David Gil is a pluridisciplinary artist that will be displaying at this year’s Select Art Fair in Miami for Art Basel. His work seeks to ask more of the viewer, to challenge their presumptions and perceptions. Check out his interview below:
Why do you describe yourself as pluridisciplinary? What disciplines have you used in your work? What are the strengths and weaknesses of each?
I am a pluridisciplinary artist because my medium of expression is the spectator’s mind. The colors of his/her emotional awareness, the malleability of his/her inherited beliefs, the tension images and objects create in interaction with his/her unconsciousness. These are the tools I use in my artworks to strike goose-bumps in the spectators spines, to awake other perceptions of reality, to reveal the signs of our symptomatic collective soul. Painting, or sculpture, performance, fashion or film … is no more than a physical trace.
When you were approached for the piece for the CIAV, how did you come up with ‘Seven Weeks’? What was it like working with Thomasine Gieseke? How much did you two collaborate and what was that effort like? Where does the name ‘Seven weeks’ come from? Is it means to be a reference to pregnancy as you have an embryo embedded in the glass question mark? One could potentially interpret the question mark holding an embryo to reference the debate about the right to choice, is this what you had in mind? If so, what did you hope the viewer to think when they saw the piece, or at least, what questions did you want the viewer to ask? If not, how do you respond to such a presumption?
Seven Weeks is a human embryo sculpture made out of blown glass with an extended question mark because “to conceive” is a both a divine gift and a double-sided weapon. Unwanted is a short film portraying the story of a selective suicide in which conceived-healthy-living-cells are voluntarily removed from a mother’s womb. Both art pieces were inspired by the testimony of real life abortion survivor Gianna Jessen.
Eros and Thanatos, sexual desire and death, are the main subjects of research behind Seven weeks and Unwanted. Both in sculpture and in film, I wanted to question the lack of responsibility of our generation in regards to our undeniable right to have a healthy sexual life without procreation.
How is possible that even today in the developed world, where all sorts of contraception techniques are largely available and cheap, if not free, European countries allow one abortion every 27 seconds? Doesn’t it say something about the value our generation gives to the divine power we inherited from nature to be CREATORS? Doesn’t it go against “everybody’s right to live”? can we still be considered homo-sapiens or “wise-men”? why can’t our generation be a good example and teach our children that the responsible “right of choice” takes place before copulation?
In ‘the Awakening of a myth’ you were tasked with creating a collections of weapons. Had you fired a gun before? What do you think of guns? Do you think curating a seductive show about guns encourages their fetishization? What did you do for the collection? What did you find in the archives that helped the show?
Violence is another subject I investigate in my artwork, perhaps because I grew up in one of the most violent countries in the world (Colombia, South America), or perhaps because my work mirrors our reality. What is certain is that unexplainable and gratuitous public violence in a dramatic global scale are increasingly invading the world’s headlines today.
My live performances are intended as wake up calls to what I feel are symptoms to a certain unconscious collective illness. Whether it is in A PORTRAIT OF MY TIME, in which I staged what Andre Breton, founder of Surrealism described as the simplest surrealist act : “consisting in going into the streets with revolvers in your fist and shooting blindly into the crowd.” Or ONE SECOND in which a model blew up in the middle of the runway like a kamikaze in the streets of London. Or COLOR THEORY in which I question the most televised catastrophes in human history, which took place in a television hooked nation. Through painting, performance, fashion or film I record the instability of our society.
Isn’t reality growing increasingly incomprehensible? Isn’t reality bringing us back closer to barbarism ? Are we regressing or progressing?
The instinctive reaction of the audience is no different the tangible feeling of unease and uncertainty already present in the air. The second following the sudden and unexpected burst of energy from my artworks, the masks concealing the nature of our true self drop. It is exactly during this brief second of fearful vulnerability that my artwork takes its final shape, as if overcoming and mastering fear became a pivotal point for self-accomplishment.
Have you worked with other artists before? What is it like, for you, to work collaboratively? What other artists have you worked collaboratively with? On what projects?
As a pluridisciplinary artist who believes in the permeability of artistic mediums of expression, since the beginning of my artistic research in 2005, I have collaborated with many different artists coming from different geographic backgrounds and working with different mediums. This sort of creative “ping pong” is perhaps what I find the most nourishing in the process of art making.
Today, I am collaborating with three contemporary dancers Philippe Chéhère , Julie Salgues and Anatoli Vlasof on a choreographic documentary based on a series of choreographic workshops created for individuals affected by Huntington’s Chorea, a neuro degenerative incurable illness genetically transmitted characterized by the incapability of mastering the body movement, in a sort of incontrollable, conscious and eventually deadly dance. Counting with the support of specialized doctors of the department of genetics of the Hospital Pitie Salpetriere in Paris, engaging myself in this collaboration has allowed me to be face to face with an incurable deadly decease.
What could be the perception of the CREATOR when his/her genes put us in risk of plunging in a rare human condition? How can I keep on living when I am sentenced to become the conscious prisoner of my own body ? How does it feel to know for certain what the future awaits? What is the real place of the ill body in our society ?
What do you have planned for Select Art Fair this year? What about it is new territory for you? What about it excites you?
Select is for me the possibility to showcase my artistic research, to establish a dialogue with the public, this alone is a challenging territory because again, my artistic research is to place the spectator’s mind and reactions as medium of expression, so at the end it is the spectator’s perception of my work which will be the final oeuvre.
For Select, I am planning a live performance, which is still under conceptual development.