Nuria Casadevall saves for the images a different way of being. A dislocated way of breathing. This young artist and catalan producer composes, in each one of her pieces, worlds that come to reality’s aid. Landscapes of images in movement of a subtle existence and a moving beauty. With a broad production in the field of Fashion Films and TAINTS with the videoclips for the Belle Ghoul band, we are able to catch in her gaze controversial relationships between the objects she captures and her camera. In Wet the objects speak of worlds unseen, of an erotic pulse submerged in a tale made of contrasts. An autochthonous way of thinking the objects and making the engage in conversation. We talk with her of what she knows about herself and what she doesn’t imagine, about sex toys that are creative engines and objects that are best not kept.
And about those others that live with us as a gesture of memory.
Where does this video come from, where is wet born?
Actually the origin of this video is very curious; I was on a trip to Iceland with a friend of mine when she told me about this particular brand of dildos made of natural stones.
Polished quartz with a phallic shape, I searched them and I found very funny the fact that they seem to have healing powers, due to being made out of stone. I found it very esthetic, because often the sex industry is very little esthetic. It is not directly related to the idea, but to my wanting to make a video in which the objects, pretty as they are, led you to sexual feelings. At the begging I thought about introducing these dildos, but those only gave me the initial idea to start off with and nothing else.
This trip in which the main character is immersed, that starts through the eye of the woman in the painting , by means of the objects encountered during that trip. Is it related in any way with a sexual feeling?
It seems like water, fluid, the liquid element is a key foundation, it brings the heat. In the usual sense, water extinguishes the heat.
Exactly, yes. How cool is it that you got this. The idea was to do a series of still lifes of some sort, in which an action and a reaction took place. Not an engraved picture, let’s say, but for this to flow on to other things. Take the cup at the waiting room. Waiting rooms have always caught my attention; they are dead moments you endure. I found it to be fun, suddenly, to tell of a wet dream, an attraction of sorts, that the main character had with that classic painting. This is all narrated from a greater subtlety. It is very likely that seeing the video you do not understand that there’s a sexual reaction, that you notice there’s an attraction but not sexually, because everything is told in a very metaphorical way.
It is an important part of the power of the narrative and the beauty..
Yes, then I thought about taking an element from the waiting room, the typical plastic cup that in this case is prettier than the usual one you would find there. It’s an object that is there and is real, and as such it spills over and gives places to everything else.
I find funny and interesting the waiting room concept, that there’s an actual language for a waiting room and its objects. It seems like the waiting room landscape is always the same, whether you’re waiting on a birth, a death, when filing a claim or for an endodontic. We could say that the objects in a waiting room are neither pretty nor ugly, they belong to a universal language. And you also say the plastic cup in the waiting room is ugly… why do you find it ugly?
I actually find it very beautiful, it is not a glass we can consider beauty.
Despite everything the main character has quite a moment, a REAL MOMENT, while in a waiting room. And at first glance waiting rooms tend to be quite exasperating and desolate.
That waiting room isn’t a typical waiting room, it is a very beautiful and esthetical room. I wanted to play with the contrasts there. Suddenly localization in a classical conservatory that almost resembles Versailles, with some very modern characters and styles. The elements, the sofa with a Nordic inspiration, for example, also in the music there’s a moment where an opera is heard, but at the beginning, on the ground floor there are electronic elements. My challenge was to make a mix of the classic and the contemporary and for it to be fluid, for it to breathe naturally. I really wanted to do something with these contrasts of the old and the contemporary, where it all breathed a new style.
I hope the next waiting rooms I go through are like yours, it`s a heaven of a waiting room. There’s a quote that has been with me for years and it comes from the classic world: “there’s no ethics without esthetics” What kind of ethics live behind your images?
Shit, that’s a good question. How difficult.
That’s why they called me, so that I make it difficult to you guys. But we can give it a thought together.. Sometimes it’s not good to give the audience the play’s user manual, the spectator’s freedom is essential so that he can access the work through his gaze. That’s also why I don’t want you to rip open that video. But I am interested in knowing about the artists, what intuitions they have about what is left at the back, what is left unseen, about the works. That invisible half that irrigates the images in the world of the art.
An expression comes up to me and it is to make an impact. Get people out of their hole. I think it’s very difficult to find pieces with a different visual narrative, what really gets me are the pieces in which the visual plastic is a language in itself, and I like to be able to mix in a simple narrative and tell it from a different point of view. In the end what I really fancy is to give everything a completely different point of view. To make an impact, this comes to me. When I try to create images I try to make every image meaningful to the person.
And that new point of view, which is yours.. what does it talk about? What are you rebelling against from that beauty and that harmony, from that new point of view? What do those worlds of yours speak of? Who are you?
Wooah , who are you? I think these worlds in general.. I think there’s a tendency that towards melancholy, it could also be sorrow, a very internal layer within ourselves, a very sensitive skin of ours, subtlety, delicateness, that which is not obvious, that is not felt in an objective way.
Getting closer to the objects, what objects do you think have marked your gaze?
I have to say I have a very special relationship with the objects, after some time I usually clean up and throw everything away. I feel that like this I am renewed. I try to live with the essential, because an object to me is something very powerful on a symbolic and emotional level, if I keep something it is old photograph albums. It is huge to see time go by, it’s unnerving. Images are what I keep, or the notebooks; the thoughts. In the end, objects to take you back to a past in a very direct way.
In wet the objects that appear in this trip or dream are objects that refer directly to classic elementary geometrical shapes. There are triangles, squares, circles that at the same time are objects that evoke other objects. Is there any intention behind such fundamental objects?
In all of the still lifes, in general my intention was “back to the origins”, to go back to elements like water, fire… To work with raw elements and to develop them: water becomes fire, fire goes through a progression until reaching an infinite. And regarding the white still lifes with shapes, they are the essential shapes, the maximum simplicity. There’s something that rises and rises, and boom, everything suddenly becomes alight. It’s the abstraction of everything, to go to the maximum simplicity.
Why are you so interested in fashion?
For the same reason as with the images, because it’s beautiful, there’s beauty there. It is another form of expression, another kind of language.
What is that language made of? What is it capable of communicating?
I think it is a bit like painting, it is colors and shapes… I see it as another language applied to another material, another format. It depends on how you see fashion, it can transcend that basic need that actually is but can also go further. It can be your white canvas, it can be the way how you play with your body.
A piece of clothing.
A cutting board, I love them. In fact this is something I keep, one of the few. My grandmother’s wooden cutting board, very thick on which she always use to chop her vegetables and which seems to have a gap. It is cut in a way that makes it look like a piece of art. I hung it on the wall at my house.
Anything to add about WET ? Talk now or remain silent until you please.
With Wet my challenge was to create connected still lifes that took you back to something. To express a sexual concept in objects, how to transmit my vision of the erotic through objects. Sex is a very animal like thing, that you want meat, you want characters. How to express this concept that is so related to the living with objects. I believe that is what Wet is. There’s something going on inside of her, something huge.
Like with you.
(she laughs) Well, it must be.
Thank you very much
Interview by Daniel Fernández-Cañadas