Interview: Cecilia Ibeth Álvarez Moreno
Luca Curci talks with Cecilia Ibeth Álvarez Moreno during Venice International Art Fair 2020 at THE ROOM Contemporary Art Space
I was born in Mexico City, my parents were both plastic artists, so artistic expression is in my blood, it is part of me, beyond what academic study can do for anyone. My mother said I was born bored. I am a person who gets bored easily with routine. What I paint, must necessarily take me to a world full of fantasy where there is always an explanation for my reality. Part of my father’s education was in the military, so my education was very strict and full of limits. I was born with a free spirit, that’s why my ideas always generate discussion and controversy. I studied, on the advice of my parents, the career of Accounting and I have a master’s degree in Law. At the age of 22 I began to teach at the University, just to achieve my financial independence and to be able to finance myself as an artist, my great passion. Years later I established my own workshop to teach art with psychopedagogical intent. I believe in the magic that generates the power of thought, that magic that makes you vibrate in tune with others and connects you and makes what you want come true. I am a person with great sensitivity, empathy is part of my daily life and it has developed in me a “super power”, the power to feel what the people around me feel, even without knowing them. I consider the energy of my thought to be so strong that it is capable of making things happen or stop. That led me to read and investigate the scientific basis for the power of the mind to change your destiny. I am a great admirer of the surrealism of Remedios Varo, who made me adopt fantasy as part of my work. I love the luminosity of impressionist painting and have adopted expressionism as an everyday thing in my seemingly fantastic worlds. Some brushstrokes of abstract art are present to describe what I cannot, through the figurative. What’s art for me? The art is simply within me. Art is in my blood, in every part of my body, in my mind, in my soul, and that is why I see a different reality and that is why people say that I am always dreaming with my eyes open. Art is seeing reality with the eyes of the soul and being able to express it in any way.
Luca Curci – What’s your background?
Cecilia Ibeth Álvarez Moreno – I am self-taught plastic artist, I was born in a family where art was always in my life, my father passionate about realistic art, landscaper, and portraitist of beautiful alleys and Mexican cities, and my mother lover and admirer of Mexican ethnic culture, of the customs and beauty of the indigenous women, which she recreated in her works. Both plastic artists of school and heart. From an early age and with the teachings of my parents, I started painting, at first, I tried to copy the style and motifs they painted, but these works didn´t talk about me. Gradually, growing and maturing in my strokes and admiring the fantasy of Remedios Varo, I begin to dream in non-existent magical worlds that begin to fill my life and flow in my mind. In this moment I was aware that I was born being an artist. Thus, my work begins with surrealism, with the recreation of fantastic worlds with which I once felt identified. Today, to build my own version of reality, I have adopted the fantasy of surrealism, a distorted reality of expressionism, the intensity of light and color of impressionism, some lines of Fauvism and some brushstrokes of abstract art. Life has taken me on many roads. In my beginnings as an artist, I decided to teach at the University where I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting and a Master’s Degree in Law that I never practiced, with the sole purpose of financing myself as an artist. This experience also provided me with the opportunity to collaborate at their Educational Technology Research Institute for many years. Today I can’t imagine doing it, however, I appreciate it very much, because that’s where I discovered my vocation as a teacher. Years later, I created a children’s art workshop with a psych pedagogical intention. Recently, I was teaching art and organizing exhibitions at the Institute for the Development of Children with High Potential, where I had beautiful life experiences working with children with disabilities. From an early age I have participated in several individual and group exhibitions, as well as art fairs.
LC – What is the message linked to the artwork you have shown in this exhibition?
CIAM – The work shown in this exhibition is based on 5 artworks made in mixed media. Photography, acrylic and oil were mixed to create an artwork which expresses the power of thought to attract good or bad things. We always are looking for a guilty of our destiny and we are unaware that we are the only ones responsible for our life. Our thoughts change the reality we live, and they are the ones that relate us to other people and to the environment in a good or a bad way. I try to explain, from my own perspective, why some people always attract good things and why some people attract bad things. Our thoughts attract energy from the Universe, which feeds the tree of life of each one of us, with the fruits of happiness, love, success, peace, hatred, fear, sadness or resentment. So we build positive or negative thoughts. Mental images produce vibrations and attract things that vibrate in the same way. The unconscious mind works with these mental images to produce ideas and generate actions to achieve success and happiness or to get away from them.
LC – How is it connected to the theme of the entire festival?
CIAM – The festival is titled “Borders”. My work is titled “What We Attract from the Universe”, which talks exactly about the power of thoughts to change our reality and our destiny, thus focusing on the border between soul and body. Scientists have not discovered the actual site of the soul within the human body, they believe that the soul is trapped in the unconscious mind. The soul is the one that generates responses to stay safe and is also responsible for generating positive or negative thoughts based on our experiences. The soul through our thoughts, shapes our attitudes, behaviors and prejudices that limit freedom. Many times, we live trapped in our own prejudices and we don’t realize it. But one day life surprises us and leads us to fall into contradictions with our own values and judgments and that is the moment when we stop listening to those external voices about what is right or wrong and when only we listen to the voice of our subconscious, which reminds us of what makes us happy, not what makes others happy. This inner voice also reminds us of what we are capable of, then, we give ourselves permission to make mistakes, to love, to cry, to laugh out loud, to walk naked, to be ourselves with our strengths and opportunities. Then we come to the moment when we are free and happy.
