Enmity with the world
-Julio Hernández Cordón-
translated by Diego Sagastume
With a stroke at enmity with the baroque and allied with the mundane, with the unfixable, with the beauty of roughness and the legacy of time, for Alberto Rodríguez Collía, the wrinkles, mould, decay, the forgotten and the distorted are pencil-made stitches revealing that he grew up in a place where beauty exudes with dismay; because it didn't exist at all, or simply became old. In a way, he snitches from it, not as a protest, but by conviction.
In a city where beauty belongs to another time, now the walls smell of urine and the sidewalks collect nightmares; at this instant, ugliness and brutality is what transpires.
In between, Rodríguez Collía brings a dialogue to the intestines that very few know how to share. His drawings are moonshine obliging us to shut our vision just to come back a few seconds later with eyes open, ready to contemplate a praise for disharmony given by Guatemala City, the internet and the faces and bodies that one does not forget. Drawings of lower scale or bigger dimension. Drawings or whole stages for an exhibition or a low budget movie.
Friday night in Machida
-Ben Davis and Naoko Horiuchi-
AIT: Our taxi driver is confused, the studio (Kawara Printmaking Laboratory) where Alberto (Beto) is working hasn’t registered in his GPS, and as our taxi surges through Machida´s narrow streets, he says will take us to a convenience store nearby. From there we walk down a street that must be as dark as anywhere in the 23 wards, its past 8pm, yet everyone is still working away in the studio. As we start our interview, Beto continues preparing another engraving, telling us the story of a man who once finished a thousand prints in a week.
ARC: You come here and you realize everything is so peaceful. Maybe its just my neighborhood but when you enter the subway, people are really quiet and no one is speaking on their cellphone - that’s really strange. It can be peaceful, but sometimes it can be kind of sad because if you go to Mexico, Brazil or Spain, you see much more lively things on the train - people speaking, showing emotions - but here people really bite their tongues, in Spanish we say morderse la lengua. When you area traveling on the train, usually if a boy likes a girl then they will be looking at each other, but here all the people are using their cellphones, reading, sleeping or just trying not to look at anybody which is a big difference. I feel that in Tokyo, you can use the train and buses, and go to some stores, yet still be perfectly isolated because of the way people interact.
ARC: There are two stories in my work - one in Guatemala and one in Tokyo. I like to use things that clash, so I gather all the things I see, hear or find out and then play with them. The thing that attract me the most are the strangest, you see so many people here that are fashionable and try to dress well, and we often speak of eccentric Japanese style, but what is really special, and what I like to see are people that are the complete opposite. I like to see these people because they are kind of rare, not because they are strange, but because you have never seen them. I saw a guy spitting inside the train and thought, “That’s not Japanese!”, and its thins kind of misfit that I pay attention to. There was another guy on the train who was kind of bald and so he had painted his head. I could identify with him because he was bald, but I though, “What are you doing?” - in Guatemala, people don’t paint their head, they have combovers.
ARC: When I went to exchange money, I saw that the woman at the desk had a pencil and paper, and each time she used them, she would put them back in the same place - it was kind of like a ritual. Because there are too many people here, you have to use the space very well and be more conscious about it, whereas in Guatemala we invade the space of others all the time and so although some people don’t mind, some do.