Interview: Manuel Delgado
Luca Curci talks with Manuel Delgado during Venice International Art Fair 2020 at Palazzo Albrizzi-Capello.
A Brussels-based Spanish artist, Manuel Delgado is a visual poet. He aims to develop expansive and innovative modes of writing about, with and as art. Within the visual arts discipline, Manuel is focused on ‘Art Writing.’ In that sense, Manuel focuses on multidisciplinary political poetic practices. He seeks to compose critical art forms from his non-orthodox artistic education, taking advantage of his theoretical basis in Law, Political Science and Philosophy. That is why Manuel is an outsider artist. His works set philosophical essays in modern aesthetics. Researching constitutes an ineludible part of his artistic production, being it a myriad of critical reflections which later on becomes the aura of any ‘Art Writing’ output. By fostering joint practices that combine poetry with illustration or photography or music, Manuel aspires to deliver a future memory of today’s images. In that regard, he promotes collaborative projects for depicting an utterly panorama of political processes, which are in the end based on many individuals’ perspectives.
Luca Curci – What is art for you?
Manuel Delgado – Art is the extemporal relief for a temporal existence. It allows conversations in different times and spaces with oneself about the world. It boosts constructive criticism and marginal discourses, constituting an ongoing catalyst for social change.
LC – Which subject are you working on?
MD – Right now, I am focused on collaborative art. Collaborative visual-writing art. From my generation (millennials) onwards, it seems to be quite difficult to buy a house, therefore we rent, to buy a car, therefore we share, or even to live in your own country, therefore we migrate. Collaborative services such as Uber, Airbnb or Patreon were born out of necessity. We do not enjoy the stability nor the quality of life of our parents, therefore we collaborate. In that sense, art should not be focused anymore on individual-oriented creations, because it never was a one-time isolated output. Collaborative art should represent current generations not only by its content, which tends to lose primacy, but also by its creative process. Artists should be public figures for those who cannot afford to buy a house nor a painting. We should represent the young by making group art, profiting from the diversity of our community. Finally, I am also focused on inclusive art, this is art destined to be accessible for people with disabilities, specially visually impaired people.
LC – Where do you find your inspiration?
MD – It mostly comes from digital sources such as Vimeo, Instagram or Behance and academic papers. I am currently studying philosophy, which is notably useful for positioning and depositioning oneself. In that sense, I am an outsider artist due to my non-orthodox creative background in Law and Political Science. However, instead of starting anew, I create as if I was ethically debating with myself.
LC – Which is the role the artist plays in the society? And contemporary art?
MD – As I mentioned before, artists should not only create to discuss social problems, but also act to solve them. I consider that after the pandemic and the series of economic crises lived in Europe, empathy is of utmost importance. Artistic empathy can be shown in what we create and in how we create it and share it. Techniques lose relevancy if considered only by themselves. They may be necessary but are definitely not enough. Ideas govern contemporary art. Amid a plethora of great known and unknown creators, not only artists, social commitment is fundamental. Reflecting on nowadays challenges such as disabilities, uncertainty or anxiety is my way of creating empathetically.
LC – What is your creative process like?
MD – I tend to write a brief philosophical essay, that later on becomes the abstract of the project, before visually creating. After that, I contact the artist or artists I envisage to collaborate with. From that point onwards, ideas pivot until reaching common ground amid co-authors. Finally, I create by testing and sharing.
LC – Do you agree with our vision of art and what do you think about the theme of the festival?
MD – I agree with the vision of Itsliquid Group of promoting emerging and consolidated artists by proximity-oriented and easy-to-access art fairs. I rapidly engaged with the themes of the festival and that is why I decided to enter the selection process.
LC – We were attracted by your last artistic production, has the artwork presented been created for the festival or as a part of preexisting works?
MD – The artwork presented is part of a non-finished project called Painthical that aims to introduce classical Flemish paintings to broader audiences (including people with disabilities) through braille and ink poems. It was never exhibited before because it started in 2019 and we were expecting to finish it by the end of 2020. Painthical is composed of two limited (English and Spanish-based) series of 10 artworks; each one printed only 50 times. This exhibition unexpectedly changed our plans and we thought (Manuel Candel, Ana Ollé and myself) to present three pieces from our English-based catalog.
LC – What is your idea about ITSLIQUID GROUP?
MD – An international art-oriented group that showcases multiple artists around the globe.
LC – What are your suggestions about our services? Is there something more we can provide to artists?
MD – I would say connecting artists to galleries and external curators that may be interested in the same discipline could provide an added-value for artists while exhibiting artworks during the festival.
LC – Did you enjoy cooperating with us?
MD – Yes, I did. The process was clear since the beginning and I look forward to seeing how it ends!