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Meet the artist - David Goncalves

Interview

Meet the artist - David Goncalves

David Goncales

10.08.2017

David´s art is focused on things that deal with space, time and its relation to Man.
He considers himself a nomad focusing on the essential, that travels in different speeds, whom is aware of the change of rhythms, cycles, of all the lines of time itself in space.

The majority of your works are made of very light and common materials, such as paper. In GlogauAIR’s March Open Studios 2017 you have exhibited two works: Book, 2017 and Untitled Backpack, 2017.  Both of them suggest a simultaneous gesture of keeping and an act of movement, of bringing something kept from a previous place to a new one. There seems to be a connection between a lifestyle and means of expression (between the materials and the formats above mentioned). When and how did you find that connection? How did one influence the other?

One always carries something from the past to the present moment, it is part of our nature. Memories, gestures, ideas, habits are what makes you who you are right now. You cannot avoid it even if you try to leave everything behind and start with a blank page. 
In these last years I was moving a lot, from house to house and also from studio to studio. These changes had a lot of influence in the way I thought about my work and the way I looked at life in general. Somehow when you change surroundings your work changes, it´s inevitable - you also change. Your ride to the studio is different and even just that means you are already experiencing new things. Despite all the changes, there is a line of thought in my work that has started a long time ago. 
This moment is linked to my childhood. To be more precise, to the moment when I started organising my school backpacks. Every time these were moments of making choices, selecting what I needed and wanted to carry depending on the space I had and the amount of weight I was willing to carry. This is something you have to deal with also when you are moving from a place to another. A book inside a backpack is much lighter to transport than something your body cannot support.


You seem to be particularly aware of a specific intrinsic rhythm to natural beings. There is a consciousness of natural Time, of the constant process of transience and of continuity that everything in the world is a part of. This could be seen in the work Mineral/Vegetal/Animal, 2017 that you have exhibited in GlogauAIR’s showcase, where three natural elements are represented all in the same rolled up sheet of paper that unfolds so slowly that the movement – even though present – can hardly be noticed. Is your usage of natural materials/elements an attempt to make your own works be part of that cycle? 

Everything has a rhythm, duration and a different way of responding to a cycle. Some transformations are clear to us, Human beings, depending on the speed that they occur. Others we know about only based on knowledge, even though invisible to the naked eye.
In this specific work I was thinking about the materials I´ve been using lately - paper and graphite. The first comes from the vegetal world… from trees, while graphite derives from the mineral one. In both these worlds time is experienced in a different way, especially if you compare it to our own, the animal - human. We think in decades while trees can think in centuries and rocks in millennia. Thinking about this makes me wonder about the amount of knowledge and memories these beings have by standing here for such a long time. They´ve witnessed so much. How can we learn from this?  How beneficial can it be for us to relate to a different time?
The exhibiting space was also taken in consideration. The window is at human eye level, facing a main street. Everyday there is a constant flow of people, some walking, others or inside their cars. It is a street, people are going from one point to another, it´s a passageway.
I thought I could work with people´s perception of time, especially for those who walk pass by it every day and would noticed that the drawing was different every day, changing due to the used materials. There was an idea put into practice, but then the transformation of the work was completely uncontrolled. The paper was unfolding due to gravity and the colour used was also changing due to its natural pigments. 


You have once mentioned that before your works used to be very colourful. However, your approach is now mainly a monochromatic, a minimalistic one. Can you explain what pushed you to this shift of expression?

You change, the work changes and you cannot stick to what was in the past otherwise you get stuck in nostalgia - you don't progress. This is a question I also ask myself sometimes and can´t come up with a straight answer. When you are working with one colour you don't have to think about all the others, and this means focusing on the idea, on one thing. I don't see it as being a minimalistic approach but rather a choice to be more direct. To use “less words”. My practice is more connected to Drawing than to Painting.


How does your artistic process usually look like?

This process is changing. There isn´t a formula. I like to spend my days in the studio as much as I like to go for walks, visiting new places or visiting the same ones but at different times of the day, night or seasons. I always carry sketch books- they are indispensible.


As it was mentioned before, you use quite frequently a book, or a notebook, as an object in your work. However, there is nothing neither written nor drawn inside the pages. There are only traces of a human physical interaction with the object (the book) by means of the act of folding/unfolding and cut-outs. A book is usually used as a means of conveying knowledge. What do books mean in the contexts of your art practice? Are the folding/unfolding and cut-outs a way of coding information?

These books are filled with information, full of drawings! I don’t agree when you say they are not written nor drawn. Every page is distinct and working in relation to the ones before and after. They make sense as a whole - as a book. There is always a thought put into each page and rhythms are created throughout them. It´s like reading a story book: you will only understand the plot if you go through it until the end. For the reader there will be a lot of surprises in the story but they will be revealed depending on his ability to stay focused. 
The act of manipulating these pages is a way of connecting to the present moment. They are full of repetitive moves which help me concentrate… They are a way to concentrate; to be with myself.


How do you consider being in Berlin and in GlogauAIR influenced your work?

I am sure that it has influenced my work, I feel it but it is too soon to observe and explain where and in what direction. Being in a different surrounding, in a different city, meeting people from other backgrounds and sharing creative processes are undoubtedly a positive thing to the continuous process of my work development.
I must thank you one more time for this opportunity.



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