Paloma Checa-Gismero

Artist selected by Estévez, Ruth at 2011

She combines her work as an artist with several projects linked to cultural management and teaching. Up until July 2011, she was artist in residence at the Rampa space in Madrid. She is currently guest researcher at the art history department at the University of California in Berkeley and writes regularly for the critical thought magazine A-Desk.


1. What made you choose art as a profession?
The advantage of being an artist is that it automatically entails the question of what being an artist means. That’s why I like it.


2. How would you define your work?
I’d say that what you see in my work is the result of working to find different ways of telling a story.


3. What subjects are you interested in?
I’m interested in landscapes. I’m interested in texts. I’m interested in exploring how I relate to both. I’m interested in travel.


4. What resources – formal or otherwise – do you use in your work?
I use tools like cameras, painting, computers and printers. I use processes like walking, cycling, writing and reading. I include text and my body in my work because otherwise it doesn’t make sense.


5. What relationship does your work have with reality? What are your raw materials?
My work is part of reality because that’s where I place it. My raw materials are my experiences in relating to my environment. Sometimes this is particularly clear because I include photographs of the environment in my work; other times it’s not so obvious.


6. What, according to you, is the point of art?
I like things that don’t have only one purpose. In my relationship with art, this gives me a better understanding of my surroundings. And a better understanding of myself. The images I create act as echoes of part of my experience with the world. In any case, art is the most enjoyable form of learning I’ve found.


7. How do you hope the public will receive your work? What audience are you aiming at?
I’m not aiming at any audience in particular. Fortunately, I’m not able to come up with a definition of a specific target to connect with. The only thing I hope is that if anyone looks at my work, they’re able to get something back in exchange.


8. What qualifications have you got? What do you value most from your time in education?
I graduated in fine art. I took a master’s in art and I’m currently writing my PhD thesis. I also studied philosophy for a year at university and a year ago I took the decision to continue research in other areas. From my time in the fine art department, above all I value the importance of drawing as a language. You learn to take responsibility for your own learning. I really value all the people I met: people I worked with, people I disagreed with, people who made me think and who created a series of experiences that made me grow in many different senses.


9. How would you define your current professional situation? And in the future?
Working with art means lots of different things. In my case, I publish art criticism and produce work while I’m working on my PhD thesis. At the moment, I make a living from these three activities: little money but lots of pleasure. My goal is to carry on doing what I enjoy, but earning more money and getting even more pleasure.


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 don’t affect my work. I’ve never needed a major outlay for my work and at the moment it’s not something that interests me, although that could change in the future.


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 exactly the same as with any other professional I’ve ever worked with. A relationship of equals where each person’s different skills help shape a joint product. Some people I’ve worked with have been more professional than others and some have been more interesting than others.


12. What do you think sets the arts scene in Madrid apart from elsewhere? What would you say are its pluses and minuses?
I think the arts scene in Madrid is small, limited and very badly financed. On the plus side, everyone involved is eager to do new things and work hard even though these are lean years. If there’s anything good about not being paid what you ought to or working in adverse conditions, it’s that it sharpens your wits. I think in the future this will help things look like they were worth it.

Curriculum vitae

Paloma Checa Gismero
Madrid, 1985
Vive y trabaja en/Lives and works in: San Francisco


Formación Académica/Education
PhD Guest Researcher, History of Art Department, University of California, Berkeley.


Máster en Arte, Creación e Investigación, Universidad Complutense de Madrid.


Licenciada en Bellas Artes, Universidad Complutense de Madrid.


Primer curso licenciatura en Filosofía, Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia, UNED.


Exposiciones Individuales (Selección)/Selected Solo Exhibitions
La sabiduría del artesano, Programa Eventos Paralelos Manifesta 8, Espacio AV, Murcia.


Exposiciones Colectivas (Selección)/Selected Group Exhibitions
Todo fluye / Panta Rhei, Galería Rita Bowen, Madrid.
XXII Premio Circuitos de Artes Plásticas Comunidad de Madrid, Sala de arte joven Comunidad de Madrid.*


Summer calling, Galeria 3+1 arte contemporánea, Lisboa.
Cómo construir un habitáculo (trabajo en proceso), Programación Extenxión Universitaria, Sala de exposiciones Facultad de Bellas Artes Universidad Complutense de Madrid.


Premio de dibujo Gregorio Prieto, Museo de la Fundación Gregorio Prieto, Valdepeñas.
Premio Joven Fundación Complutense, Museo de América, Madrid.

*Cat Exp.

Programa PRISMA / “Construcción de presupuestos. Cuando una institución está lista para albergar la divagación”, programa de investigación en ciencias de la ficción del espacio RAMPA, Madrid.


RAMPA, centro de producción. Miembro fundador.


Aula de Propulsión Escópica, proyecto educativo sobre arte y nuevas tecnologías, varias localizaciones, España.


Actividades Académicas/Academic Related Activities

A Story on How Avant Garde Art Met Technology, China Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing.

Ponente invitada, asignatura Dibujo y profesión, Máster en Arte, Creación e Investigación, Facultad de Bellas Artes Universidad Complutense de Madrid.

Ponente invitada, Máster en arte contemporáneo Universidad Autónoma de Madrid / Museo Nacional de Arte Reina Sofía (MNCARS), Madrid.


Dos años de actividades del Aula de Propulsión Escópica, ciclo FREE(K) CULTURES, Matadero Madrid, Madrid.


Youth Culture in Contemporary Spain, Hamilton College, Madrid.


“Miradas en el Museo Thyssen”, guía didáctica Museo Thyssen Bornemizsa, coautoría con Carlos Fernández Pello, Madrid, abril 2011
Varios artículos, A-Desk. Revista de crítica de arte contemporáneo.
Publicaciones regulares desde 2009 al presente.


Becas y Premios/Awards and Grants
Consejería de Cultura Comunidad de Madrid. XXII Circuitos de Artes Plásticas Comunidad de Madrid (Selección y exposición/Selected and exhibition)

University of California. EAP program (Selección/Selected)

Universidad Complutense de Madrid. Beca de intercambio para estudiantes de doctorado con la Universidad de California (Selección/Selected)


Manifesta 8 Eventos Paralelos. Beca de producción de proyecto (Selección y exposición/Selected and exhibition)

Fundación Complutense. Premio Joven (Selección y exposición/Selected and exhibition)


Fundación Centenera Jaraba. Premio de Dibujo Fernando y Pilar Centenera (Selección/Selected)


Hontoria, Javier, Catálogo XXII Circuitos Artes Plásticas Comunidad de Madrid, Madrid, enero 2012. *


* Cat. Exp.


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