April’s Recommendations: What to watch, read and listen by SpY, Sawe, Ampparito, Edgar Plans y Penique ProductionsUrvanity_crew / 15 April, 2020
Since the early 80’s the streets have been SpY’s playground. Enigmatic and anonymous in equal parts, he transforms the public space in his own experimentation lab and a direct communication channel with the viewers through appropriation, transformation and replica of the urban elements he finds. Observant and ironic, the artist plays with the surprise to its biggest format provoking reflective thinking in the spectator.
«I have some periods of time when I study and learn about grand masters and artist’s careers in a monographic perspective. That is why I would like to take the opportunity to look over the artist I’m investigating right now, an artists that moves me in every level. During these quarantine days, were our time perspective varies, this artists uses it as an indispensable tool very present during his work. I’m talking about the British artist Andy Goldsworthy, one of the biggest exponents of the ‘Land Art’ work, and who accepts the nature pace and the landscape as an sculptoric medium.
I’m now going through the book “Inside the entrails of the tree”, about the artwork that he did inside the Crystal Palace at the Retiro Park in Madrid. He has an incredible speech about space, color, nature and an amazing photographic material that you can find in some of his other books such as “Time”, “Enclosure”, “Passage”, “Stone”, “Wall”, among others… Incredible all of them.
I will recommend his video-lectures where he deepens into his creative process with an honest speech:
He also has a couple of really inspiring documentaries where he discovered his respectful process during the creation of his work and explores the essence of an inconstant nature through profound reflections as the shape, energy, space and time. These are “Rivers and Tides” and “Leaning Into the Wind” and you can easily find them at Hdfy.
Even though I haven’t been lucky enough to appreciate one of his pieces in real life due to the ephemeral character of these, it’s incredible the feeling and emotions that I receive through these classic media such as books and films. He inspires me tremendously to learn how to see the extraordinary in the ordinary».
Martí Sawe (Barcelona, 1986)
Already at 14 Sawe was painting graffiti in the streets of Barcelona. You will recognize him for his unconventional calligraphy and by his free and spontaneous lettering. Today, Martí Sawe paints, does mural artwork, installations, sculptures or even video-art if you ask so. Trained into illustration, his artwork reflects a sense of humor and a somehow hidden critique with which he scapes his comfort zone and launches him to be one of the national young artist with a greater future forecast.
«While I work, I normally always have some videos or podcasts from Youtube and Ivoox. I follow “El Renacimineto 1984”, three guys talking form a rooftop in Barcelona twisting everyday nature in a very crazy way. ‘Metaphysic humor’ is how they call it. It’s funny because when they started with this the always simulated and apocalyptic situation… and look where we are now! I’m caught by “La mano contra el sol” by Rubén Lardín in Ivoox. He’s a film critic, writer, journalist… And I don’t really know what his podcast is about, I don’t even think he knows himself. I’m not sure he will consider it humanistic but I get to laugh quite a lot. Also I will recommend Miguel Noguera, I pretty much burned it but I never miss the opportunity of going through his “Ultrashow” or “Go Ibiza Go”, I even went to see him to the theater a couple of times. You love him or hate him… but he’s a genius!
I will recommend any book Noguera has. “Gus” by Christophe Blain, is a series of comics my girlfriend discovered for me about the Far West and robbers but with a big dosis of love stories. I also like “Adult Contemporary” by Bendick Kaltenborn, very absurd, sometimes it even bothers.
There’s a music video that blew my mind when I was very little, “Mama Used To Say” by Junior Giscombe. You will laugh because having Spike Jonze now (idol, obviously) this videoclip seems like a karaoke video. It inspired me years later to do a video for “Extraperlo”. There’s a vinyl I love which is Johnny Guitar Watson. From time to time I also go through “The Heist” by Jaylib and “Come on Feet” by Quasimoto. The latest I’m listening to in a loop is “Midnight Snack” by Homeshake. I discovered thanks to the wonderful Internet algorithms to the Japanese guitarist and composer Masayoshi Takanaka, an amazing retro-trip. Also this American radio that plays all this weird music called “Chances With Wolves”, thanks for the tip Fafa!
Some animation to finish my suggestions. You need to go into Wong Ping’s Vimeo to really go nuts with his sexual videos with a very alien-like aesthetic. Anyone interested in animation should have gone through the Bible of all books, “Animator’s Survival Kit” by Richard Williams, but if I can choose I rather stick to the Youtube videos where he explains the book himself drawing in a board in front of some random public. The way he speaks, his eyebrows, how he moves… He’s the animation himself! I also check from time to time some anime from Animation Film Archives.
And an extra one! Now that we are all locked at home type “Kalluri Vaanil” and lets go for a little dancing!».
Ampparito (Madrid, 1991)
He’s the master of decontextualization. He finds exciting and interesting qualities in everyday objects. Ampparito takes something before your eyes and gives it an unexpected, simple twist. Contemplation and escapes to the small town were his family lives, when not in India, are inspiration and fuel for the brain of this young conceptual artist who induces the viewer’s reflection prompted by a deep state of confusion.
«I love the short films by León Siminiani, he is not very known although his latest work is a bit more commercial. The shorts are called “Key Concepts of the Modern World” and you can see them in Youtube. He does not create a storyboard, just films a lot and then connects the images in a metaphorical way, following a conceptual line with a voice-over. He’s dealing with concepts such as our daily transit, the digital… I like the tale tone he uses that somehow totally matches reality. Also, the trailer of the movie “Mapa”, by the same director, I’d say it’s even better than the movie itself, you should really watch it.
