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Santiago Cancino: "One of the reflections that we get between artists is to expand into new areas"

The young Chilean artist, winner of the Ca.Sa award at ArtLima 2017, exposes the difficulties of being an artist nowadays, where ideology and politics are fundamental. He believes there will no big changes with the pandemic, but thinks technology will play a central role.


By Ch.ACO Team


About of the reality that we are living all over the world: How do you see the present in the world of culture and the arts, and especially in the art market? What do you expect or think will happen?

I think the art market will only adjusts to a change in it´s format. The transactions will not stop and perhaps, at this time only online sales are made and in the best scenario, more credibility is given to good photos relying on the professionalism of both galleries and quality of the artists.


Santiago Cancino

This period is a bad instance for artists and institutions, since it is a hard economic blow, and if we are honest, since we are so used to doing a lot with so little, this is just another phase in which we must move forward. The biggest problem is not the pandemic, but rather its politicization; for a government that reluctantly helps us and when it does it, it's just to get a country image that suits it.


Culture and the arts are in crisis because they fight against an ideology that is very limited, we see ourselves in a position where we look for businessmen who support us so that they can pay less taxes. Therefore the market will look at us as one more transaction, it will not stop despite seeing us without resources, and again we will see our greatest enemy: only if you have money, you participate.


How do you project the scenario will be like after the pandemic?

After the pandemic we will be much more connected to digital media which was extremely necessary. Well, in these formats, information architectures are built which I am very anxious to see.


What do you expect or think will happen?

The only thing that I think will happen is that we will greet each other as Japanese in wealthy neighborhoods and it will be all the same in low-income neighborhoods.


In terms of quarantine, how have you lived the lockdown? Have you had any particular thoughts or inspirations?

In this period of optional confinement (since my commune is a producer and distributor, it was not quarantined) looking for sources of income makes you rethink everything. One of the reflections that we get between artists is to expand into new areas. We cannot trust that our trade will save us, because of ten productions that we carry out, only one will be politically neutral for any business collector, who is adept at state laws that provide him protection.


Blindado. Santiago Cancino

Then you will have to lower your values, or give them to your friends and never recover the full value of the production. As a last option, it only remains to do two works that you can sell and if you earn money, you reinvest in producing your website, pay the internet to send the PDF and see if you convince someone to buy you an artwork. Finally and only if you have enough, invest in a camera to take photos and make more credible what others do not believe you.


My reflection is that I must carry out two works or rethink what to invest in.


My creative process, like many, seems to be a limbo parallel to my life. I always question if by being an artist 24/7 you can live a common life. At least it has not happened to me that while I'm in the line to weight my bread I think of something that will change the world.

And about your creative process, has it been modified? How is it being?

My creative process, like many, seems to be a limbo parallel to my life. I always question if by being an artist 24/7 you can live a common life. At least it has not happened to me that while I'm in the line to weight my bread I think of something that will change the world. I hope it happens someday …


What I do know is that when I am in a creative process and constant concentration, there are other subjectivities that work coherently with the language I invented, with which I express my ideas through images. My process at every moment is fed back from the events of the country. But this does not mean that I am protesting every day (in my interior I am). But the works that each artist develops have much more complex levels of depths and lasting processes. This is translated into a symbolic images that classifies a period of your own time, sometimes so extensive that it becomes timeless. In that time that you don´t always succeed, many can laugh at a meme that achieves the same.


Regarding my process, I think it has not been modified as much, I just want my works to belong to people who understand my approach. And now that I can't go out, I make drawings of my ideas so they don't wear me out.


As to the reality of the national artistic scene, how do you see the export of Chilean art?

The truth is that in Chile there's a very good development of artists and works, there are no problems with production, but rather how they leave the country. We are like China when it had an economic blockade and was looking for intermediaries. Each intermediary looks for their part and their position, so it ends up filtering based on their tastes and their circles, then we find agents who have bad tastes and worst of all, they have the same circle.


Corona. Santiago Cancino

We have a lot of production but it stays here doing nothing and there are so many works that give away, that in the end, buyers who want to invest in art end up buying prints of Matta. It bores me so much to the point that long ago I lost enjoying that artist.What I mean is that a good exportation of Chilean art would have to be led by supports that do not compromise the political and conceptual vision of the artists, for this, there should be much more autonomous art spaces and more representative of the whole local scene.


Many old people will say that there is no scene, but it is because they also do not have social networks where they can feel the pulse of what is happening locally and internationally, all intertwined, I imagine they would be the same ones represented by galleries that do sell, but that for me and many of my peers they do not identify.


For this art exportation to exist, the first thing we need is a government willing to subsidize art and on the other hand, more humane galleries, committed to the problems that an artist must deal day by day. Unfortunately, very few do it.


The interesting thing about these short periods of time that a fair lasts, allows you to see on a smaller scale what is happening in the global art market.

Related to the internationalization of artists and opportunities to make themselves known, What relevance do you think the incidence of art fairs has in this point?

The relevance that the fairs have for Chilean contemporary art has to do clearly with the diffusion of artworks in people who conglomerate to live the rhythm of the "host" country. I think this is the most relevant aspect of each fair, the contact you have with people of great importance, with whom you can speak with total appropriateness of what you are at the fair and outside of it.


The interesting thing about these short periods of time that a fair lasts, allows you to see on a smaller scale what is happening in the global art market. You can look at the professionalism of some galleries, the commitment of others, collectors who have truly validated the artists of their country, buying them works for what is estimated in an international and not only a local market. Those things give you a much greater perspective of how art moves and how your future productions can be.



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