mdby……NOELIA / NOUMENOW
I met Noelia in Madrid, it was a fantastic meeting, where we found out we have a lot of things in common, for 3 hours we did not stop talking about her work, about MDBY. These types of encounters are a really good way of getting to know interesting people and there work.
Noelia, you work alone, read alone, think alone, write alone, store alone… you are in your own bubble. How do you deal with being “different” in today’s world?
Yes. Nevertheless, I also enjoy it very much. Certain prejudices exist concerning the “suffering”. As if this one was a sign of weakness. On the other hand, in my case, it has always been a sign of strength. Since I was little, I’ve been distinguishing what I like to do with what is easy for me to do. I chose the difficult route I believe. It is true, I like Art, in all of its domains as well as others (writing, philosophy, plastic art, photography…), I believe that I have some innate skills. Nevertheless, for me, it has always been a challenge. And as any challenge, it carries a risk. You win some, you lose some. I have predilections (mentioning Milan Kundera, one of my writers “fetishes”, in his book “The Unbearable Lightness of Being”) ; you can’t be afraid of something until you have lived it. I conceive Art as a game. Therefore, in this one itself, one bets his cards. Based on the knowledge that one acquires during his life, with the time and the experience, I suppose that one will also make better strategies. The happiness of winning is comparable to the distress of feeling lost. Both, they are necessary for me to create. So yes, I suffer very much. And simultaneously, because of it, I win very much.
You have always drawn on paper, have you ever thought of using a different support?
I would like to apply my work into textiles. Part of my work mixes sewing threads with other technologies. However, I have no training in pattern design. In a near future, I would like to adapt my plastic work to the textile one, generating a new piece with a design that is between the material of the “product” and the drawing of the “product”, for example. To create a new artistic piece in which textile and plastic elements talk between them in a new language. Not only concerning fashion, but also in interior design: sofas, armchairs, curtains, etc. This is a long-term project; I would like to investigate with other materials such as ceramics and paper (I love the stamped wallpaper).
I think I understand your concept of “fueguito” (little fire), but I would like to know which methodology stipulated your university teacher on it….
When Jesus Larrañaga (Faculty of Fine arts, Universidad Complutense in Madrid) understood what my concept “fueguito” meant; he created a special methodology for my work. “Fueguito” is as a kind of disorder, of desperation for feeling when an experience has stirred up senses, butterflies in your stomach, as if there is a flame burning inside of you. A “methodology” was not fitting for it. To a certain extent, all which is relative to the method, I have under control in a context of order. The “fueguito” appeared always with surprise. Without any order or control. But in the end, have I managed to find a control in its result? Have I found utility with the ashes left? Was it that or the moment in which the “fueguito” was diminishing that I found the necessary mental peace to fit the feelings and to materialize them in plastic work? The “fueguito” was my muse.
Why do you question the meaning of “fueguito” and not fire? I would like you to explain it because I am sure that a lot of people will identify themselves with it…
Because “fueguito” has so much of analysis, philosophy and maturity (concepts relative to the ” world of the adults “) and yet an infantile naiveté.
I think that any knowledge is born from certain sense of faith and is constructed from a corroborated experience.
I am conscious that semantically, the term “fueguito” can evoke irony. The diminutive “fuegito” (little fire) of “fuego” (fire) takes on implicitly the infantile nature of it, that can enclose the drippy, anachronistic, romantic ideal. Nevertheless, I am interested in the first impression of jeer over something so simple. The faculty of double reading implies time. And the time, for me, is the most valuable thing we have. It is the only one naturally acquired by the fact of being alive. It does not attend to racial, political discriminations or of any radical nature. It is not even subordinated to any context foreign to ourselves. It is the exchange value for everyone, the man’s natural currency (because to be able to establish it as a value, you have to be conscious of it) I seek to give this value to “fueguito”. To achieve it’s comprehension from a second reading. To move away from the prejudice, to go farther, to its essence, which is reduced to something as simple as the sensation of being alive.