I also like Clara Simón, the film director of “Verano 1993” for the realistic approach and her poetic way of telling everyday stories. Like Oliver Laxe with “Lo que arde” which totally got me. I love all this people that are able to make art based on very little, with just an anecdote that can be told in one sentence they bring great stories.
Another artist capable of doing so, of telling apparently irrelevant things with a great delicacy and rhythm, is Conxita Herrero. She makes drawings, fanzines, writes poems and has a band called “Tronco”. Her book “Gran bola de helado” is great. I read it every time I’m feeling down, you have to be emotionally receptive. Her way of telling stories made me cry. Now I’m reading a book by the poet Maria Salgado from Madrid, called “Salitre”. Is a weird book, but she is really good.
Also note the artist Eloy Arribas. For me, he is one of these painters-painters that I’m following his work. I relate with a lot of his paintings and what he does, not in a rational way but because of the rhythm. In my last retreat to India I red “Exforma” by Bourriaud and it defines this as the ‘subtext’, something we share knowledge about and we can address without actually naming it. I like Arribas from that point of view, his way of making decisions, his fresh way of creating… Again, you can find a nexus in between him and Siminiani, Clara Simón, Conxita. They all have a very sensitive intelligence when referring to tones, rhythms, textures….Very subtle details they create worlds with.
Recently I was featured in the video program “Desatados” by Radio 3 and I was exploring programs of other people who’ve been invited before me. A friend of mine recommended the one of María Sánchez. She is teaching photography and made a series about the connection of people through, for example, shadows we make with our hands. The way I can caress your hair with my shadow over your head. I was amazed by how kind of less profitable art but one of the best things I’ve seen this year.
And at last, the podcasts of the art critic Fernando Castro on Ivoox helped me a lot. He has a couple of conferences he did with which you can lerarn a lot and is also really funny. One of them is called “Aún aprendo” and the other one is the presentation of a book called “Estética a golpe de like” wthat he entirely made out of gifs he found on the Internet, which is amazing».
Edgar Plans (Madrid, 1977)
With a childish and relaxed style, visual artist Edgar Plans recreates in his artworks a world of funny characters, texts and objects that appear along his work, that fight against nowadays injustice. A creative mind whose source drinks from the comic and Street Art to provide his art of full eloquence at the same time that to raise a social critique to the human being acts against our planet from his innocent drawings.
«I love “The Goonies” film, it’s always good to have a little dosis of 80’s adventures to get over these days! I also like the “Die Hard” saga by John McClane, a happy ending action film. We need more than ever one of those heroes for these days!
I’ve seen the three season of “Ozark” in Netflix. Is incredible to see how this family builds up this emporium out of nothing… I don’t want to tell you anything else about it, you need to see it yourself!
The book “Killing Commendatore” I and II by Murakami is a good lecture about an artist that decides to retire to go find himself again. Also “20” by Manuel Loureiro, with an apocalyptic sight of how the world is after a virus that devastates the human race until it’s close extinction.
I will like to recommend some pretty cool Instagram accounts. My friends form New York @leagueoto get inside the houses of some of the best Contemporary Art collectors. Some interviews and a lot of fun with the great @raulgomez82 and very recommended for runners. Food and desserts with my friend @cristinaoria and her videos of some easy and creative recipes».
Sergi Arbusà (Barcelona, 1987), founder and member of Penique Productions
It all started after presenting his final degree project for Fine Arts. Today Penique Productions’s ephemeral ‘balloons’ have travelled across the ocean, taken over historical cloister fashion runways and they’ve even been part of J Balvin latest music video. Light, color and shapes invade the space to transform it into a new dimension far away of whatever you’ve seen before thanks to the air inside the balloon that shapes every corner of the spacial architecture.
«I’m reading a lot of theory lately since I got into a Doctorate in Urbanism. But in the process I’ve stepped into a few interesting and revealing lectures that may interest to a wide range of people such as “The Pearly Gates of Cyberspace: A History of Space from Dante to the Internet” by Margaret Wertheim. The author goes through different conceptions of the space through history to question the idea that we will reach the eternal promised life promised by the christian religion through the Internet, as some theorists affirm. Also the slave philosopher Slavoj Žižek has me trapped with the way he thinks and the way he exposes his theories. The book “Event” goes through the idea of the event itself and was for me key for some understandings. A couple of books I like to go through from time to time are “A History of Six Ideas” by Wladyslaw Tatarkiewicz and the classic by John Berger “Ways of seeing”.
These days I’m doing so many activities with my three-year old son, Guido. We went through a lot of Disney classic films: “Pinocchio”, “The Jungle Book”, “Robin Hood”, “Merlin the Wizard”… Other pace, just something else, real artworks.
“Utopia” is a serie I like to recommend. I got into it by a good friend of mine but none of my friends listen to me! I guess because it is not on Netflix… But it’s so good! Now I’m watching “Tiger King”, my brother suggested it and its a complete scandal! The documentary “Burden” about the artist Chris Burden, these two last both in Netflix, is also a good option. Oh! And “F for Fake” by Orson Welles, is a must see!
I’ve been living in Rio de Janeiro for 12 years now so I would like to recommend the album Samba Esquema Novo (1963) by Jorge Ben, a classic! Also “Cavalo” by Rodrigo Amarante, Brazilian too. I love everything that Joan Miquel Oliver and Antónia Font do, but specially the song “La Rumba del Temps” in the “Atlantis” album. At last my friend Javier López is launching his first album with his band Brizna, a gem!».