David Macho (Santander, 1994) is a conceptual artist and contemporary anarchist. Graduated in Arts at the University of the Basque Country and mastered in Research in Art and Design by the Autonomous University of Barcelona, he carries out his practice around “bureaucratic plasticity”, understanding his relationship with the system as an aesthetic problem. He has worked mostly in transdisciplinary experiences, although he is currently more focused on the pictorial field, using this medium to generate apocalyptic narratives, where their characters live trapped in the most mediatic moments that have left their mark on the identity of the millennial, a garden that ranges from bizarre to viral.
- How did mass culture (cartoons, products, famous people, ...) become a big influence on your work?
Blame everything on Andy Warhol. Hahahaha It's a joke! Well, although in truth he is a bit to blame for introducing mass culture into the museum space, and consequently my work has been punctuated by its influence.
Although obviously its context has nothing to do with mine. Times have changed, and where he elevated the symbolism of Coca-Cola or Marilyn Monroe to a state of maximum fulfillment, he introduced contemporary products or celebrities such as Glovo or Hannah Montana. I am not saying that I am like him, but we do share a certain fascination for our time.
For example, I introduce the figure of the influencer a lot. People who have become famous by fictionalizing a dream life. The idea that a person can become a consumer product, and their status will be held over time by the self-imposed marketing, seems to me the most interesting of this era.
I don't think I answered your question, did I?
Well, internet stuff, you know. There is so much information at our fingertips that our decisions and desires are intoxicated by the oversaturation of the image. The dictatorship of the image? Maybe.
Too much information that expires our decisions and cannot be recovered. Are our thoughts and reflections not .png files that escape our wishes? Who knows.
- On the same note as the previous question, what is the role of cultural icons in your work? (It feels like you can play ‘Where’s Wally?’ with an art history book next to you.)I imagine that I use all these icons and references in a sarcastic way, maybe satire. Could you say that I criticize the time I have had to live?
I formulate it from the question because I dare not say it affirmatively. Perhaps because I think it is the reading that the spectator usually does when seeing my works, but this interpretation has nothing to do with my intention when it comes to "creating".
I understand my paintings more like a room of adolescent chaos, where you search and find nothing, but you have everything. A Britney Spears record, a Paul B. Preciado book, a Hannah Montana autograph, a Mickey Mouse figurine, a 27 cm dildo, I don't know ... A painting of mine could also resemble a hard drive, which after years without being ordered, you examine it and find everything except what you were looking for.
In short, it could be said that all that information that one day built my identity is overturned in each and every one of my paintings. Critically and ironically? Maybe!
And regarding the comparison "Where's Wally?", It is not the first time that I have been told. And this way of doing things as playful is because much of the art seems very boring to me. Since I use one of the most traditional artistic techniques such as painting, I will have to be fun at least, right?
The only thing that is clear to me is that I do not want to fall into the hallmark (so valued in the artistic system), that is, make my art a brand. There are many artists who achieve a recognizable and salable style and remain in it, because it is comfortable for them to maintain that status. To me this in particular seems a scam. I want to innovate as much as possible and keep looking for new ways to capture my thoughts.
Well, for many I also have a stamp, and they can recognize a "Macho", either because of the composition, the colors or the themes that I deal with. In spite of this, I try to make each painting be earlier than the previous one.
What is that "he is a Picasso"? What a pain!
Speaking of artists who have maintained a stamp of identity, I am consecrated figures such as Mondrian or Pollock. Can you imagine going to an individual exhibition of them? Okay, we all know how to identify a Mondrian, yes. But don't tell me that after seeing his work number 37 and where the variation between painting and painting is minimal, you want to shoot yourself. They are works where I have seen one, seen all.
And I do not want to fall into this way of doing, even if I never have a recognizable stamp. In short, I only pretend with my works that people laugh, that they seek and find things. Are my works a Pictionary?
- What is the meaning of reproduction in your work?Reproduction? When two large format paintings are paired to have squares and thus perpetuate the art system. hahaha
The truth is that I could not explain it, although it has something to do with the term "Shanzai za *, a Chinese neologism that is used to designate fake. This phenomenon I discovered after reading Shanzai. The art of counterfeiting and deconstruction in China by the Korean-German philosopher Byung-Chul Han, a book that I recommend for anyone interested in the value of the original.
- Any thoughts on kitsch?Yes! I am Kitsch.From my personality to my work. Furthermore, I would say that kitsch is a political position. In the end, kitsch arises from the people and for the people, right?
Although we all know that those who created this term did so to designate a type of art where the absence of style prevailed, and thus be able to legitimize good taste, or rather, what for them (dukes, marquises and other dandruff) was “good taste”, and ultimately good art.
I think that right in this inflection is the potential for subversion. That is why I declare myself a kitsch producer, because I question class society, and of course I do not believe in it. Is kitsch to art, what the communist manifesto is to late capitalism?
- Why is the mass culture, in your bigger works, eroticized? Does it depict your own sexuality?Mmmmm ... no, hehehe
I have not had sex for a year, I mean my sex life is not that exciting.
I also don't know why I started painting these motifs, nor if they have to do with my sexuality, although it was the beginning of my career as an artist. I imagine that we all started painting nude bodies, it is something that is always there, and a recurring clearing in any artist.
"So, I do not know what to paint? I am going to paint a naked woman with a vase and four plants around her."
- Does these three topics combined – mass culture, art icons and sexuality – resemblance your experience of life? Or is it your intention to evoke a more political reaction by the beholder?I do not intend to evoke anything, I just paint things that I find interesting and fun. In the end, anything can enter the judgment of provocation, although my intention is only to move the world around us within the same plane (canvas) and once the composition is created, see the LOL / XD / WTF that we are experiencing.
