to small revolutions. In fine art, I always had the feeling I was being trained to be an artist from the 1950s. I was interested in loads of things that weren’t even touched upon at university, which was a major letdown. Workshops with artists, highly concentrated periods of time and energy, and residencies, given the importance of the context, all seem very valid educational models to me.


9. How would you define your current professional situation? And in the future?
I think I’m really lucky. For the past five years, I’ve worked in my own studio, specialising in graphic design and illustration, which has given me enough independence to develop and defend other art projects. All this experience has also helped me prepare and communicate art projects better and these projects have gradually taken on a bigger role. Since I never dreamt of having ten Ferraris or a mansion with a hundred rooms, I’m not disappointed. I do hope to build a life around things that entertain me, motivate me and constantly teach me something. And that certainly includes art.


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?
It has a huge effect, especially in this country. In general, it’s a major achievement to cover production costs, but remuneration for artists and their ideas appear to be practically secondary aspects. Obviously there are exceptions, but I think this is the case in general and creating art is almost an act of survival. In my case, I’ve got my own studio, which lets me pay my bills and spend my time on art and travelling. Almost all my projects have been carried out on my own initiative or thanks to contests, where the conditions are already set out beforehand and the work moulds to them.

Obviously it depends on who we compare ourselves with. I’ve just worked on two projects, one in the Sahara and one in Holland. The conditions are diametrically opposed, but both have gone ahead and neither of them could have been done in Madrid. I suppose the key is to understand the context and adapt to the medium, rather than vice versa.


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?
So far, I’ve had good experiences. It’s the only contact I’ve had with institutional art you could say, since I’ve never worked with the gallery system and I work fairly independently. Whenever there’s been a direct relationship, it’s been basically about management and I’ve been lucky to find a lot of mutual respect.


12. What do you think sets the arts scene in Madrid apart from elsewhere? What would you say are its pluses and minuses?
Madrid is the city where I was born and grew up; I’ve always been here and I think it’s great. I think the current economic situation has led to a lot of young people out of work with more time on their hands and a strong drive to do things, despite the lack of resources. There are lots of small agents – and I’m not talking about museums or galleries – who are moving things and are behind lots of interesting exchange. There are more concerts, lots more fanzines, more exhibitions in places other than just galleries, etc. than some years ago, when everything was much more serious and stricter. I think the good thing about Madrid has always been this anarchy and positive disorder.

However, the zero tolerance towards street actions is undermining the city and making us more European in form, although not deep down. In Madrid square metres are gold and the lack of space effects everything.

Curriculum vitae

Pablo Serret de Ena 
Madrid, 1975.
Vive y trabaja en/Lives and works in: Madrid.


Formación Academica/Education
Beca Erasmus, Art & MediaLab Departments, University of Art & Design Helsinki, UIAH, Helsinki.


Licenciado en Bellas Artes, Universidad Complutense de Madrid.


Drawing Course, Parsons School of Design, New York.



Exposiciones Colectivas/Group Exhibitions
WHO MAKES EUROPE. Residence and Exhibition. Matadero Madrid, SPAIN
NO MAN IS AN ISLAND. Artist in Residence. Video Digital Facade MSU Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb, CROATIA
JUSTMAD4 Video JustMad Off Gallery Madrid, SPAIN
LEYENDAS DE COMBATE Exhibition (w/Toni Hervas) Dafo Space Lleida, SPAIN
IWCS Weird Collage Collective Exhibition San Jose COSTA RICA, Quito ECUADOR, Lima PERU
EXCERPTS from LAS CUMBRES. Video Screening Fonland Festival Coimbra, PORTUGAL. Festival Oodaaq Rennes, FRANCE

LA DICHOSA MARABUNTA... Intervention. Picnic Sessions. CA2M Madrid
LAS CUMBRES Video Exhibition and Workshop. Temps d’images Festival. Fabrica di Pensula Cluj, ROMANIA
ARCHIMOBILE NYC Work Selected. Independent Curators International Hub, TEMP 57 New York USA
I WALK WITH GOD & Video BYOB Nikolaj Kunsthal, Copenhagen DEN
GRAVITY, IT'S THE LAW Video Installation BYOB Stäppelbaden, Malmö SWE
CHVLAVISTA Video In-Sonora VII Festival. Off Limits Madrid

