Seizing the Space

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Muriel Gallardo is a Chilean artist living in Berlin. A multifaceted woman, a multidisciplinary artist. Muriel explores several areas of artistic expression. Even she takes part in her work, becoming a part of it, always looking for the audience’s response.

Art is sensitivity

It’s not an easy task to specify the time when her hobby became a profession. First she studied art, then a magister. The technique she used was always changing and during the magister it became very important to question the motives behind her work.

Art is sensitivity. At first, like all expression oriented activities art was a game, they were and always will be part of a personal development process as well as a channel of expression.

Nicolás Chamás Türk © Solkes

But, over time, the ideas and this development process became the best way to say something about the world around us.

“I had always questioned the materials but never the size of things.”

Art is a choice and with time it shapes and builds on a primary provocation as almost all vocations and trades do.

There is no single reason. Generally speaking, there are multiple factors as well as growth and sensitivity that led her to feel that this is the path where she was more comfortable.

Nicolás Chamás Türk © Solkes

You could say that Muriel’s life as an artist is a continuous creating, educational, pedagogical and learning process.

The learning process needs to be permanently nourished and also needs time to be thought, absorbed and analyzed.

As we spoke on several Berlin evenings, it was possible to get to know a dynamic, active, adventurous woman, passionate about art and the universe that surrounded us.

Laura Viera A: Ok, I need to start at the beginning … tell me what does being a multidisciplinary artist mean?

Muriel: Ha ha ha … you’re right. That means that I choose the technic and material according to the project. Generally speaking, in my work I deal with the object and the drawing, meaning that more than sculptures they are objects (object art).

Growth and flexibility

Not only do you have to work constantly in order to actually say something meaningful from the creative process stand point, but a continued growth should be maintained and take a flexible attitude towards art and life.

Nicolás Chamás Türk © Solkes

Critical views come not only from the theoretical framework, things, theories, materials; the whole process has to be lived and let melt into the skin.

Her method of appropriating the space seems simple enough but in reality it is not: she walks, determines, collects and sorts … these are as she says “processes by which I code the material deployment of all my work.”

Laura Viera A: what do you want to accomplish with this?

Muriel: Through these moves I would like to recognize, refine and interpret the world.

Laura Viera A: Muriel, tell me a little about this work …

Muriel: The first thing to take in account is that it is an art installation. There are thirty five resin transparent objects placed inside a case on a black table.

Nicolás Chamás Türk © Solkes

Laura Viera A: Where do the objects come from? Do they have any meaning?

Muriel: I find the objects at flea markets, secondhand stores, and my kids give me others. At a first glance they seem like insignificant objects, such as: toys, keys, accessories, religious figures, etc. I have changed it’s materials in order to transform them into fictional childhood treasures, using transparency as a metaphor for the representations that we keep as souvenirs.

Nicolás Chamás Türk © Solkes

Laura Viera A: What are your interests as an artist with this installation?

Muriel: There is a short pause for thought and she says: in this work, I am particularly interested in how we attribute an everyday aspect to things that really don’t have any and how they embody our thoughts and desires.
“I wonder and ask people: what is space? How do they define it or understand it from the things that they are building.”

Laura Viera A: What inspires you to do these miniature sculptures?

Muriel: What it opens to the artwork. By this meaning, the manner in which the artwork communicates with words and images. As they symbolize our memory as concrete evidence of the ephemeral quality of life. To me it has a poetic content.

Having the opportunity to talk to a young artist who has a thousand things at the same time in her mind, doing various tasks in parallel, it generated in me a lot of curiosity. Then for a moment I decide to change the subject.

Laura Viera A: you’re an artist, you’re a woman, do you think that sometimes it’s harder to be a woman who is dedicated to art? why or why not…porque o porque no…

Muriel: I think it is a little harder to be a woman especially in South America, which is a place where there are not social conditions in place for women that have children and to develop professionally at the same time. In that sense, I think conditions in Berlin are favorable.

An emotional path

I loved that answer. I loved it when she said that a woman in our time has to be feisty, in the sense that it should not be a disadvantage to have children to be fulfilled as a person. A person in these times should be hard working, regardless of whether you are male or female.

Laura Viera A: Well, then, I think I want to know what feminism is for you?

“Dealing with small things always has to do with what one saves.”

Muriel: I think that feminism is equality for all genders, and to fight the adversity of social conditions that often hinder the participation of women in society.

After getting these answers and changing my interview’s path for a few minutes during our conversation, the cup of coffee had finished and I needed to continue with the original interview … the art interview.

In addition to spending a lot of time finding objects, in making all necessary drawings, after developing the models, the most interesting is to see what happens to them.

Laura Viera A: In this art installation there are thumbnails that have different backgrounds or origins. Some are about nature (organic), religious and random. Of all the thumbnails which one has the largest resonance?

Nicolás Chamás Türk © Solkes

Muriel: That would be the Playmobil, the figurine upholds the project perfectly because people understand well the project when they see it. People tell me: I had this when I was little; I played with this figurine, etc. It grabs there attention because when someone sees glass wings or animals it one thing, but the Playmobil is something that was part of the childhood of a former “world”.

An element that was clear during this long conversation was that the organic will always have a place in her art work. It doesn’t matter that the concept of the project is artificial; the force of nature will always claim a space and presence in her work.

The work of the Chilean artist has much to do with herself. It is inspired by everything that surrounds her, exploring unconventional materials in the smallest and most insignificant of things. Among the drawings and figures there is an important relationship. What she wants is an attempt of appreciating space. After making a mold, changing their material and then drawing it … drawing the figure is as an insistence on seizing the space.

Translated By: Solkes

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