“I DON’T LIKE TO TALK ABOUT ART”
Interview with Marcos López
Marcos López describes himself as an Andy Warhol of the underdeveloped world. In his work, he managed to eradicate the melancholy tonality of Latin American photography in order to bring us closer to a carnival of shots and stories where local identity comes into unprecedented prominence.
We wanted to invite him to write about the relationship between belief and image, as well as about those contemporary phenomena which have influenced his work. We also told him the words anxiety, sex, violence, body, and pornography so that he would give us his opinion about the images that are capable of moving us today.
When his text arrived, we decided to establish it according to the four statements inspired by the reading of Jacques Lacan’s Seminar 23. “A New imaginary,” the syntagma which inspires this issue of LAPSO and appears in the eighth class of that seminar, prompted us to give greater prominence to the images in López’s work which motivated our questions.
What follows is the result.
The subtlety of the spirit
I think that in certain portraits of anonymous people or chance encounters during trips I can capture a deep gaze, a fraternity of souls in the encounter. The word “abandonment” comes to my mind. Soul mates. Something spiritual. A communion. I do few landscapes, but I’ve been going through all my photos since the eighties and there are some urban landscapes, spaces where I feel a spiritual presence. Something worth living for… I keep wondering what the point in doing things is…
Artists model that which they impute to God.
Everything always happens for another reason. It’s as if decisions were made by an “internal boss,” God, a gnome. I can say I got bored of doing black and white photos in those days and I wanted to do photos with screaming colors and bagatelles to represent Menemism and do totally different photos, in Sebastião Salgado’s Latin American style, or in the style of the great black and white photographers.
On the affected image.
All my work represents my traumas, my inferiority complexes, my thirst for revenge, my repressions… everything’s so obvious… Irony is a shield, a form of protection. I always speak about my melancholy mood; I’m moved every time I see a mattress lying on the street, aloe vera plants, certain 1960s car models, by-the-hour love hotels on the road; I’m always interested in the same list of topics. Now I’m interested in painting and drawing; I feel like taking up sculpture.
For me photography is like speaking and breathing, but I only use the mobile phone. I use cameras only for money; if I get paid for a photo, my assistants take care of it. The main thing in photography is that which is real and the passing of time. Digital technology is a pact with the devil. When I visit San Telmo street fair and go through a shoebox full of antique communion photos, I feel more moved—in a poetic, artistic, and emotional way—than by a great contemporary photography exhibition at the MALBA or the MOMA. I’m more and more anxious. We’ve become addicted. Everything’s getting worse. When I wake up, before taking a leak, I check Instagram, Facebook, and Gmail. We’re cyborgs, half-human and half-device. But I can be moved by a leaf in a puddle on a rainy day or on the cobblestones outside my front door. I get wet, put my feet in the water, take a snapshot of it with the phone, and upload it to Instagram. A phrase spoken by the cashier at the Chinese supermarket can leave me moved for three days.
On disrupting and founding art.
I don’t do much research on art. I don’t like to read anything on art criticism or art history; I forget the names; I only know Warhol, Hockney, Lichtenstein. By this I mean my work is POP because it’s national and popular—it can be read easily—and I include advertising brands such as Quilmes beer, for example. Hockney is one of today’s greatest living artists, the use of color, the triviality of the topics… I don’t like to talk about art.