Interview: Úrsula San Cristóbal

Úrsula San CristóbalImage courtesy of Úrsula San Cristóbal

Interview: Úrsula San Cristóbal

Luca Curci meets Úrsula San Cristóbal in Venice after her participation in Future Identities – Bodies. Places. Spaces exhibition.

Úrsula San Cristóbal Opazo (1987) is a musician, performer and researcher specialized in medieval music and audiovisual contemporary culture. She began working on Performance Art in 2008. In this year she founded with Francisco González, Grupo Cruce (Cross group), an experimental early music ensemble that incorporated contemporary art installation and performances in its concerts. Úrsula lives in Barcelona, working as a freelance performer and researcher in the domain of artistic research.

Úrsula San CristóbalImage courtesy of Úrsula San Cristóbal

Luca Curci – Your performance has just been realized during Venice Experimental Cinema and Performance Art Festival: can you talk about your personal experience in Venice with International ArtExpo?

Úrsula San Cristóbal – As a musician, I have had the opportunity to play many times in Venice, but this time was my first solo performance in a contemporary art festival, so I was very excited. I felt very comfortable because the festival atmosphere was international and multicultural, so was a great opportunity to exchange ideas. On the other hand, I think the audience was respectful and, in some cases, they offered an interesting feedback.

Úrsula San CristóbalImage courtesy of Úrsula San Cristóbal

L. C. – Can you talk about the performance you presented in Venice? How is it linked with the festival’s theme?

U. S. C. – In my performance Delectationem I explore the sensuality and spirituality in medieval culture through the contemporary imagination, considering the musician’s body as the main artistic object. My performance is the artistic result of a research on three aspects: the music of the mystical nun Hildegard von Bingen (twelfth century), the colors and hand gestures of sacred iconography. I interpret these elements from my contemporary imagination and try to express it by means of my body and some objects in the space (color fabrics). However, my gestures do not try to narrate the lyrics, but express my musical rendition. It is a performance about medieval body and its implicit sensuality, but is also a performance about musician’s body and its capability to interpret and enjoy the music beyond the conventions of a concert. I think this reflection about body was linked with the festival’s theme, because I’m concerned about body as a source of feeling and sensations that resulting in a particular kind of interaction with the space and audience.

Úrsula San CristóbalImage courtesy of Úrsula San Cristóbal

L. C. – What are you currently working on?

U. S. C. – My current work is focused on the “dialogue” between medieval imaginary (art and music in particular) and contemporary means of expression, like art installation and performance. I’m musician and researcher and I think is possible to express the results of my research in an artistic way. When you carry out a research, you develop a close subjective relationship with your topic that cannot be expressed in an academic paper. Your imagination is fully permeated and you need to convey this rapport in an artistic way. At the present time, I am working on two projects that revolve around monodic music: the first one explores sensuality in medieval versions of Song of Songs. The second one is focused in the Saint Denis church (Paris), and I explore the relation between color and music based on the stained glass iconography.

Úrsula San CristóbalImage courtesy of Úrsula San Cristóbal

L. C. – What is art for you?

U. S. C. – It is a huge question…a complex one…I prefer to focus on performance art because I am working on it. I think performance art is the expression of a mental state through artist’s body in relation with the space and the audience. I think the mental state is a key element that can be induced in many ways and each artist must find its own way, that is say, there is not a single “method”.

L. C. – What do you think about International ArtExpo organization?

U. S. C. – I think was pretty good. The staff was very kind and gave us all the necessary information.

Úrsula San CristóbalImage courtesy of Úrsula San Cristóbal

L. C. – Do you think International ArtExpo organization can represent an opportunity for artists?

U. S. C. – I think it is a great opportunity for artist that are starting their careers and want to exhibit their works in an international context. Most performances were very interesting and suggestive, which demonstrates a thoughtful organization.

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