LAS CUMBRES Video Installation Prize Grant & Scholarship. Premio y Beca Arte Caja Madrid GENERACIÓN 2011
UNA INCONVENIENTE APROXIMACION... Sound Installation Casa Encendida, Madrid INEDITOS 2011
PUNTO DE FUGA Video Installation Galerías. La Cárcel Centro de Creación, Segovia

PARABOLA ACUSTICA Sound Installation and Workshop. Selection MANIFESTA 8, Cartagena Murcia
ALTAVOZ SAHARAUI Sound Installation and Performance Selection ARTIFARITI, Tifariti W. SAHARA
AN INCONVENIENT APPROACH... Residency and Sound Installation IDFX/ Interference. Centrum Voor Beeldcultuure Breda, NETHERLANDS
JUVENTUD INFINITA Installation and Video Sala de Arte Joven Avenida América, Madrid

GREEDY Editorial Intervention Campus Ed. de Libros CA2M Madrid PHE09 PHOTOESPAÑA
SECULAR MEGAPHONES Sound Installation, Workshop and Residency. Saout Festival, Tetouan, MOROCCO
UNA INCONVENIENTE APROXIMACION... Sound Installation InSonora V. Galería Off Limits, Madrid

I SHOT THE SHERIFF Photo Series Selection Descubrimientos El Aguila, Madrid PHE08 PHOTOESPAÑA


Una Inconveniente Aproximación…, IDFX/Interferente, Centrum voor Beeldcultuur Breda. Acción Arranque de máquinas y video. Instalación sonora en diferentes localizaciones.
Spam Sessions, Juventud Infinita, Sala de Exposiciones del Centro de Arte Joven, Comunidad de Madrid, Madrid. Acción y vídeo.
Cañón Acústico, ARTe SONoro OFF, La Casa Encendida, Madrid. Acción recorrido por calle.
Las Letras del Barrio, Imprenta Almeida, Madrid. Comisariado.


Una Inconveniente Aproximación al Estado Interno de Un Cortafuegos, IN-SONORA, V Muestra de Arte Sonoro e Interactivo, Off Limits (Madrid), Madrid. Acción Arranque de máquinas y video.
4’33” Homenaje al Silencio, La Noche en Blanco, Escuela Música Creativa (Madrid), Madrid. Acción


Vs., Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, Albacete. Acción Diseño en Directo.


G.A.F.A. Helsinki. Acción e Imagen en calle.


Actividades Académicas/Academic Related Activities
LAS CUMBRES DE CLUJ Fabrica di Pensule, Cluj-Napoca ROMANIA
THE (EX)DISASTERS OF ME Fontänhuset, Malmö SWE


VIOLENT VENTILATORS Collaborative Sound Installation Experimenta, La Casa Encendida Madrid
RECTIFICA! ALTERA! MANIPULA! Editorial Intervention. UCLM Cuenca, Fine Arts


2010/2008                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           IDENTIDAD VISUAL Y COMUNICACIONIED Istituto Europeo di Design, Madrid.


PARABOLA ACUSTICA Collaborative Sound Installation Institute des Beaux Arts Tetouan, Morocco
CRASH Process and Installation IED Istituto Europeo di Design, Madrid.


GIGANTO KATAKLAAANG ORCHESTRAProcess and Sound Performance IED Istituto Europeo di Design, Madrid
QQMQ A Love workshop Intervention, Installation and Performance IED European Design Labs, Madrid


Becas y Premios/Awards and Grants

Generaciones 2011. Premios y becas de arte Caja Madrid, La Casa Encendida, Madrid. (Beca y Adquisición/Grant and Acquisition)


Centrum voor Beeldcultuur Breda. (Beca de Residencia y Producción de obra/Residence and Production Grant)