Interview with Samuel Salcedo at Preview 2012

photos by Sabine Jamme

Berlin in art caught up with Spanish painter and sculptor Samuel Salcedo at Preivew Berlin 2012 and Salcedo took the time to talk a little bit about his process.

Samuel Salcedo was born in Barcelona, Spain in 1975. He studied at the College of Fine Arts at the University of Barcelona and at the Manchester Metropolitan University. He graduated in Fine Arts at the University of Barcelona in 1998. He has exhibited in various venues over the past decade throughout Spain.

BIA: How did you make the decision to never make two copies of the same sculpture?

SS: I think while I’m working, so i prefer to make a new one each time. I suppose that i am always explaining the same thing but the way of working is different because if you change the material, suddenly you find a new experience, and i’m not systematic, I don’t have an academic process.

I invent during the process, so I don’t know what will happen at the end of the sculpture. I don’t always remember what i have done. Every time I stop, it’s something new. I work a little bit in series, but when i think of a series i just start again, trying to explain the same thing in a different way.

BIA: Who are the people the sculptures are inspired by?

SS: I invent  a lot. They are not real human beings. They look realistic though. I work with photos. I interchange heads and bodies of various people from different photos. Sometimes it happens that I don’t have any women, but the faces from the giant heads are from women.

BIA: Do you like to draw?

SS: I am not a very good drawer. I draw all the time to think about what I’m doing i have to draw… to remember what I have seen, and my studio is full of papers and black boards. I started out as a painter.

BIA: Do you have help with the production of your work?

SS: I have people who help me in the worst part of the process with sanding and helping with fiber glass. It’s nice because then you don’t lose energy doing this process. A couple years ago I was alone doing everything and now I’m learning how to give some of the work to others. It means a lot to keep your energy, that’s an important part, because if not you lose a lot of time doing things that are not important at all.

BIA: Can you talk about the humor in your work?

SS: Tragic and funny. What does it mean for a man to be naked after a party, or a clown that just had a shower. A clown is somebody making the others laugh but who is sad in the same moment . I like to work a lot with this mixing of meanings and the shape, the profile of a bunny, which means something nice, a  face that means something else. It’s not necessarily ugly, but it’s not expected.

BIA: Why are the smallest pieces exhibited under glass?

SS: They look like jewels when they are under glass. The glass makes them more fragile and protects them a little bit. I also notice how the light changes. For them to be under glass changes the meaning, like a small thing, a toy.

BIA: How long does it take to finish a piece?

SS: 2-3 weeks is a lot for me. It’s terrible because you have the idea and to keep the energy up for the idea is hard. I need to have this possibility of changing the meaning during the process of the work. i don’t have any plan.

BIA: How do you get inspired?

SS: Inspiration is something strange, because I can think if i am not at my studio. I need to be doing things. There is not one moment where you make decisions to change everything, like when you have done something then you can understand what you have done and find the energy to start again, and what I start is never the same when it ends.

Samuel Salcedo’s work can be seen at 3 Punts Gallery in Berlin and Barcelona.