Chavela Vargas said: ” At the end, the sadness is the slow death of the simple things (…) and to the simple things the time devours them”. “Fueguito” is as simple as the tenderness of childhood. This does that with the years; the importance it takes on in our daily lives devours the simplicity of time. And it is because “fueguito” speaks about life, about empathy and about home. Probably I want to say love, understood as an embrace, refuge in other one, and haven of peace.
In your work “the call of the flames”, you make a plastic reinterpretation of the poems of Rocio Martinez, what do you both think of the result? Have you gone through some difficult phases in this collaboration?
“The call of the flames” is a project under construction. Nevertheless, the desire to begin it goes some years back. The most difficult thing was to dive in and show the work of each one of us connected with the other. Or what is the same thing, the special synchrony that was reciprocal. For me to read her poetry was to reveal myself.
Rocio: “The only thing that is complicated is to coincide with the times, it is a project that advances slowly but does not stop growing. The idea arose from Noelia and it seemed so nice to me that I encouraged myself to overcome my vanity and to dive into the swimming pool. We have no difficulties because we give ourselves total liberty; Noelia and I share, thankfully or unfortunately, a way of feeling and it is something very unusual to find someone who shares your sensations; each one of us sees a mirror in what other does, with her drawings I feel understood, they help me to understand certain things and in them I find the consolation of the company. That is why we do not feel limited by the work of the other (myself at the moment of writing and her at the moment of painting) we know that we try to say the same thing; to get rid of the same things, and that is more than enough.”
You get undress in your work, showing yourself, isn’t it hard sometimes? Especially when the time goes by and you look back…
It is not hard. But it is an exercise of courage. It carries more satisfaction than anything else. The hard part is at the moment when you decide to show.
What differentiates your work from other artists’ work?
I believe that I cannot answer this question myself. The essential part of Art is the need of a spectator. The recipient of my work must be the one who has to stipulate it. In any case, here we all are human. I suppose that there will be some artists with whom i will never coincide in any aspect and with others, yes.
What does it mean to be a “visual artist “?
Someone who generates an evocative work of the visual aspect, the image as such. I suppose that for this, the motive force of the creation must be the perception of your own vision.
Some characteristic or special quality that you believe an artist must have?
I believe that taking part in the fact of creating something, an artist must be someone in constant thought throughout his life. A thinker. A feeler. And even a philosopher. Conditioned to the need of generating a work, based on his personal evolution, related to a visual aspect. I do not understand those artists who do not have a different work along their creative life. If you do the same thing during your whole life, in my opinion, you are a craftsman.
Do you have any other projects that you would love to develop?
My desire is to publish a book with my statements and writings assembled with my visual work. You can find some examples of this idea on my blog.
An artist with whom you would like to collaborate?
Someone with whom I can have an aesthetic and personal empathy, beyond the work context. I admire the work of some artists, but that I cannot understand from my own point of view.
How did you start to show your work? To participate in exhibitions, to show up in magazines ….
Working a lot and having confidence when meeting people. Confidence was key when I dared show my work.
Is there a piece in your work that you could say represents you the best?
My first piece of work. It is part of my artist’s portfolio. It was in 2009. An abstract painting of mixed technique. A self-portrait “Cenizo”
What is the most difficult thing in your work? And what do you like the most?
I have a love/hate relationship with social networks.
What I like the most, is not knowing which artistic practice I prefer. This it is the Art’s game. Who does not like to play?
With your relation to the art world, what have you learned? And what has surprised you?
I have learned that “emotional intelligence” is key in the current art market. This has made me evolve but has also surprised me and even sometimes frustrated me.
How would you like to see yourself in 20 years?
As an artist with a job related to this (inside the cultural, creative and literary area).
What is the most surprising or the nicest thing that someone has told you about your work?
When someone decides to buy your work, to take it to his world, his routine; the work itself acquires a new dimension. I always say that my work is based on small parts of me. That is why I feel a sort of liberation when I make an art work. If this liberated portion of me follows its own path; in some way, there is something of myself that explores new unexpected places. It is a pleasure that someone can give me this luxury.