Enrique Ramírez, Chilean artist based in France, holds an exhibition at the Pompidou Center (France), after being nominated for the Prix Marcel Duchamp 2020. The exhibition began on October 7 and will be available until January 4, 2021.
The artist is currently working on two exhibitions that will be available in 2021. Also, he is working on some artworks together with his father, and he is writing a book about his artistic career that will be published in the middle of next year. In the interview, the artist talks about the origin of the themes of his artworks, his interests and the objective he seeks with his interventions.
By Ch.ACO Team
The horizon, the sea and sailboats are recurring themes in your works. I understand that it has to do with your childhood, but in concrete terms, what are you trying to convey or represent with this? Is it something personal or something you want viewers to see?
I think they are both at the same time. On the one hand the personal side, a geographical side that is where I come from which is Chile, a great horizon where we are locked between the mountains and the sea. It is a great wall, but also a great horizon. In general, I am very interested in natural and geographical limits, where the gaze is lost, mainly because it gives the imagination to think about other places, cultures, and what I try to do with my work is mainly that, start from the places that I know and take people to travel to other places. For me the horizon is a common place. These common places make the public understand my work or feel interpreted in some way.
You deal with various topics related to Chile and its history, would you like to live here again?
I am always coming and I don't really feel from anywhere. I am Chilean, but I also feel a bit French, I am a bit of all places. Coming to live here is not something I am looking for, but I try to come to Chile often.
I was listening to the interview Victor Leyton did to you during Gallery Weekend Santiago and I was wondering where does the interest in life questions come from, for generating these questions that you ask yourself in the viewer and that he / she finds himself / herself in?
In general, I start with questions, it is what I look for in art work, which could also be writing, poetry, music, photography, but my themes in general are linked to immigration, to what surrounds us as human beings. What interests me is the world and what happens to us, to human beings. So the questions I start from are always very essential, such as where do we come from? Where are we going? What do we want to build in this world? They seem like very clichéd questions, but are also very difficult to answer, and which are very rich in the artistic sense.
I loved a phrase you said: “In general human beings don't have so many ideas. Basically we have an idea that we are transforming and finding ways to reinvent it ”. What is that idea that you have and that you have reinvented several times?
I think that it is precisely the work with immigration and dialogue with the sea, the maritime theme as a form of poetry, a political form and a way of relating it to life, with how little tangible it can be, which is very similar to water. That is something that interests me a lot. I think that is my idea, a political and social theme, linked to the poetic and very inspired by the sea.
What was it like being nominated for the Marcel Duchamp Prize and currently having an exhibition at the Pompidou?
For me, being nominated for the Marcel Duchamp award is an honor because for a Chilean, Latin American artist, it is super beautiful and a tremendous honor. Having an exhibition in a museum like the Pompidou is incredible because in general the number of visits it has is immense. It is an honor to be there, among the four artists nominated for the award. For me that is already a prize.
With this nomination, do you feel like a representative of Chilean / Latin American art?
In a way, as a Chilean artist, yes, but that is a prize and a nomination that is given to artists who have generally had a career in France. This is basically why I am nominated. But I feel Latin American, I am Latin American and I am Chilean, so it is an honor for me as a Latin to be there. It is super important for me.
What projects are you currently working on?
Now I am preparing two exhibitions, one in Montreal, Canada and one in France. I am also writing a book that shows a bit of what my work as an artist has been up till today. Basically I work from the office and everything is super difficult, but at least there are these two exhibitions that are going to exist next year, even though the dates are not yet known. I'm also working on a couple of new artworks, but all more like desk work because in general I don't work in a workshop, I'm an artist who works the places and goes to places, and that is much more difficult now. I'm working on things that I haven't been able to do before.
What is this book you are working on like?
It is basically a sample of my work, my trajectory until now 2020 and it has many texts, texts written by me and by other people. It should be out in mid-2021.
What has been your favorite artwork? why?
I don't think I have a favorite artwork because I have a different affection for all my pieces. But if I had to think of a work right now, I think it would be the one with boat sails, which is called "Vela", number 1, number 2, where each one has a subtitle. It is a sequence in collaboration with my father, and something that I like a lot because it brings together elements that have to do with the place where I come from, a whole theme that I work with, so it is a series that I have a lot of affection for.
Of these boat sails there are some that we have made together with my father, others that I have made by my own, and others that have been recovered and that were made by him (my father) in the 80s, which is a mixture of things and that's exactly what I like. It is never the same, it is always different. For example, now we are making two boat sales together and since we cannot go out, we are doing it remotely and together at the same time.