© Foto: Héctor Torra
“When people stop in front of a painting they do not understand, they often think: ten more seconds in front of this one and I´ll move on. While pondering, hand on chin, they get a little closer. Untitled. They move away and go on to the next one, fingers crossed. Others are genuinely curious, although they haven´t been able to get someone to explain to them clearly about that extraordinary feeling you should get when contemplating a Rothko, or why that Giacometti’s sculpture cost so much. At the exhibition openings, some of them break out in a cold sweat when they are introduced to the artist. They do not know whether to kiss their jewellery, cross themselves, or what the hell to do. If they come out with sincere flattery like, “hey, your stuff is good!”, or “you rock!”, probably, on their way back home, they will be scratching their heads and thinking of how inane what they said was and realising that maybe the capital A in Art is there to block ignorant people.
Bea says that if you are intimidated by art it is because you are using it badly. It is impossible to generalise about this issue, but the latest generations of artists are usually lively, versatile and very open-minded. They have not learnt the trade inside a bubble shut off from the rest of the world; instead, just like any of us, they have had their afternoon snacks watching Japanese cartoons on TV, they know what it´s like to push the limits at music festivals and, although they have studied the masters, they have also wasted loads of time on Youtube. At work, they wear filthy overalls, worn out sneakers or security goggles from any random hardware store. They do not always use thin brushes, in fact, they do not always use ordinary tools, and they get dirty. They get very dirty. Some of them even angrily trample on their media. Others interact with their art in a less violent, more technical and intellectual way, but the process always involves a mixture of both conflict and enthusiasm. The result is not always what they were expecting, and they are never, ever, fully satisfied. As humans (and this is probably a less risky generalisation), they like to be complemented on their work, because they are sometimes quite unsure about it.
Art is something extraordinary because it creates vectors among people, causes debates and feeds the spirit. When Bea and Dani discover a new artist, they follow them to their shelter and learn all there is to know about how their private microcosm works. They love chatting with and about them; they enjoy their company and being surrounded by their work everywhere, on the wall, on the floor. That is the reason they have worked so hard to set up a space where they can share these experiences. Bea once explained it to me much better than I could, even if I did have 200 pages to do it because, for her, using the term “awesome” when necessary, is not a problem at all. She´s convinced that an art fan, above all else, should be passionate and curious to listen and query, and then return to see what else these guys have to offer. Every time she writes me an e-mail, she ends up saying that she does not know how to write properly and she cannot express herself very well, but let’s see if you understand this:
To sum up, I feel lucky to have the opportunity to address the future of art history face to face (yes, those one´s you see in the museums) and to be able to make those, who one day step foot into our gallery, feel fortunate too. And in turn, I want those same people to say how “awesome” it is that finally, there´s someone who speaks to you about art-related things as something run-of-the-mill and they´ll tell others that there is a place in Gijón where you can go and comfortably come out with that popular saying “I know nothing about art”, because the guys working there will tell you everything they know, so that each time you go back you will learn a bit more.
Don´t tell me that the word awesome has no place here.
I know Bea and Dani because we´ve spent many working days together among canvas and bronzes. They were there long before me and they will still be there long after. They are stubborn and tireless. They are unique. Considering myself sceptical and often a bit uncompromising in terms of social relationships, I have learnt a lot from them. They´ve been able to make me laugh and excite me and I haven´t been able to resist loving and respecting them. It is brilliant to see them taking a step forward and assuming responsibility for things done their own way, with an open attitude, willing to dialogue, without intimidating speeches, without taking it for granted that people are going to swallow everything. Only art and the people who make it possible, on both sides of the creative process, is what makes it awesome.