By the way, if there is something I hate, it is when they ask me: And what are you trying to convey with your paintings? What is your intention?" I don't know, tell me about it. I'm just a teenage boy in the turkey age angry with the world, or do you not see it in my paintings?"
- What conceptual role does art play in life?
Phew! What more difficult questions are you asking me! I would prefer that you ask me about my favorite food dish and you would know more about my way of thinking or acting, and even about my work. If you want I can tell you that art is super important and necessary, or that art precedes life etc. But it seems to me a discourse so frightened that it has already lost its meaning. Anyway, I prefer to talk about less academic subjects, such as: Is Britney Spears truly communist? Or is it just a Twitter hoax? (Hey! I'm not angry or anything. Just clear it up.)
- How do you translate that to your own work?Mmmm .... sorry for the previous answer. When I don't know what to answer, I always change the subject hahaha.
Let's see, because in my work I usually talk about my status as an artist precarious by the system. My paintings speak of the field of art in the broadest sense, meta-art? In the end my works are a reflection of my thoughts, that is, I have a cocoa in my head that you don't know well.
By this I mean that my identity is going through such an apocalyptic stage that it is lost in the era that it has had to live. I'm just a millennial disoriented in a world crammed with information and collapsed by circumstance. That I am not saying that I do not love this situation, but if, the vastness of the universe, and especially in this virtualized era, is disconcerting.
- You have a very ‘crafty’ paint technique as style, is this part of your concept?I am going to abbreviate my answers since I have the feeling of writing an essay and it is not my intention. Academic deformation I suppose.
As for the question, I suppose yes. In the end, the way of painting and the concept usually go in the same direction.
In my case, I always paint without a previous sketch and I go painting according to what I want that same day. There are days when I get up and I feel like painting X and I do it, and possibly the next day I undo it. I don't know if this could be translated as an artistic trend, but it is my ̈methodology ̈.
The “trick” of my paintings is to start by painting what I like, which are generally the main characters and to postpone what I don't feel like until the end, that is, the background. Some time ago I spoke of this behaviour when facing a blank paper, and I called it "childhood technologies".
Something that established painters have been missing. Since they have time in a more productive way. First, they think they want to paint, then they make a sketch, later they scratch the canvas with a thin coat of paint and finally focus on the details.
- Can you tell something more to the T.A.T.E. earrings?T.A.T.E. (Tiny Art Teasingly Emotional) is a project that arises so that everyone can buy something fairly affordable from my artistic production. It could be called something like David Macho merchandise.
As for "what is it?" For people who don't know, saying that it consists of a series of miniature reproductions of paintings that have been important in the history of art.
With this project I work on the idea of copying, playing accessible and democratic art, a game where everyone can acquire a small work of art, a souvenir of what they have sold us as inaccessible and contemplative. Furthermore, each piece can be used as a pendant, and it is kept in a packaging that fulfils the function of a museum, protecting the work with a security guard who guards each one.
It is a takeaway art project, to "go make a picture" (Spanish expression) It is the system of miniature art.
- Do you look upon this T.A.T.E. project as part of your paintings as a painter, or do you consider yourself as a more all-around visual artist that combines every aspect in life?
For me T.A.T.E. it is not a painting project. Despite painting being one of the techniques, I use to carry it out. It is rather a joke or a game where you can collect mini art, like those fascicles that go out every week and sell in the kiosks. Do you know what I mean? Those who advertise on television and release a super creepy slogan: "become a stone collector, delve into its history, its origin..." Well, T.A.T.E. It is the same but with miniature reproductions of works of art.
- At last, can you tell something more about the ‘free David Macho’ phenomena?For those who do not know, they disabled my Instagram account, and not once, but twice. Because “allegedly” did not meet the standards of this platform.
And it is there where this phenomenon emerged “free David Macho”. Many people were involved in this event and for all this support I received, they got it back to me right away.
Although not everything was bad, since I took several reflections of this event:
1. It seems silly to lose Instagram, but it is not. I want to make it clear that it is something super important. In the end, we must think that our generation has grown up with social networks such as Tuenti, Fotolog ... thousands of platforms that have allowed our body and mind to expand virtually. And once it is taken from you, you feel like an organ is being removed. And you will say: "An organ is much more important for the motor capacity of the body." Well, no. Instagram is another organ, it is a form of ego projection, it is the presentation of one's subjectivity. And once it is taken from you, you lose many things and you feel very lost. It is like losing a contemporary limb. ̈ (transcribed reflection of some stories that I uploaded to my IG account the same day the account was returned to me.)
2. Literal that Instagram (and more apps) is the latest Horcrux. Well, you have deposited part of your soul (image format) in a virtual consciousness, which acts as an interplanetary meeting platform. From where you can position yourself, but also the other can classify you. A contemporary duel in which many lose control of their identity. AKA Dulceida or María Pombo (Spanish influencers). ̈ (Text I wrote in my stories comparing Harry Potter with Instagram)
3. Little is said about Digimon. But it has very interesting things that can be applied in our day to day. Each Digimon has an emotional bond with each human, and it can only grow digivolving with the commitment between both planes of oneself (the plane of the ̈real ̈ and ̈subjectivity in the virtual ̈). Let's say that each Digimon is ourselves in the virtual field. But only the union and management of emotions between both parties will make of ourselves self-knowledge that will take us to the next level of evolution.
In short, that they took away Instagram, it gave me to think and write.
- Any upcoming artistic plans?Well, right now I am doing commissions, so if someone wants someone to write to me. Also to say that soon a project will come out that I still cannot speak about. And nothing, I am open to proposals once the apocalypse that the coronavirus has brought to an end. PS: Thanks to all of you who have swallowed all this badge, although as Hannah Montana said “Nobody is perfect”. Ah! And that I'm reading the Bible. And I am living.