COVID-19 came to change the lives of everyone around the world, however, some people see these changes as an opportunity to improve, create opportunities and help others, but others blame COVID-19 for their misfortunes. The latter are broken people. Everything depends on our own thoughts. This is just what my works talk about.
LC – What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?
CIAM – Three things have influenced my work: The death of my mother made me look for an explanation about death, that’s why some of the works I have painted are about my own idea of what happens, when we have to say goodbye to our loved ones. The last thing I have painted is about the other kind of death, living death, which is caused by our own thoughts. Another experience that has influenced my work, in the last years, is feeling me trapped in a routine life and believing that there was no exit door and looking around me many people, mostly women, who are trapped and unaware that they died long ago doing things for which they were not born, who got used to not being happy. I think that we can only find the way to freedom by listening to the voice of our subconscious. We get used to living a routine of life that we have not chosen, we let it choose us. Nobody demands more from us than ourselves, we are our worst judges and executioners. We are who sabotage ourselves so as not to be happy.
The third experience that marked my life and increased my sensitivity to express my emotions, was when I had the opportunity to work with children with disabilities. It was the first time that I could hear the most beautiful words that no one had ever said to me in life.
LC – Which subject are you working on?
CIAM – I’m interested in the black box of the subconscious that is the cause of what we attract from the universe and those responsible for our reality. So, my new series is called “inconsistencies of thought”.
LC – Which is the role the artist plays in the society? And the contemporary art?
CIAM – The artist is the sensitive piece of society. The true role of an artist is to get the viewer to know his distorted world through his feelings, thoughts or dreams, that is, to know how the artist perceives reality. The artist also, allows the viewer to identify him self and experience, through the artworks the variety of feelings and emotions that were captured by him. In my experience, many times, the society sees the artist as someone who lives dreaming with open eyes. In Mexico, artists of different arts abandon their dreams because society judges that painting, dancing, playing music, etc. it is not a real job. In Mexico, the arts are seen, as a hobby, which is why many talented people must work in an elementary school teaching art to survive. I love contemporary art, it is the path we follow to express our reality and the reality of society, mixing a wide variety of real themes and using new technologies and a diversity of materials to build new worlds and new realities from our thoughts.
LC – What is the most challenging part about creating your artworks?
CIAM – My work is full of imagination, fantasy, magic, aesthetics, and emotions that my subconscious combines with my experience of reality, thus creating a unique version of life. So, when the daily routine traps me, because I am also a mother, it is very difficult to try to return to my own fantastic worlds. When I am really focused on my imaginary world, all the ideas, lines, and strokes flow.
LC – Which art themes do you pursue? What is your preferred subject if there is any?
CIAM – I play with the self-portrait and with themes such as the idealization of love, physical death, and death in life that our minds generate and that many people experience, but don’t know. I am interested in the black box of the subconscious that is the cause of what we attract from the Universe and the perception of our reality. I rebuild my own places by mixing my knowledge of real places with my emotions. I love the combination of techniques, textures, colors and contrasts for creating fantastic environments. I love painting surrealism. Although, many times what I really express is a new version of my reality. I love to experiment, combining technology with traditional techniques to create worlds that resemble a collage of shadows, dimensions, and textures.
LC – Do you agree with our vision of art and what do you think about the theme of the festival?
CIAM – Of course! Art is like a liquid material. It has a defined volume, but it does not have a defined shape, it flows and takes the shape of its container, in this case art takes the shape of its own creator and spectator. The true art is never repeated and continues to develop, it is not only the extension of our bodies, it is the reflection of our soul and a window to our mind and it bears imprinted our own identity. “Borders” is a wonderful theme! Human beings are generally limited by different issues: thoughts, race, religion, nationality, political ideas, beliefs, etc. Some of these borders were imposed on us from birth and the others were acquired throughout our lives. But when something or someone shakes our world, we are able to break those limits and demonstrate what we are capable of doing and, in this way, what makes us different from others, also unites us, and in the art world the same thing happens, we can find different techniques, themes and styles, but we all have the same objective, to communicate what is inside us. Art unites human beings in one language.
LC – What do you think about ITSLIQUID Platform?
CIAM – I think is a versatile tool to show the world the innovations in arts, architecture, design, and fashion. It’s a fantastic opportunity for artists, architects, designers, collectors, art critics, curators, dealers, and other personalities of the International art for sharing information and to relate to others.
LC – Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
CIAM – Of course! Sometimes we don’t have the same opportunities in our countries to show our works to collectors, art critics, curators or dealers or we do not have the purchasing power to travel to other countries and show our work to the world. ITSLIQUID GROUP offers us these opportunities.
LC – What are your suggestions about our services? Is there something more we can provide to artists?
CIAM – The only suggestion about their services is related to the possibility of providing us with a WhatsApp contact number to answer questions faster, due to the time differences in the countries. I think that with this contact number the shipping process would be easier for us and we would avoid paying unnecessary costs due to the doubts that arise at the time of shipping. In some countries, such as Mexico, finding a sponsor is very difficult, so ITSLIQUID could offer a list of sponsors who want to help selected artists take their works to the different fairs they organize. I think it would be a good idea to give us feedback, at the end of the event, on the comments and opinions heard about our works shown.