In preparation for his upcoming debut show at Nelly Duff, ‘Arcane Arcade’ we sat down with Pablo Delgado to discuss all things micro, mirrored and magical about the imagined worlds that are soon to take over Nelly Duff…
ND: Can you talk to us a little about what the ‘Arcane Arcade’is?
PD: Arcane Arcade talks about something that is remote, something in your face, that you cannot reach and can be manipulated. It’s a matter of playing with what it is to be indoors and experience the outdoors in an open space. The show was created in a small space, but in this big context of Mexico City, and was also going to be presented in a small space inside this big city, Nelly Duff. So all the scenarios that were created for this exhibition were representing open space and faraway places. Probably they were my dreams of where I wanted to be while I was doing it!
Also, the exhibition is about using your phone/device as an extension of yourself, to experience art in an analogical way, in this installation it will be like you are downloading something, you are reaching to the clouds (or downloading from the cloud). And of course, this installation piece is a piece that cannot be seen through your eyes, only by the phone. The characters for each piece were a combination of old pieces and cut-outs, juxtaposed with these contemporary photographs of people that are actually living, both removed from their original context and combined in this micro world.
I want this experience to be a playful one, its an open exhibition, depending on the curiosity of the viewer you can take more or less from it depending on the things you see around you and how closely you look.
ND: In terms of the artwork involved in this exhibition, what techniques are you introducing that you don’t normally use?
PD: It’s the first time I’ve really started using backgrounds. I have always used plain paper, or with a graphic on it? This is the first time I have put characters on the ground and they have a surrounding. Im also using watercolour a lot which I haven’t done before so I’m really getting into that. In terms of the three dimensional pieces, you could say that it is an evolution of works I have done in the past, but because a mirror needs to be in a specific position it was difficult to frame them with a mirror, so this is the first time I have used mirror in that way in a very small space. The larger installation is kind of an evolution of an experiment I did before where you look in with your head, but with this one, you use your phone or device.
ND: Is the art scene different here to Mexico?
PD: The difference is that there is art for everyone here, in London, and people are interested in art whether it is a print or its super high-end original works. And in Mexico, the art movement is more determined by the galleries with higher prices, and all the other levels are kind of forgotten, people just don’t buy a lot of art like they do in London.
ND: Are these larger three-dimensional works something you have experimented with in the past?
PD: The intention of this piece, is to create a mechanism that transports you to another world, so whether the boxes or the ceiling installation, that is what they intednd to do, but by using your device. And being captured in a very small place – they want to be transported to somewhere remote, a very open space.
ND: How do you decide which characters go into these spaces?
PD: If the idea clicks, that character goes there, and if it doesn’t I might use it for another one. Its just about trying different combinations of characters and seeing what works, but in the end, they have to tell you a story, and when they click and the story clicks I leave them alone.
ND: Where do you find all the characters in your imagined landscapes – do you have a favourite place to get them from or do you make them all?
PD: It’s a combination, the characters on the paintings on the walls are a mixture of people from photographs that I took, and from a book of world history. So there is a combination of real pictures, where you are putting someone in a context that they don’t even know they are part of. Also, I use illustrations from old places and old art, which I hand paint to make my own and put my own stamp on them. And from there I start creating these scenes and conversations, but it starts with creating the ‘universe’ for these people and then developing the ideas.
ND: And finally, what is your favourite piece in the exhibition?
I’m really happy with the mirrored pieces, Its something I want to develop more and work more in that direction.
‘Arcane Arcade’ is showing at Nelly Duff from 12th – 21st October with a Private View (all welcome) Thursday 11th October 6pm at Nelly Duff.