Activism in contemporary art. An interview to ChenTe Almodovar

Contemporary Art : Chente Almodovar Contemporary Painter

Contemporary art plays an important role to reopen the debate in the worst times of history, when a change in necessary.

With British punctuality and the environment of the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid, Chente Almodóvar, contemporary painter and sculptor by trade and vocation, welcomes us

I do not dedicate more to one discipline than the other in contemporary art. I do it based on what I want to transmit to the viewer he says as we introduce ourselves. Almost Native of Madrid by adoption, comments with a smile. In the Nouvel building and with a couple of cups of tea, we started talking about Spiral Phylogenetic.

Embarked on a new project closely linked to the theory of evolution, what will we find in Chente Almodóva’s “Spiral Phylogenetic?”

My project proposes a new step in the phylogeny, evolution as a species, its philosophical, and scientific, conceptual content in their study or research; it is exposed to the viewer with an artistic device as pictorial object reading. Its contents: how evolution is understood from several disciplines, being palaeontology or philosophy as the modern biogenetics.

I remember the debate on the genetic manipulation for nontherapeutic aims, but reproduction, the researchers in this field know the danger they entail in this kind of manipulation of DNA or the human genome. The manipulation of an embryo treated as a form of early human life, and as a metaphor, reflection, or simile, other types of manipulation, this time by the economic powers of the States and finally on each individual in the world population.

How present is this in your work that manipulation of the human being of which you speak to us about?

I use the manipulation of embryos as a satirical representation in relation to the handling of the born human being and adult, constantly manipulated by those at the pinnacle of economic power. Since the corrosive satire, you get to the need to manage the speech with a more positive than corrosive, a pragmatic activism that raises very important issues to the spectator against the global crisis, not only economically, which we attend. This is an activism through art as a tool-guide that can serve the human evolution, as it did in the past. Chente Almodovar :: Exhibition Painting :: Embryo Alpha 4

What is the most representative work of “Spiral Phylogenetic”?

EMBRYO ALFA-4‘, think, it is an image that represents the critical debate on the manipulation of embryos for nontherapeutic means. As a second reading beats a satire on the relativity of ethical debates, as we talk about eugenics, while still prohibiting euthanasia. Human beings can be manipulated from their embryonic life, throughout their life, and neither has the right to decide their death because their life belongs to the State, which in turn is manipulated by the power of economic markets.

The crisis is hitting all sectors of our society, perhaps the culture is always one of the disciplines most affected. As an artist, in what situation do you think is the art in our country?

These are bad times and logically to the art, as well. While, it is true, that the global economic level, collectors and people who buy art, is still there.

Through art as you mentioned before, can we also struggle to overcome the crisis?

Always, at the worst times in history, between the wars … Art has been that has revolutionized the change necessary. More over, that necessary change is what I want to transmit to the spectator, to reopen that debate.

Watch Modern Art Exhibitions - Art Gallery Plastike - Chente Almodovar

The world of sculpture and painting is a closed circuit often for new talent. Too complicated to enter into that circle…

The entry of new artists to the market has always been difficult. In the case of museums, for example, since decades, the exhibitions are always from very dedicated people. The exhibition spaces are becoming increasingly inaccessible because there are many artists who only have competitions left or have to work in other, different fields.


Yes, there is a lot of competition, but I do not see it as something negative, as it has always been. Even though, I do not advocate a criterion to discriminate the new, for the simple reason of being, that does not give a real competitive opportunity.

Within the art world, we find the triangle formed by artists, gallery owners, and collectors. In particular, the relationship between gallery owners and collectors are sometimes seen as a “love-hate” relationship…

I will begin by relating first gallery owners and artists. In reality, the galleries are not an institution that is waiting for someone with a degree in Fine Arts to employ him. The galleries rooted only trust in artists that have spent years working or have a very solid trajectory. Some collectors, relying on their advisors, purchase consolidated securities because they think they are safer, when new art is perhaps a better investment … It is a very hard relation, it has always been. You have to confide.

Really, can you live from this nowadays?

We could say, and perhaps too much, that only 1% of the Fine Art students ends up living from the art. Most of them end up devoting themselves to teaching and other fields such as design, audiovisual, etc. However, the one who really has a vocation, makes art out of necessity, build castles in the air and hopes they will not fall.

We go to a topic, an artist Is he born or made?

(Smiles) In my case, ever since I was a child I picked up a pencil and paper like any other child, but I have not stopped since. In addition, I will never leave it. Even if, all the galleries closed and shut all the doors on me everywhere, I would continue to work.

My grandparents were artisans, working with wicker, rattan, esparto grass … There are materials that I have used for years, partly as a connection to my roots, but as elements of a visual language of communication.
Here, also enters the theory of evolution, there is a genetic inheritance and then each individual evolves by himself. Ontogenesis summarizes phylogenies.

Always, at the worst times in history, between the wars … Art has been that has revolutionized the change necessary. More over, that necessary change is what I want to transmit to the spectator, to reopen that debate.

As we have talked about from the beginning, philosophy and art are united in your work, but with what philosopher and artist do you mostly identify yourself?

I would say to Gianni Vattimo, as a philosophical conception of the postmodern. He opposes the view of his own knowledge of modernity; he founded the scientific-technical rationality; part of the concept of being an event, in the sense of Heideggerian as well as in the everyday expression. To know from whom to learn, in postmodernity manifests the plurality, is placed in a less unitary sacralis dogmatic, less certain and reassuring that the primitive world of myth as the understanding of Modernity. I identify myself with the thought of this philosopher. From his speech, we can gather that a reality goes through the need for a truth and this has to go through the pragmatics of ethical or pragmatic; at a worldwide level is the only way for humanity to be able to continue inhabiting this planet and for the sake to continue to evolve.

A global world?

As H.G. Wells foresaw in his imagination, without a global political power, which would be over the economic markets and if mankind does not take self-awareness, the self-destruction of the species does not cease to be a latent threat. Let’s talk pragmatically, unethical, if we want to continue here in the not too distant future, do not spend more than this whole idea of consciousness of the only humanity. This sounds like utopia, but the approach is not to interpret it as utopia, but the pragmatic way. Art has been on the forefront in many occasions and has dared to say things that are not said in society or in the public media; although, at times, it may sound a little political correctness, art makes use of its freedom of expression.

Within this global world, we are talking about. Do we need an internationalization of art to get a good diffusion and expand the market?

For the relationship to be an increasing global, we have to eliminate borders of all kinds. In some ways, the international virtual galleries are great because they take the art work anywhere in the world, and thus participate in this unitary vision of the world.

Do we also ally ourselves to new technologies…

Yes, they are fundamental. To make an investigation is not necessary to go to the National Library or search for a book … You have everything on the network, but you have to manage the information and have judgement, because there is too much. Technology is like everything, neither good nor bad, initially, of course, it is positive.

With the inauguration of Art Gallery Plastiké, we give a more betting step through the art circuit. As an artist, how do you see the initiative?

I think it is great, and more initiatives could emerge, as well. For me, it is an honour and lucky to be in this project and illusions me with it, hopefully all goes well, and that the market opens to the project and the works.

Young artists with a future ahead, but in the realm of despair; can we go a step further?

I would encourage them because art is not just a business. The concept we have of art today and teach in universities and schools is that if a work has not reached the market of art is not art. Under this conception, art is not any paint that is not exhibited. This is actually a convention, an interpretation that is given to us. Another thing is that art is a way of life, as a way of wanting to understand the universe or the world; it is a little philosophy in images. We must continue with the illusion and look towards the future.

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