New Normal: an Interview with Lua Rivera
Art is an expression of what it means to be human, it allows us to communicate from afar, and allows us to come together collectively. From 2020 to present, we are still dealing with a global pandemic. From another perspective, the restrictions on freedom may be a re-evolution of art. While we wait for that to emerge, we asked several artists to open up about their challenge in this new normal of life during these strange days.
- Whats and exciting thing going on in life right now?
- Whats and exciting thing going on in life right now?
Lately I have a lot of big projects going on. It is something that I was dreaming about since 4 years ago. I always imagine my work invading a space and changing the landscape in a scale that now is possible thanks to my team and my sponsors. I’m very trill and thankful of all the amazing people who joined me in this journey.
最近我有很多大項目正在進行中，這是我從 4 年前就開始夢想的事情。我總是想像我的作品會侵入一個空間並以某種規模改變其景觀，這些能夠實現都要感謝我的團隊和贊助商的幫助。 我非常激動並感謝所有與我一起參與這個旅程了不起的人。
- Is there anything missing in life right now?
Hahaha, chilaquiles and tamales…. I’m joking. I really miss to hug my family and interact with them in person. Specially around new year where I miss playing with my nieces and nephews and eating all this amazing home-made food. I hope in the near future would be more easy and safe to travel to visit them and to bring back my art book collection.
哈哈，莎莎玉米餅（chilaquiles，墨西哥傳統菜餚）和玉米粉蒸肉…… 開玩笑的。 我真的很想擁抱我的家人。 特別是在新年前後，我想念和我的侄女侄子一起玩，吃所有這些美味的家常菜。 我希望在不久的將來能簡單又安全的見到他們並帶回我的藝術書籍們。
- Can you speak a bit about how your cultural background has shaped your aesthetic?
I was always divided between study biology or art but in the end I chose art with a focus on biology and environment. Thanks to my parents I learn analog photograph, illustration and painting at a very early age. Since a teenager I was always looking for new artists, my mom had a very nice Art history book collection but I was more interested on the contemporary art scene specially after discovering the work of Banksy and Ernesto Neto. Every time I had money I would go directly to the library to the art design and architecture sections to find a new art publication of Taschen or Phaidon to get inspired. At the same time I was all afternoons looking up to find nature documentaries and articles about animal behaviour, evolution and adaptation of the species etc. I’m a big fan of David Attenborough and Carl Sagan.
求學時段我總是在選擇生物學或藝術之間遊走，但最終我選擇了創作並關注於生物學與環境議題。 感謝我的父母，我在很小的時候就學習了底片攝影、插圖和繪畫。 從十幾歲開始，我就一直在尋找新的藝術家，我媽媽有一本非常好的藝術史書收藏，但在發現 Banksy 和 Ernesto Neto 的作品後，我對當代藝術界更感興趣。 每次有錢我都會直接去圖書館的藝術設計和建築部分尋找Taschen或Phaidon的新藝術出版物來獲得靈感。 我整個下午都在尋找關於動物行為、物種進化和適應等的自然紀錄片和文章。我是大衛·阿滕伯勒和卡爾·薩根的忠實粉絲。
- You have participated in various residency programs and traveled to many places in the world. How important is it to stay connected with the international art community?
Is important to me because of two big reasons
A- is important to see how other artists from different cultures approach the contemporary art and the subjects they choose to express in the work. The way they work is also very interesting because we can share techniques and personal experiences.
B- Is important to keep up the link to promote my work within those art communities and invite artist to my networks in Taiwan, Mexico or USA. The work must continue flowing arround the world and building international art communities is very important.
A- 對於了解來自不同文化的其他藝術家如何處理當代藝術以及他們選擇在作品中表達的主題很重要。 他們的工作方式也很有趣，因為我們可以分享技術和個人經驗。
B- 保持連結以在這些藝術社群中推廣我的作品並邀請藝術家參與我在台灣、墨西哥或美國的創作。 作品必須繼續在世界各地流動，建立國際藝術社群非常重要。
- So what is your favourite memory of all?
I could not choose one, they are all different and special.
- Let’s talk about your work. What prompted you to repurpose materials? Was it an environmental or artistic decision?
Both, based on several animal behavior studies 5 years ago I started using recycled material because I was coping the behavior or birds and other animals that few year ago started using human trash to build their shelters and nests.
In another hand when I arrive to Taiwan I had the possibility to collaborate with recycle centers and factories that were wiling to repurpose their material for art. This is something I looked for since I was in Mexico but with no success. The textile companies in Mexico have not acquire an ecological concern and even less the idea of collaborating with artist to produce artwork with their materials. But I tried and that’s what maters.
“都是，基於 5 年前的幾項動物行為研究，我開始使用回收材料，我使用人類製造的垃圾建造庇護所，嘗試模仿鳥類或是其他動物的築巢行為。
另一方面，當我到達台灣時，我和回收中心和工廠合作，將其廢料重新利用於藝術創作。 這是我在墨西哥時就一直在嘗試的事情，但沒有成功。 墨西哥的紡織公司沒有考慮生態問題，更不用說與藝術家合作使用他們的材料製作藝術品的想法。
- How do you select fabrics to up-cycle? Does it come down to practicality or attraction?
In the beginning I used what I could find attracted by the texture and color but now days I use only the best fabric and rope quality because the work is use by many people and often has to last for a while. The sport fabric is the best option in the sence that it doesn’t rag, is friction resistent, is fast dry and has a UV filter to maintain the colors. Unless the work is ment to be indoor I would alow myself to use more organic and delicate fabrics.
