Mexico City 08.06.2015
Bernard Vienat (BV).- Considering that Mexico is a country with great social and economical inequality and that most people do not have access to museums or art publications, are you worried that your work may not be visible to that audience?
Abraham Cruzvillegas.- No, what I believe is that there is an institutional mindset, a very old idea that says that one has to bring culture close to the people. But seeing this from an analytic point of view I believe this notion is patronizing and demagogical. I’m not interested in that, I do not care in giving or providing anything to anyone; I can hardly provide for myself as to try to procure something to someone else. Therefore I believe it is hard for me to communicate my work, because the relation already implies this paternalistic, demagogic and handout mentality. People a culture and cultural interests of their own, we do not have give them anything, to think so is a way of authoritarianism.
In Mexico’s case, particularly after the Mexican Revolution, the idea of national identity was constructed with the help of the Minister of Education at that time, who was Jose Vasconcelos. He created such a powerful and such an important and well designed structure that to date nothing has been done better. In that first “draft” of national culture and identity the priority was to bring culture closer to people. Thus the muralist movement was born with the aim of making art as public as possible; I find this horrible, it is not that I find muralism to be horrible, but the demagogic attitude of the government standing behind this intention of providing people with culture by means of institutionalism seems quite paternalistic to me and I find that to be very similar to the beliefs and M.O. of the party currently in power: PRI.
BV.– As a pedagogue, do you consider that the educational role of art is to do a specific work in a way in which people can get it and interpret it freely, giving rise to their own thoughts and creating a bond with the artist eve though they don’t know him in person?
AC.– It is complicated because, again, I feel that there is a displacement of the subject. Speaking of epistemology, the subject that investigates is distanced from the subject that studies, who is like an anthropologist, like Lévi-Strauss. I feel that in my case I am as much an object as I am a subject, a receiver a first audience, I am also the first critic of my work, or at least I try to be and if I feel that this mobility of subjectivity is much more important to me than waiting for an audience, a massive anonymity, to understand my job.
I am very pleased when people say “My son could have done this”. I see it as a compliment although it was not initially intended as such. I see it in a positive way because in an embedded way it proposes a democratization of artwork. If your child can do it, let him, hopefully he will, but it needs to happen. This way, such a person might grow up appropriating a mode of artistic expression that helps him to reflect about his own situation, about his own identity, in a critical manner but regardless of form, as this is a consequence of an accident or even of that first impression, that’s what I would say.
The full version of this interview is available for the moment only on Spanish