Sebastián Riffo (Chile) Residence: January 2017
I am a Chilean artist. I interested in both the study and the practice of art because it makes me feel alive and aware of what is happening, what has happened and, possibly, what will happen around me. Clearly, it is a way of life, a window through which to watch human progress; one among the thousands of conceptual and technical structures used to give meaning to reality, to possibility, to that which is important, to the mundane, to memory, in other words, to our precarious and fragile existence.
My artwork is experimental in nature. It is, for that reason, research art; an essay. I’ve put both my imagination and ingenuity in it. For the time being, it’s been limited to the disciplinary fields of drawing, painting and video, constructing images which are many times abstract, and some others realistic and figurative. In relation to my drawings, these are built through the interaction of different types of lines, developed as sketches, calligraphies and stains. My paintings, on the other hand, represent a wide array of plastic possibilities that have resulted in unitary pictures, fabric without frame, modular series and polyptychs. This work shows a type of expression that privileges the gestural; each brush stroke leaving behind thick impastos and dry registries of graphical movements. In relation to my videos, these are mainly registries of both performative actions I have myself realized, and of particular events that have caught my attention at a contemplative level. Lastly, as a whole, my work plays with the discontinuity, juxtaposition, combination, and contrast of its constitutive components, making collage and montage my techniques of choice.
In my work there are three overarching productive frameworks. The first is disciplinary and relates to the technique of painting. I understand painting as a form of aesthetic production in which what is constructed is transformed into matter for thought; at the same time each painting teaches us to understand that all elements contained within it require unhurried study, careful attention and deep interest. Painting broadens and renews the perceptual universe of the beholder, and offers even more to the person who takes a second look. The second framework in my practice is thematic and relates to the landscape, whether from its aesthetic representation, or its intellectual or purely reflexive conceptualization. I understand the landscape to be a cultural construct and, as such, a problem relating to how it has been regarded, attitudes which have given rise to certain types of human behaviour in relation to it. This behavior has very specific structures of evaluation and symbolic meanings. Finally, the third model is situational and relates to the political and social context in which my works are constructed and placed.
My plan for Studio Kura:
I will make paintings, drawings and videos that link the seismic culture of Japan and that of my native country, Chile.
-Sebastián Riffo received an arts grant from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (PUC) to complete the residency at Studio Kura.