一開始我使用了質地和顏色所吸引的布料，但現在我只使用最好質量的面料和繩索，因為作品會接觸到很多人，而且需要保存很長的時間。 運動面料是最佳選擇，因為它不會磨損、耐摩擦、快乾並具有紫外線過濾器以保持顏色。 除非工作是在室內進行，否則我會允許自己使用更多有機和精緻的材質。
- Rummaging for materials can be a crucial part of the process…what are your gathering rituals? and how do you approach to materials and colours between fabrics?
In mexico I have almost every source of material located and rated by price and quality but as soon as I arrive in taiwan I had to star the search and collection from the beginning. I took me a year and half to go arround Taiwan discovering the natural material sources and industrial materials made here. Now im still discovering sources and materials. At the same time when I travel or make a proposal for a work in a different country I have to start this search from the beginning and having local friends in these countries is basic to find the best local materials produce there.
在墨西哥，我很熟悉所有材料來源，並按價格和質量對其進行評估。但我一到台灣就必須從頭開始搜索和收集。 我花了一年半的時間環遊台灣，發現了這裡的天然材料來源和工業材料。 現在我還在尋找更多的資源。當我在不同的國家旅行或創作時，我必須從頭開始搜索，最好的方式就是透過當地的朋友們的幫助找到最好的當地材料。
- Tell us about the design of the installation ‘Taming the Beast’. How do you approach to the growth patterns of its organic shape?
If you are familiar with a rhizome shape you might notice that look like a neurological network, a root network or a visual map, is also the best way to approach multiple solutions for a problem.
I designed these shapes of the sculpture in system that allows me to built and connect in many modules, like a Lego game. This shapes give me the freedom to build in different directions and create different shapes everytime is install in a location. I am convinced that this type of structures applied to the thinking process can help us have a more flexible thinking as well as a more flexible artwork statics.
- Would you say your process is a way to reconcile or rebuke hyper- consumerism?
Yes, I made this work with all the intention to make people think about and reconsider the power they have over what they consume. As costumers we have a great power of freedom of choice and demand over the markets and we must use it wisely.
- In the work ‘Taming the Beast’, you decided that people are allowed to touch every part of the work in this show, and even weave new layers to the work if they so choose. Why is the welcoming aspect of art so important to you?
Art for me creates experiences that become part of your life and go beyond an interesting image.
I always let people and animals touch my artworks, they are ment to be perceived not only by the eyes but to embrace all your senses.
In specific “Taming the beast” represents a journey and a process from wich we are all involved. Big social problems like the massive production of textile waste are scary and wild, like a big dangerous animal. Allowing people to approach it this way, (by touching asking and dealing physically with it) makes people more aware and less scare about it at the same time they get involve in their evolution process. This interactive process has many similarities to the taming action and that’s why I gave it this name. At the same time by weaving the work together we also make it part of our life experience.
具體來說，“馴獸”代表了一個我們都參與其中的旅程和過程。 紡織廢料的大量生產等重大社會問題既可怕又狂野，就像一隻危險的大動物。 允許人們以這種方式接近它（通過觸摸、詢問和親身經歷它）使人們在參與作品的進化過程的同時更加了解它並減少對它的恐懼。 這個交流過程與馴服動作有很多相似之處，這就是我給它這個名字的原因。 同時，通過將工作編織在一起，我們也使它成為我們生活體驗的一部分。
- What is your hope for the work’s lifecycle over the course of, say, the next century? Would you rather they be passed down or remixed?
I hope it will touch as many people lives and be touched as possible and also transformed by them becoming thicker and thicker in material and anecdotes every year.
I also hope It can stop growing by the time the consumption and waste problem is finally tamed by humanity.
- What are some favourite comments you’ve heard about your work?
More than the comments, I love to see the people reaction when they are amazed by it and they approach to touch it and explore it asking all these questions about the materials and the shapes. If they see me weaving they also like to take part and learn.
- Finally, what is the secret to fighting jet lag when you travel?
Sleep and more sleep, during the flight and in the airport during transfers. A good cup of matcha latte will make the magic when is time to start the fist day of work.
About 路瓦‧里維拉 Lua Rivera
Lua Rivera 於2013年畢業於墨西哥莫雷洛斯自治大學視覺藝術學院，並於2016年獲得碩士學位。透過藝術創作來消除既有的限制與思維，在作品間的自由互動與延伸，使展覽跨越了藝廊的展牆。她關注於生物遷徙與築巢等行為，反覆思考「巢」所象徵的意義，並和人類的居住作為對比來進行一系列的創作。同時透過織品、拼貼、攝影不斷的探索織物的再利用與可能性。
Lua Rivera makes art to erase the boundaries between disciplines, promoting a free interaction between them and allowing the exhibition to transcend the walls of the gallery. Lua based her artwork in processes such as nesting, growth and adaptation of organisms. As a visual artist she is distinguished from her continuous search and use of multidisciplinary resources such as intervention, collage, photography and textiles.
馴服野獸 Taming the Beast｜Annual Project
地點｜伊日藝術計劃 Rooftop＆Free Art Petit Garden
時間｜Tue. – Sat. 13:00 – 19:00 週日、一休館
All the fabric is repurposed material donated by Yee Chain International Co.