"There are those of us who believe in an art that can be aggressive"

At the exhibition Tro, Håb og Overgreb (Faith, Hope and Abuse) arranged by Ulandssekretariatet (The LO/FTF Council) last year we had the pleasure of taking a closer look at the art of Darvin Rodríguez on this blog. The exhibition has been extended and is now being shown the Town Hall in Copenhagen, which is the perfect opportunity to meet the art by Darvin Rodríguez through his own words.

Below is the first of two blogposts on the interview with Darvin Rodríguez by José Victor Aguilar Guillen while preparing for the exhibition and it is with great delight that I have been permitted by Darvin Rodríguez and Ulandssekretariatet to feature it here.

Darvin Rodríguez masterfully unites idea and expression, the latter of which we shall focus on in the second blogpost; the focal point of the present one is his call for art taking responsibility, or as he so superbly puts it: The importance of art as aggression:

Darvin Rodríguez, Descarga -2 /Unloading-2 
from the series Personajes en Acción, 2014.
Commemorating the 60th anniversary of the banana strike in Honduras in 1954 ,
which laid the first foundations for the rights of employees.
The omphalos of the picture plane is the only space left in empty calm
underlining the centripetalism of his strength for once applied for the worker's own good.


I find inspiration for the content of my works such as in an indignation about reality. When I watch television, mass media, and they say that art is doing needlework or a handicraft, I become indignant; or when in schools they are teaching art, and it is all about needlework or handicraft, I am indignant too, in that is not for our amusement, it is a very sensitive thing to be taken seriously and in becoming aware of it I have asked myself: I wonder if it is so that the government does not really know what art is? Or have they handled the population so badly that they have degenerated them?

Darvin Rodríguez, Carga/Loading
from the series Personajes en Acción, 2014.
- breaking his two-dimensional plane into our sphere.
And it dawned upon me that it has not, but it is an all-inclusive Machiavellian plan, and that they use the 10 strategies as formulated by Noam Chomsky on how to manipulate the masses, and that one can see on television how they treat people like children, who cannot think for themselves. If there is a problem that is of a direct concern for the entire country, they launch the sudden news for pure show on how for instance a child has been born with five legs in Olancho, and that strategy of being popular, entertaining and vulgar equals being more attractive to society, diverting the mind, which is regrettable. And that is what makes me say: No, art is something else...

I believe that an artist, who wish to be perceived as such, cannot close him- or herself off from the context, the reality, that he or she lives in. There are artists, who shut themselves up in their studios and start painting in isolation from their context. I cannot see myself painting for instance beautiful pictures that are telling us of a happy people, when I hear on the radio or see on television that there is a coup d'état or violence.

Darvin Rodríguez, Carga/Loading
from the series Personajes en Acción, 2014.
Detail of the panel above before its completion
Note the thick black panels running along each of his arms,
he held up by his sheer will of superhuman dimensions.

I cannot mask reality; I cannot be an accomplice of the government with its strategy to tell the world that we are well, that one should be positive, this whole NGO-approach, which they were selling to us. So I find that if you paint something, which has no reality, it would add to the harm of society.

There are those of us who believe in an art that can be aggressive and critical of society.

Art can change reality; it has the power to do so. When art is being manipulated or is at the service of the oligarchy, it turns Machiavellian and soporific, but if art is handled by those, who are attentive to its proper use, I know that art can change reality; in film, music and literature.

I know that if my message comes out to 200 or 10, then I know that they can carry this little seed on to others. I know that I cannot see the outcome of it right now, but when you know people, who begin to think in a different way, who know what professional ethics is, and who know their role in society, then to me that is progress. The neoliberal capitalism tells us that the world belongs to the strongest, but we are not wild creatures. The strongest one is the one who can resist the temptation; the one who hell-bent resists everything to stick to his or her ideas.

It is the type of man to be rescued, this ideal and such a mindset within the strongest one; it has to be the basic idea.

The artworks shown are courtesy of Darvin Rodríguez and must not be reproduced without his permission. A very special thank you to Ulandssekretariatet for their kind permission to feature the interview.

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