essays

Anecdote

Concha Argüeso. 2007

After photographing my art work for three days, the photographer looked at me intently, turned thoughtfully to my works, looked at me again and said: “My problem with your work is that it feels to me like you didn’t do it yourself, it was like another artist did it. We’ve been working together for three days, and I cannot relate your vivacious temperament, your way of speaking and your gestures, with the contemplative nature of your works.” I didn’t know what to say, but his comment stuck in my mind.

This happened eight years ago, and ever since it has been coming back to mind at irregular intervals. Certainly it is not the only surprising comment I have heard about my work but this one has lingered on because I understand the photographer all too well.

There are creative moments when you begin with an idea, or a gesture, or often just an impulse. From there on, I just follow it until my work takes on its own meaning. Then it also occurs to me that I look at what I am doing and, for a fraction of a second, I ask myself how I got there and what it has do with me. For years I thought that was what the photographer was alluding to –to the surprise of the creation per se.

This summer however I understood, at the time of an intense situation for me, when I was far from my workshop and my world, the true dimension of his question. Stress enhanced my desperate need for my artistic rituals and my creative time to offset the negative impressions that were building up. Then I understood that was the relation between me and my work that the photographer was looking for, a need-based relationship.

My works of art are slow and concentrated, often composed of repetitive gestures that empty our perception of superfluous events. I seek a world that will shed clarity into our daily comings and goings, that will lead us to the essential so that it will reveal the secret poetical dimension all around us. A world where it is possible to breathe slowly and to feel the passage of time, its infinite progression in the world, and its finite progression on our own skin.

My artistic endeavour becomes the accompaniment that I need in order to acquire clarity and to return to myself in a frantically urban, noisy and confusing setting, rich in random input. Sharing with all those who see my work, who stop there and delve into its core, is for me a vital act of communication, and a great satisfaction that nourishes my artistic need.