SUITE MELANCOLÍA. ART TO RELIEVE PAIN
March 13, 2020. A before and after. A date that we will always remember. Life turned upside down for everyone in the face of the threat of an invisible virus, COVID-19. A new scenario and a new reality. This is also where Puche, a creation from confinement was born. A new timing and a new way of working, forced as we had to improvise a new studio at home to create.
The creative process of isolation
We lived the first days of the state of alarm on the back of uncertainty, fear, sadness and an endless number of mixed feelings that did not let us fall asleep.
Then the process of assuming and living with all those sensations arrived. We got down to business. We set a work pace, knowing that we had to be at home 24 hours a day, just disconnecting through calls and videos from family and friends.
Thus, our house became José Luis Puche’s office and studio, but also the cinema, the gym, the library, the hotel, the walking room and the balcony in our view.
Now, more than in our more recent past, art and culture have to be the filters with which society finds relief, being no more than an exercise of commitment and honesty with our profession, thus helping to record the moment we live in a reflective and creative way in which reality has been manifested by the opposition of dualities: sadness and joy, pessimism and hope… That is, everything has unleashed a halo of melancholy before a future full of uncertainty, where mortality has manifested itself with overwhelming certainty. Hence, these works made during the period of confinement are tinged with a fog that does not let us see clearly, some images released from weight.
This historical moment has been used to portray a melancholic state, yes, but a healthy one, since it has fostered a creative and critical behavior, the same one that drove other artists in other difficult times, and in which uncertainty is shown as a mist that burns us.
Puche’s social networks, vital to communicate
His social media were going to serve us to tell in the months of April and May a handful of projects in New York, Los Angeles or Sydney; a tour full of promotion, of exhibitions, of illusions that had to be postponed without a date, but not cancelled.
Networks would continue to be vital for communicating art, but in a different way. And so we did.
We set up an office and a set to attend to the Skype calls, the interviews with José Luis and the different Instagram Lives that, on the occasion of all the special Easter programs (link to previous post), had to be attended from home. From Puche’s social networks we have also joined different solidarity initiatives against coronavirus, in a professional but also personal capacity.
Art as solidarity balm
All this moved us to participate in the initiative launched by the Red Cross #ArtistsWithCommitment, with a work made exprofeso and raffled off in our social networks (link to post on networks) through microdonations. In this way, many people were able to contribute to the cause with small contributions.
We have also carried out work for a foundation from Los Angeles under the patronage of Alejandro de Felipe, whose motto is ‘La vida isBeautiful’. The profits will be used to help both an American and a Spanish organization of our choosing.
And as a result of this reflection of solidarity, the contest #micarteldeSemanaSanta2020 was created to involve the entire brotherhood community that had been orphaned by the processions of the Holy Week of Malaga. The experience was a success in terms of audience and participation, because feelings cannot be confined or cancelled.
The prize was precisely a drawing made for such an occasion: a man sitting with a hood but without a mask, alluding to the fact that the procession goes inside and with its face uncovered.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau once said that “Adversity is a great teacher, but one must pay dearly for its choices and the benefit it draws from them is often not worth the price they have cost.”
We do not know if this will change us for better or for worse, but we are sure that few things will be the same as before. We only know that we have to be able to look at what we are dealing with with enthusiasm, love and illusion. Only with this honesty we will be able to heal and mitigate what is ahead of us.