THREAD CULTURAL CENTRE AND ARTIST'S RESIDENCY IN EASTERN SENEGAL.
A PROJECT BY
THE JOSEF AND ANNI ALBERS FOUNDATION AND NGO LE KORSA.
Current artists in residence:
Aisha Sasha John, Machteld Rullens, and Raven Cassell.
Photos by Giovanni Hänninen & Alberto Amoretti
A look at the residencies that would have happened during the pandemic. This time with Enrique Veganzones.
"I WOULD HAVE..."
"The pandemic has been hard on me and my family. We even lost loved ones. But it has provided a unique opportunity to be at the very centre of my life and my work."
For painter Enrique Veganzones, who lives and works in San Javier, Spain, the pandemic has been a complex experience. At first, the lockdown reminded him of the silence he experienced twenty years ago after departing the big city and moving to a small town on the south-east coast of Spain: going from a place where everything happens, to a remote spot where nothing seems to occur.
This is the kind of ambiance I need when I make art: my small paintings ask for rapt attention to appreciate their simpleness. Geometry, monochromatic compositions and prevalence of verticality are what matters.
Yet at the same time, it’s not been easy.
The pandemic has been hard on me and my family. We even lost loved ones. But it has provided a unique opportunity to be at the very centre of my life and my work. My last pieces are less planned, more spontaneous. In these moments of uncertainty, I see a real impact of the times on my artwork, it’s as if the uncertainty is imprinted in the works.
Enrique’s residency had to be cancelled just a few weeks before it was supposed to take place, in April 2020.
I was disappointed. I’ve been to Senegal twice before and was eager to go back. While not consciously aware, I’ve noticed how my work has been evolving into a less pure, less traditional sort of painting: more open to risk and to the unexpected. So perhaps, because I was mentally prepared to head to Thread, my work was somehow influenced by that.
I think that if I had actually been table to go to Thread, I would have worked mainly on the paper I would have brought with me in the suitcase, and so the quantity would be limited: consequently, I would have had to use the same paper multiple times. This idea has inspired me, even though I didn’t go to Thread in the end. Now, when something goes wrong with a drawing or a painting, I erase some parts and then keep building on top. Improvisation and daily interactions play an important role in Senegal: Even though I didn’t do the residency, I have also welcomed these aspects into my work.
Speaking about his current work, Enrique alludes to the passing of time and the density of experience it embraces.
Building a link to my past, encompassing time and its resulting wounds, is at the core of my work. It represents a kind of intimate and meticulous diary: each piece sums up something I’ve been going through. I use traditional techniques like stucco, gilding and egg tempera, not so much as a revival of old methods, but for the laborious and slow processes that they entail. Avoiding anything that requires a fast consumption of materials makes me feel more grounded, and it also produces a more environmentally friendly practice.
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