INTERVIEW WITH JUNE CRESPO
Elisa Muscatelli – How would you describe your artistic practice to an audience encountering it for the first time?
June Crespo – I would tell them that they would find mostly sculpture, which is the medium I use the most and I produce objects that sometimes belong to the realm of sculpture, but sometimes they are objects that in terms of production are on the line between different, I wouldn’t say disciplines, but ways of organizing and are closer to collage or assemblage. Many times there is also a printed element in my sculptures and experimental use of images, it is an additional element that appears among the different materials I use in the sculptures. I would say to those who don’t know who I am that the methodology or strategy I use is about the material transformation of pre-existing elements, what I do is appropriate or produce through cuts, fragments, or enlargements, and also the dimensioning of everyday objects. I reconfigure them, change the material, combine them into new forms or find a new place for them; it’s a kind of reconfiguration, different fragments with different origins. What I like is putting together elements that come from different parts, distant parts, and this meeting is something that has an associative potential that is different for each person who approaches the work because I don’t want to give any meaning, sense, or message. It’s something that happens more in a material way than a conceptualized way, my works, in the end, are new entities, a self-sustaining element that relates to the audience in different ways or depending on how one wants to relate to it.
EM – In your works elements charged with an intimate and domestic memory meet industrial and experimental materials. How do these two spheres come into connection or collision?
JC – Yes I would say that in my works this happens in the choices or materials I choose for the process and in previous years, now not so frequently, it was very often the idea of making cuts or showing a trace of different surfaces or elements of the places where I worked or lived, especially in recent years. Producing work from different architectural elements of the places I was living or working is one way I introduce the domestic and intimate aspect, but there are other ways as well, the most representative perhaps being the use I make of clothes and how they are in collision, contrast or in between or behind other materials such as concrete, metal, aluminium, silicone, resin. They are mostly my clothes and in that sense, they are something that belongs to me and therefore intimate. I have worn them for months or years and introduced them into the sculptures as an affective element, but they are also related to the general use of textiles, not only clothes but also elements that appear in our daily living, carpets, blankets, with which we have a tactile experience and daily living. They touch different aspects and a memory that everyone can trace back to their own experience, it is not a biographical idea of the use of clothes, because many times they are not mine, it is more something related to the sign of an experience that everyone can recognize in an actual sense but also in a material tactile and physical sense. On the other hand, I use these elements such as concrete, resin, metal, and other elements that are those used in the construction of the fragments, many are elements that I use and that surround me.
EM – Many of your works appear as plinths in which different materials are accumulated, but despite the heterogeneity, each work seems to work on a precise abstract idea. How do accumulation and abstraction dialogue?
JC – When I work there is not a precise idea, but a more precise intuition, something to which I cannot give a name, and these intuitions, emotions, perceptions are translated into the way I combine the materials and also in their interaction. I would not say an abstract idea but a meeting, a negotiation between me as subject and the object I am making, the result of this configuration, sometimes made also with accumulation, is a process of circulation and negotiation between me and the object, between what I desired and what I currently desire. This act of recognition often happens in my work, I realize and recognize the elements during the process, there is not so much an idea but a negotiation, a real contact with the elements that I recognize in the process and this happens from different sources. What I look for is a trace and being able to see everyday elements in a new light. The elements produce something new or almost new, sometimes what happens is that the original object is present, and you recognize it only by walking around it, you recognize it in an abstract way, with non-rational associations, that speak with your body and emotions, it’s about perceiving the presence of two things at the same time, two distinct and contrary phenomena in the same material element.
EM – In Foreign Bodies (P420, 2018) your works and John Coplans’ photographs show a new way of looking at subjects: bodies and sculptures shaped by time. What role does time play within your works?
JC – I would say that in Coplans’ work is in that exhibition this transformation of the change of the body and time is most evident, what interests me about the exhibition is how my work relates to Coplans’ bodies in the photograph and how our works and that aspect interacts in his photographed bodies: the skin, the texture of the body itself, how it relates in a new way to my work, this is very interesting to me. In my practice in general I would say that time has more to do with the process and the practice itself, a lot of times I produce very quickly, I have an encounter with the work and I see very clearly, so I’m inclined to take an action and then the work is finished, but sometimes time is important for the growth of the elements and I think the most important role in my work, I don’t mean in the individual work, but in general in my practice is how the process is sometimes very dilated and that I can’t finish work until something in my life or in myself has changed along with the work. So time is sometimes that thing that finishes my work in a sense.
EM – Is there a historical, literary, or film reference that has played a big role in the development of your artistic and personal career?
JC – There are many, and a lot of times it is fragments, titles, book’s fragments, or elements that I’ve encountered over time. It’s more how I’ve related to these cultural elements that are important to me, and also other elements in my studio that come into my work in one way or another. There are readings or authors from different disciplines and that in one way or another come into my work in the form of a title or thought that makes me think, but more than literary or film references or references from other disciplines, I would say that it’s more about artists and particularly female artists who are close to sculpture and who move me forward in my artistic practice.