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The times of anger – Caretas

Jesus Ruiz Durand (Huancavelica, 1940) is the artist and intellectual who marked the generation to which I belong. To those of us who experienced (almost) everything, to those of us who believed we were incendiaries, to those of us who were going to change the world and to those of us who dared to imagine utopia. We did not manage to realize our dreams, but at least we dared to have them. We were angry in a way so different from that of this time, in which we still are, but in a radically opposite way. It so happens that yesterday’s rebellion has led to today’s frustration.

His magnificent work represented the times in which we lived better than that of any other artist. Below is our interview coinciding with his participation in the recent Sao Paulo Biennial.

You studied Fine Arts from which you graduated in 1964. What other specialties have allowed you to master so many aspects in a work as complex as yours?

I entered the third year of painting and drawing after a special exam that I requested. I also did engraving and practiced sculpture. I remember that I participated in the small Apu-Rimak workshop that conducted research on pre-Columbian and artisanal iconography. At Cantuta, I specialized in Physics and Mathematics, and at Catholic University I specialized in Education. Later I studied multimedia at the Barcelona design school and teaching through digital media in Argentina, then I followed courses at the PUCP, Telefónica and various multimedia design training sites, and virtual universities.

Did you work at SINAMOS? In those times the use of the computer was very primary.

I was part of the Agrarian Reform Dissemination Office that was successful, among other things, because of its dynamics and the posters. But upon my return from New York, where I went to study animation, I found that they had transformed the office into SINAMOS. I had a strong discussion with Carlos Delgado – an APRA advisor to Velasco who was in charge of deactivating the powerful popular force that was being generated with the agrarian reform -, I left SINAMOS definitively and went with Augusto Salazar Bondy to work on the educational reform. .

I made the Agrarian Reform posters without a computer (in the 70s). I managed to convert the enlarger in my studio into a small photomechanical camera, the same one used in preparing photoliths for offset. It was a kind of “photo-chemical analog Photoshop” because it used high-contrast, multi-layer films with images that can be superimposed, merged or combined in a thousand ways. I went to work in the enormous photomechanical cameras of the printing presses to enlarge grids, negativeting, inverting, solarizing, drawing with a scalpel, gluing and inserting everything with precision… by hand and by eye.

In your posters for the Agrarian Reform you make a fusion of pop, op, psychedelia, which results in the highest level of Peruvian art of the 70s. However, many times I have felt that, with its derivations from Lichtenstein, for example , were more oriented towards an urban resident, knowledgeable about the codes of contemporary art, while the peasantry would consider them alien because they required another type of language.

An artist’s style is nourished by everything “digestible”, wherever it comes from, even more so if it reinforces his concepts and communicative and aesthetic drives. The posters were adopted with great empathy by inhabitants of the most diverse cultural and social backgrounds who pasted them on the mud, mat and stone walls of their huts, as well as in their peasant organizations. They were widely distributed in small town streets and large cities, in embassies and finally in large international collections and museums. His most recent exhibition was at the recent Sao Paulo Biennial, along with Guadalupe Posada, the NN and Alfredo Márquez, among many others. Previously in the Museum of Modern Art in Frankfurt, in Buenos Aires along with Warhol, Lichtenstein, Bacon, Beuys, Niemeyer,…, they are currently in the Salvador Allende Museum, in Santiago de Chile, until March 2024.

Let’s talk about your most individual work. Were you part of the Arte Nuevo group?

We were all friends, but my relationship with Arte Nuevo was not so formal. With Juan Acha there was a great intellectual friendship, we exchanged music and books, he gave me the books of Umberto Eco in Italian, Susan Sontag, Bejamin, Berger, Francastell, Gadamer, Hauser… many great ones.

My paintings from that time had a pop line. They were large-format political works with images of the resplendent 60s and 70s: The guerrillas, Che, Mao, Bonzos burning, the student repression at the University of Kent, Paris 68, Black Power, Viet Nam, the Hippies… always with a very colorful palette. Then in the eighties came my series “Memories of Anger,” an almost monochromatic painting with chapters that have not yet ended: “Remember Fernandito,” “Remember Alancito,” “Remember Japanese Rat,” and, later, “Remember presidiary presidents.” The misdeeds of politicians are increasing, unstoppable.

Your dedication to painting was curious because at the height of conceptualism (1975) I remember a lapidary phrase of yours: “painting is an obsolete art.” That statement may coincide with your dedication to photographs that give a very valuable testimony of the 70s. Many have been the starting point for your posters and at the Reina Sofia in Madrid there is an abundant collection of them.

I have thousands of photographs, in photochemical files of negatives, in all formats, and others constantly increasing, in digital format. Thousands more in volumes and travel portfolios around the world. The same with interviews with characters from literature, music and painting, about 40 characters on video. We had a very warm friendship with Szyszlo, I frequented him, we exchanged books and especially music. Long interviews, more than 10 hours of video with Szyszlo over three years, him painting pictures from the sketch…, chatting about multiple topics, touring Puruchuco…

It’s curious because they considered you an arsonist of the 60s, ideologically located at the antipodes of Szyszlo. I think that this historical material and your video art should be shown massively. Why don’t you upload them to YouTube?

The incendiary thing… well, I don’t think there is an attentive artist who does not feel the fire of indignation at the reign of stupidity, corruption, cynicism and lumpen vulgarity of the puppets perched in power, and the eternal complicit hypocrisy of Lima that comes from the 19th century. There is a lot of material to process and projects continue to grow, the time factor is crucial. I estimate that my pending tasks would total a little more than a hundred years of work…Philosophy, cultural studies, mathematics, cybernetics, AI, interactive multimedia, illustration, drawing, painting, 2D and 3D design, iconography, music, jazz… in short, it’s a lot of trouble , there is no time to get tired.

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#times #anger #Caretas
– 2024-04-22 22:43:21

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