Pablo Valbuena

Artist selected by Hontoria, Javier at 2010
More artist content updated at 2016

My work looks at space and time – the way we perceive our environment, the way we move in it and how we articulate our response. By using light as the medium in installations that blur the line between real and virtual, virtual becomes real and vice versa, and the distinction between reality and representation fades away. It’s about moulding space in the field of the viewer’s perception: no work is complete until someone actually sees it.


1. What made you choose art as a profession?
Creation has always been a constant in my life, a vital need. Working professionally as an artist has given me total independence to develop the ideas that interest me.


2. How would you define your work?
Installations that explore the mechanisms of perception and the temporal dimension of space in which the observer is a fundamental part of the work.


3. What subjects are you interested in?
Time, space, real, virtual, perception, light, movement, the relationship between object and representation…


4. What resources – formal or otherwise – do you use in your work?
My formal resources are the medium that articulates and strengthens the ideas that make up the work. I’m currently using light as a tool to develop concepts linked to space and time.


5. What relationship does your work have with reality? What are your raw materials?
My work is based on the mechanisms that create this reality. I place it in the field where our perception takes place, where our body negotiates its relationship with what’s around us.
In my recent work, the real acts as the foundations for building the virtual; I try to blur the line between them, making the virtual real.


6. What, according to you, is the point of art?
Art is a means of expression, a field of knowledge with an intuitive basis. It complements other fields that sacrifice their potential scope in favour of greater objective consensus. Art lets you subvert this relationship and create knowledge through more personal visions.


7. How do you hope the public will receive your work? What audience are you aiming at?
The spectator plays a key role in my work and acts as a lynchpin in constructing the installation. No work is complete until someone actually sees it.


8. What qualifications have you got? What do you value most from your time in education?
I studied architecture. My time in education equipped me with a series of handy tools for creating art.


9. How would you define your current professional situation? And in the future?
I’m lucky enough to be able to dedicate myself entirely to working as an artist. In the future, I hope to carry on exploring, experimenting and delving deeper into my work.


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?
Economic factors are clearly one more thing to take into account. This obviously has a bearing on your ability to produce work, get the necessary media, and even something as basic as having the time to spend on a work – which is key for all professionals, artists or otherwise, who want to do interesting, meaningful work.


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 hope they play a complementary role to help produce, articulate and present the work and ensure it is received positively. Curators play a pivotal role between the artist and society. A good curator offers a vision with a certain distance from the artist and lets the artist get on with the work in question.


12. What do you think sets the arts scene in Madrid apart from elsewhere? What would you say are its pluses and minuses?
On paper, in terms of contemporary art Madrid has all the factors to put it on a par with other major cultural cities, but in practice it lacks a clear structure to support, articulate and export these factors. Some positive steps have been taken, such as setting up this archive, but there’s still lots more to do. There’s a clear need for a programme of artist residencies or initiatives to open up spaces, offer access to means of production or make connections with overseas institutions. It’s not so much a question of a lack of resources as matching these resources to the real needs of the artistic community.


Curriculum vitae

Pablo Valbuena 
Madrid, 1978. 
Vive y trabaja en/Lives and works in: Madrid. 

Formación Académica/Education 
Licenciado en Arquitectura, Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de Madrid. 

Exposiciones individuales (selección)/Selected solo exhibitions 
Galería Max Estrella, Madrid. Sala Parpalló, Diputación de Valencia.
Abierto x obras, Matadero Madrid. 

Recent works, Vrije Academie, Den Haag, Nederland. 

The Hague City Hall, Den Haag, Nederland. 

Entramado, Plaza de las Letras/Medialab-Prado, Madrid. 

Exposiciones colectivas (selección)/Selected group exhibitions

CREAM, International Festival for Arts and Media, Yokohama, Japan.
DAF, Museum of Contemporary Art Taipei, MOCA, Taipei.
Almost Cinema, Vooruit Arts Center, Gent, Belgique.
Fluid Architectures, Nederlands Institut voor Mediakunst, Amsterdam.
Mostravideo, Belo Horizonte, Brasil; Vitoria-Gasteiz.
ARCO 09, Galería Max Estrella (Madrid), Madrid. 

5th International Seoul Media Art Biennale, Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul.
Ars Electronica, O.K. Centrum, Linz, Österreich.
Nowhere/Now Here, LABoral Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial, Gijón. 

DAT exhibition, Singapore SC Museum, Singapore. 

Hambre 09, Madrid.

Proyectos Curatoriales/Curatorial Projects
Luz, Espacio y Percepción, Medialab-Prado, Madrid. Dirección de taller/grupo de investigación.


Actividades académicas relacionadas/Academic related activities
Joint Master of Architecture, Bern University, Bern, Suisse.
Madrid Abierto 2009: Urban Buddy Scheme, La Casa Encendida, Madrid.
Luz, Espacio y Percepción, Medialab-Prado, Madrid. 

V2 test_lab: urban play, V2-Noordkaap Foundation, Dordrecht, Nederland.
Arquiset’08. Lightscapes, Semana de la Arquitectura, Barcelona.
Trabajo reciente, Universidad Complutense de Madrid.
Interactivos 08, Medialab-Prado, Madrid. 

Becas y Premios/Awards and Grants
Ayudas a la creación contemporánea, Matadero de Madrid, Madrid.
Artist in residence program, WBK Vrije Academie/World Wide Visual Factory, Den Haag, Nederland.
Madrid Abierto 2009, Madrid. 

Prix Ars Electronica, Linz, Österreich. (Mención Honorífica/Honorary Mention)

Artista en residencia, Casa de Velázquez, Madrid. 

Bibliografía (selección)/Selected bibliography 
Casey Reas, "FORM+CODE in Design, Architecture and Art", Princeton Architectural Press, Otoño, 2010. 
Agotai, Doris, "Der Raum im Off. Die Leerstelle als inszenatorisches Gestaltungsmoment", in: Frohne, Ursula; Haberer, Lilian Eds., Kinematographische Räume, München, 2009. 
Sánchez Argilés, Mónica, "La instalación, cómo y por qué", El Cultural, 26/VI/2009. 
Sánchez Argilés, Mónica, "5x5", El Cultural, 26/VI/2009.
Espejo, Beatriz, "Artistas con Hambre", El Cultural, 6/VI/2009. 
Planten, R., Feriéis, L., "Beyond architecture. Imaginative buildings and fictional cities", Gestalten, 2009. 
"Hambre 09", Madrid, 2009. Cat. Exp.
"Turn and widen", 5th International Seoul Media Art Biennale, Seoul, 2008. Cat. Exp.
"Nowhere/Now here", Gijón, LABoral Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial, 2008. Cat. Exp.
Vicente, José Luis de, "Pablo Valbuena ilumina el barrio de las letras", El Cultural, 6/III/2008. 
Coulter-Smith, Graham, "Pablo Valbuena, Augmented sculpture v1.2",, 2/II/2008. 
Debatty, Regine, "Augmented Sculpture v1.0",, 29/VI/2007. 

Galería Max Estrella, Madrid