EntrevistArte - Berta Delgado interviewed

EntrevistArte  - Impressions du monde  -Interviews on female artists-

Teresa Miquel interviews Berta Delgado, 
from LRM Performance - Locus,

as a part of the Miradas de Mujeres Festival,
at Cacabelos Antropology Museum  

Original (in spanish) here

• What is your artistic discipline ?   
please explain why you decided to devote yourself to art and what were your beginnings

My family was always interested in contemporary art, my father is a photographer, I learned a lot from him about techniques and procedures just watching him work and my mother is also a very creative person, there was always an environment that fostered curiosity about things at home.
Later on in the Faculty of Fine Arts I studied different disciplines, I was comfortable in drawing and photography, but I was always interested in performing arts : I was into several theater companies, I did courses on body and movement, interpretation and finally I studied scenography as a speciality.
Anyway, it was not until I met David Aladro-Vico (the other half of LRM Performance) tha I combined different disciplines at the same time into our work.
My former work was just plastic in the traditional sense: drawing, photography, or painting... David felt the same, coming from the world of musical composition and being tired of the traditional concert format. We both were interested in breaking those barriers and hence  LRM Performance came about.

• You are part of LRM Performance. How would you explain your work?
Our maxim is to create a fully interdisciplinary work, where all elements (music, visual arts, performing movements...) are at the same level of complexity.
For each work we want its explanation to be done by the viewer.  But as a practical definition we usually put on websites and elsewhere that we are "an interdisciplinary collective –group or company– ignoring the boundaries between artistic disciplines by making abstract or non-narrative visual, auditory, and movement live creations". 

• You achieve impressive stagings. How is your creative process? Where does the idea for ​​each creation comes from?
 Oh, thank you... Actually,  the works are not staged because there is no concept, story or idea to "be staged", so to speak, and that is not our goal. What you see is what it is. We work from the materials - be them visual, sounding or movement - they are the ones that guide us. Sometimes ideas come from things we see or hear, but in the studio these are transformed and tested with other elements. Although we always know what result will we keep –sometimes subconsciously–, we never know where the idea we start from will end up.

• Within LRM you mix up video art, contemporary music, set design, visual arts, performing arts... Is it easier for you to express what you want to by combining different disciplines?
Working in various disciplines is more satisfying, but not easier (actually it may be more difficult, you have to pay attention to more aspects ) but as I say, we seek for no narrative or concept,  nor to express anything concrete but rather provoke an emotion, not defined nor previously conditioned. Certainly it is very convenient to get out of your own discipline to achieve a fresher vision of what you are creating, although it may seem more comfortable to remain enclosed in your academicisms: both the training you received and the exhibition spaces do push you towards that, but we think we must break away from it.

• Do you think performance art is recognized in Spain ?
 in Spain arts are generally not quite valued. Clichés are recognized for social reasons, yes, a lot, but to recognize in the sense of having a fair knowledge and respect, not. We have to make art integrate into people's lives.
About performance art, from our experience the average citizen of our country holds the  preconception that it is an aggressive form of art in which they may even get physically hurt, that it is repetitive, sometimes boring, it is carried out in void spaces and clearly tends to offer only three emotions : disgust, fear or boredom. But mostly they see it as a work with little labour by the artist behind it .
But Performance art is more recognized in Spain than what is believed, it is into the biggest museums, venues and events. It often plays the role of being a misunderstood victim, for their own convenience I think. But it is also true that only one kind of performance art is predominant – that in the '60s vein, which is "raw" actions  in empty spaces. This style is quite appropriate for institutions in Spain: it is inexpensive to produce and convenient for them because it transmits the idea that  there is no possibility of doing things any other way.
From my point of view, here there has been no formal evolution –where you work to incorporate other elements– as it happened since the '70s in some other countries. Performance artists here live with their backs to the history of other artistic disciplines (music, dance and performing arts ). 

• Who makes a work of art, the author creating it or te audiences interpreting it ?
They are the two sides of the same coin, both indispensable, but we believe in the last fifteen years or so the position of the audience has been ignored and subjugated good by offering just a story to interpret (a message or concept) or giving a too simple entertainment ( for example, there is much use of technology as an anecdote) when  what really gives an artistic result is to offer and experience complex emotions. This is a criticism that was already made by the first post-modernity in the early '70s but in our opinion it was ignored for political interest.

• How do you see the current situation of women in art?
I recently saw the figures published by the MAV on the presence of women in the field of contemporary art and found them extremely bad. Firstly it is clear that there is a deep underlying problem in our society: lack education for equality. And second, in the professional milieu : I found it out already at the very faculty of Fine Arts where I saw quite derogatory attitudes of men both peers and teachers towards us.
Unfortunately this is pushing women artists to form their own ghetto within the circuit of contemporary art:  exhibitions are organized for women only, awards are given to women artists... all to maintain a minimum share of our presence in the professional circle.
For this reason all art produced by women are expected to deal in feminism or supposedly women's themes ( pregnancy, femininity, the body used in a sexist way... usually much of cliché ) There is a very distinct iconography.
As a female artist I am not interested in working on that line or aesthetic cliché and I see I am not acounted  for in either side or the other, I do not want to be "tagged" as "female artist". And they are not interested in the fact that I work in equality with a man, we are coming to an absurd situation.
I have no solution to this problem, but although I appreciate the effort made by many activists, it seems a bad sign to me that such ghettos are created, and how at conferences on feminism you can only see women attending. I think we should make the whole society get involved with the problem: not only should women claim for equal rights, but also men should defend them just because they consider it just and because it is a human right like equal rights for all races, beliefs or sexual orientations.

• How important are new technologies and RRSS in the creation and dissemination of your works ?
As creation tools, they are just that, tools – they do not ensure an interesting result–  it depends on what you do with them. But for diffusion, the importance is enormous as very powerful communication instruments. They have their problems too, but allow us to meet people, show our work and exchange information... they are very useful.

• Imagine that you can ask three related to your work or the art in general desires. What would they be?
First, pluralism : chances must be equal for all and ghettos and sectarianism of all kinds, gender, discipline, socioeconomic, etc.  should disappear.
Then, the toil, the hours and effort invested must be respected. If this is not valued, we will continue feeding a bubble that has already burst on us in other areas such as economy.
And finally the most important thing : Stability and continuity. To do a merited piece of work it is absolutely necessary an environment that is not enhancing fear as it is right now, and not letting you down every now and then, destroying possibilities that were created over the years. You do not have to be rich, just stable. It takes a professional and social network that provides confidence and support regularly.

• Can you tell us about future projects?
In LRM we are continually doing investigations, testing materials and devices,  creating sounds, thinking up actions and movements which then who knows where they will end up; there are ideas in the latest work coming from years ago. It is a continuous work in progress and seems to me that the more we do, the more ideas occur to us. We 're preparing a new piece this year, provisionally titled Kowloon. We have many things in the pipeline to try and build : light types, types of sounds and instruments, costumes, prosthetics, shapes and movements... lots to do...

Berta Delgado - February 2014