Octavi Serra in conversation with Victoria Rios
How to bring an idea to life?
There are a thousand different ways and none of them is more or less valid, yes, the type of idea and the format in which it is communicated will condition its impact and define its issuer. In a simple conversation, a thousand ideas can come out, and these ideas can have many and diverse natures. A functional idea will be carried out in a startup or company format, with a logical sense and aligned with the capitalist gear. On the other hand, a non-functional idea, one that works in the field of the humanities and that questions that perfect social mechanism, are the ones that should matter to the artist. The difference between making a joke, or communicating abstract ideas over a table, and art, is that the artist raises the importance of that idea to see it more closely and take it seriously (even though it can be taken seriously and communicated through humor).
See the world in a different way, not as a joke but as an alternative to the status quo.
Giving new meaning to what is established is intellectual work, but in your case, creating the image is the objective. What is your creative process?
I want to think that my objective is to play with the rigid, with what we are used to being in a concrete way, perverting it so that it tells us stories or communicates ideas to us. The image, the final photograph, is the archive, the witness that explains what happened to the people.
I don't think I have a specific creation process, although I help myself with small vices or processes that are repeated in each piece. Each idea calls for a different resolution depending on its nature. Not having a specific creation technique, the idea guides me until I find the materials, layout and shape of the final piece. I like the challenge of changing the technique according to the idea to be carried out.
Do you think that postmodernism is an answer to everything we don't like? A revolt in search of a new path? How do you think your work is part of it?
I believe in postmodernity as the protection of those of us who are lost in the world of art, although I could also consider it as the result of all the artists who make their doubts the reason for their creation. It is the protection of all those of us who are incapable of defining and setting limits to the idea of art. That we are not convinced by any definition and that we want everyone to doubt it. Postmodernity allows us to doubt everything, a time of artistic self-reflection where anything can go. A constant search for meaning through taking to the limit what was previously not acceptable.
My work is constantly questioning itself, I think this is due to my personal insecurity but also to some genuine doubts that the idea of art constantly raises. That is to say; yes, I think my work has something postmodern about it.
Activism and Artivism; What do you think art should generate in society? And how does it help this art to be generated?
The artist has the need to express himself in ways that society has not asked for. Nobody needs a painting as much as they need a table, a chair or a computer. I think there's something great about that; we don't need it from a functional point of view, but on the other hand, we all know that art is indispensable.
I'm not sure but I think that in the simple artistic intention there is already a certain activism. The fact of wanting to communicate or transmit ideas or emotions without the final objective being to sell a product seems to me a romantic act towards life.
What is everything that hovers over your work? Contexts, influences, day to day, the press...
I believe that everything that surrounds my work is also everything that surrounds my life. Whether they are tables, chairs or bathrooms as abstract ideas, doubts and reflections that come to me. The greatest reference is our daily life. I work mostly with the elements that make up my reality to talk and reflect on them.
What do you like to be a part of and what don't you like to be a part of? Do you think that your work is contaminated or that it benefits from it all?
I love being part of a group that is constantly reflecting on creation and non-functional communication. The people behind his creations are usually people with an inner life, at least curious and, therefore, interesting. I think that art is a good tool to avoid being automatons in a society that tells you in a very specific way what are the steps to follow.
Of things I don't like there are many, too many. This insecurity/doubt for not understanding the art world, the art market, etc. in a concrete way. although they provoke my reflection, they also lose me and confuse me. And when I try to take it too seriously, it collapses me and I can't create. I feel little free and I even doubt my genuineness.
I also don't like being fooled, usually in the art market. Its elitism and its big and complex words and concepts to elevate