Today we are opening our new section Tales of Art and we are glad to present you Anna Garcia and her artistic world!
We had a great chat with Anna and we have been nostalgic about the unforgettable moments we had shared with the girls of Escalera de Incendios gallery located somewhere at our favourite Parlament street, in Barcelona. Nice people,interactive performances, interesting meetings, art and … a way of life. It was not just a closed elitist space, a stereotypical gallery, it was beyond that. Always supporting new artists and innovative ideas, bringing art to where it truly belongs… to the people!
Anna and her fellows, are about to start new projects now. She is making a lovely sharing with us talking about Art, politics, tendencies and of course… music! Fresh people with fresh ideas is all we need! A T.O.P. interview!
T.O.P.: Who is Anna García?
A. G. : Anna is a girl from Alicante, Spain who had lived in Barcelona for more than 10 years. I came here to finish my studies in Fine Arts with the intention to go to Mexico and until now I haven’t left this place. One experience led to another and so I am still here!
T.O.P.: How do you see Art and its tendencies nowadays in Barcelona? And in Europe?
A. G. : Well, this is quite generic question. Without doubt Barcelona is a very creative city but at the same time very stagnant in terms of Barcelona`s brand. When I decided to come and live here I was in love with this city as it was a city that it was shinning. All the best exhibitions of Spain were taking place here, in Barcelona, but then more or less some 10 years ago everything started to change. The city started to lose its identity drastically and supporting wrong cultural politics focusing in massive tourism that destroys everything under its steps.
Going back to your question, talking about the trade of Art in the level of the elite is not suffering at all, supporting Art through the basic culture is a madness, it seems impossible to me to talk about art in general as there are so many aspects.
Regarding the European context now, its obvious that considering the funds and support given to the artistic development comparing to the ones here, It is very clear that the evolution, development, quality, understanding and respect towards the creative figure are quite progressive comparing to Spain.
T.O.P.: What does Escalera de Incendios (incendio= fire) represent? Is it about an intellectual fire in the city?
A. G. : We have always used the term “cultural laboratory”. Since 2012 we have been working on emerging art concepts, new creators and independent projects where their priority is the promotion of the democracy of Art. Bring the Art closer to the people, breaking the barriers between the gallery, the artist and the public, through creation, understanding and consideration. Moreover, demystifying the elitism of art is amongst our main actual purposes.
T.O.P. : Tell us a story you will never forget during all these years
A. G. : Just 3 years ago we have started the #drawmysideface’ of the artist Paula Bonet. She has asked from her followers to send her portraits in order to paint them becoming part of the exhibition. She has received a lot of them and she has chosen 20 for the exhibition. The portrait we have chosen as an image for the exhibition was painted on one of the walls of the gallery. In the middle of the opening event a girl of approximately 15 years old appeared and asked to see Paula. We have immediately accompanied her to the artist and we asked how does she know her and she replied: “I am the girl of the wall! I am from Portugal!I am studying illustration and I love Paula Bonet, as I am a minor my mother signed for the allowance of my image rights and she bought the tickets as a present for me for a weekend in Barcelona. Now here we are with my mum and we came from Portugal to live this experience with you, thank you! ”. Well you can imagine the emotive moment with the girl and her mother. For this kind of moments it is worth it a lot to work for a project like that , that has an international and direct impact, at the same being so human. That´s wonderful!
T.O.P.: What is your answer to those people claiming that the art is dead. Do you think that in periods of humanistic crisis like the one we are going through artists do keep having a significant role? What are the biggest challenges for you?
A. G. : Art is not dead. I am working with new artists every day, and they have a lot to say . I would better say that the cultural elitist politics are démodé and not well defined.
My most important challenge is to maintain a balance between gallery- artist- public!
T.O.P.: What’s happening currently in your life?
A. G. : I am fighting every day in order to be able to dedicate myself in what gives me life.. which means art!
It is very complicated to achieve a state of wellbeing, considering the actual politics. Art needs to be here with its critical spirit. I do not understand life without education, health, justice and culture if they are not for free and guaranteed for everybody.
Escalera de Incendios has been transformed to an online project. We have left the space after four years. It is very difficult to maintain a physical place while having commercial activities in Spain and the government do not support at all. We are working to be able to come back to the streets in a new space. Currently, we are planning new exhibitions in several venues in Barcelona.
Working behind the scenes now is allowing to us to develop new cultural projects that will soon see the light! In October 2016 we are coming back with the second edition of the Young Gallery Weekend, an independent festival of contemporary art, a initiative of Escalera de Incendios that we are really proud of.
T.O.P.: Who is your favourite artist, one you really admire and you would love to see his/her art in the gallery?
A. G. : I would love to work with Ernest Zacharevic, an urban artist. I am interested in the way he is integrate his art in the public space. As you see he is not pretentious at all, converting art in something daily is the key!
T.O.P.: If Escalera de Incendios was music what would it be?
A. G. : Aiiii! What a difficult question! In Escalera de Incendios music has been always very present, we have always included musicians in our own events. From “bending” work-shops”, live acts with violins and saxophones, djs, electronic live acts and a lot more…
It would be really difficult that just one piece of music could represent us. Although, the last live act we have been was in for the Mutek Festival here in Barcelona was the “Trialogue”. The result of the fusion of three artists: Bugge Wesseltoft a jazz pianist from Norway, Henrik Schwarz, king of german electronic music and Dan Berglund , a musician from Sweden from the club to the theatre coming together in a “delicate fusion of jazz, classical and electronic music” creating a dialog between them.
T.O.P.: Your favourite artists? Your favourite album?
A. G. : I have got a lot…. And of many and different styles. I am fascinated by black music, classical artists like Billie Holiday and John Coltraine, Erika Badú or Jose James.
Also hip hop names such as hip hop, J Dilla, Beastie Boys, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Roots Manuva, Goshtpoet…
Looking over my playlist of electronic music Four Tet, SBTRKT, TNGHT, Atom TM are never missing…. And the list is never ending…!
I don’t even have a favourite album.. Lets do one thing! I am going to recommend you a Japanese-german hip hop producer under the name of Samon Kawamura and the record Thaima – Spur Of The Moment #1 (2012).
Then the last vinyl I have bought yesterday is the “Yesterday I Had The Blues” the music of Billie Holiday by José James, the artist I had the pleasure to listen some months ago!
T.O.P.: Our last and a bit bizzarish question. Which piece of art could heal the mind?
A.G.: Difficult questions you make!…hehhhehee
I invite you to join the world of catalan photographer Blanca Viñas www.blancaviñas.com. Her work is analog and basically with lomo.
<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/160508554″>III Aniversario de Escalera de Incendios</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/escaleradeincendios”>Escalera de Incendios</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>
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