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Juan Cruz, RCA's dean of Fine Arts

Juan Cruz, RCA’s dean of Fine Arts

Alejandro Ball: So, lets start from the beginning and see what your introduction into the arts was and your progression into your present work and the research you are undertaking now?

Juan Cruz: Um… do you mean in the context of the translations?

AB: Yes, but more on how your artistic journey begin.

JC: Um… well I only really started studying art at A level, so when I was a bit older really. And the initial drive was two-fold, I suppose. One was an interest in representation, painting and drawing, and an interest also in… not getting drawn into sort of a conveyer belt of labour and work, and those kinds of things. And then I went to Chelsea to do painting there after doing a foundation in Epson, and sort of never really… well, I did make some paintings there but never really painted. I suppose I always had an interest in language and in text, probably because I’d been good academically in school, and part of it for being nervous to let go of language and writing, and it’s something I had. I suppose, I felt personally and had more stability with writing and text, than with image making…

AB: Really? Ok…

JC: So, it was something that kind of remained in that way, and nevertheless that I maybe tended toward, and remember this was the late 90s… no, earlier 80s, so late 80s early 90s, so you get quite a resurgence, I suppose, around that time in the interest in conceptual practices from the late 60s, early 70s, that a number of people were picking methods, and interlinking – I was at Goldsmiths at the time and then in Glasgow, Douglas Gordon, so there was this resurgence in the interest of a practice that was conceptually focused; Lawrence Wiener became very popular… a lot of these guys. So I guess that I was catch up (?) in that… but then, when I finished college, I set up a studio and made works that you could consider formal, minimal, but then the first work that I made, which focused on translation, was called Translating Don Quijote.

AB:Oh yeah, which you first performed in 1996?

AB: Yes, but more on how your artistic journey begin.

JC: Um… well I only really started studying art at A level, so when I was a bit older really. And the initial drive was two-fold, I suppose. One was an interest in representation, painting and drawing, and an interest also in… not getting drawn into sort of a conveyer belt of labour and work, and those kinds of things. And then I went to Chelsea to do painting there after doing a foundation in Epson, and sort of never really… well, I did make some paintings there but never really painted. I suppose I always had an interest in language and in text, probably because I’d been good academically in school, and part of it for being nervous to let go of language and writing, and it’s something I had. I suppose, I felt personally and had more stability with writing and text, than with image making…

AB: Really? Ok…

JC: So, it was something that kind of remained in that way, and nevertheless that I maybe tended toward, and remember this was the late 90s… no, earlier 80s, so late 80s early 90s, so you get quite a resurgence, I suppose, around that time in the interest in conceptual practices from the late 60s, early 70s, that a number of people were picking methods, and interlinking – I was at Goldsmiths at the time and then in Glasgow, Douglas Gordon, so there was this resurgence in the interest of a practice that was conceptually focused; Lawrence Wiener became very popular… a lot of these guys. So I guess that I was catch up (?) in that… but then, when I finished college, I set up a studio and made works that you could consider formal, minimal, but then the first work that I made, which focused on translation, was called Translating Don Quijote.

AB:Oh yeah, which you first performed in 1996?

AB: Yes, but more on how your artistic journey begin.

JC: Um… well I only really started studying art at A level, so when I was a bit older really. And the initial drive was two-fold, I suppose. One was an interest in representation, painting and drawing, and an interest also in… not getting drawn into sort of a conveyer belt of labour and work, and those kinds of things. And then I went to Chelsea to do painting there after doing a foundation in Epson, and sort of never really… well, I did make some paintings there but never really painted. I suppose I always had an interest in language and in text, probably because I’d been good academically in school, and part of it for being nervous to let go of language and writing, and it’s something I had. I suppose, I felt personally and had more stability with writing and text, than with image making…

AB: Really? Ok…

JC: So, it was something that kind of remained in that way, and nevertheless that I maybe tended toward, and remember this was the late 90s… no, earlier 80s, so late 80s early 90s, so you get quite a resurgence, I suppose, around that time in the interest in conceptual practices from the late 60s, early 70s, that a number of people were picking methods, and interlinking – I was at Goldsmiths at the time and then in Glasgow, Douglas Gordon, so there was this resurgence in the interest of a practice that was conceptually focused; Lawrence Wiener became very popular… a lot of these guys. So I guess that I was catch up (?) in that… but then, when I finished college, I set up a studio and made works that you could consider formal, minimal, but then the first work that I made, which focused on translation, was called Translating Don Quijote.

AB: Yes, but more on how your artistic journey begin.

JC: Um… well I only really started studying art at A level, so when I was a bit older really. And the initial drive was two-fold, I suppose. One was an interest in representation, painting and drawing, and an interest also in… not getting drawn into sort of a conveyer belt of labour and work, and those kinds of things. And then I went to Chelsea to do painting there after doing a foundation in Epson, and sort of never really… well, I did make some paintings there but never really painted. I suppose I always had an interest in language and in text, probably because I’d been good academically in school, and part of it for being nervous to let go of language and writing, and it’s something I had. I suppose, I felt personally and had more stability with writing and text, than with image making…

AB: Really? Ok…

JC: So, it was something that kind of remained in that way, and nevertheless that I maybe tended toward, and remember this was the late 90s… no, earlier 80s, so late 80s early 90s, so you get quite a resurgence, I suppose, around that time in the interest in conceptual practices from the late 60s, early 70s, that a number of people were picking methods, and interlinking – I was at Goldsmiths at the time and then in Glasgow, Douglas Gordon, so there was this resurgence in the interest of a practice that was conceptually focused; Lawrence Wiener became very popular… a lot of these guys. So I guess that I was catch up (?) in that… but then, when I finished college, I set up a studio and made works that you could consider formal, minimal, but then the first work that I made, which focused on translation, was called Translating Don Quijote.

AB:Oh yeah, which you first performed in 1996?

http://www.peeruk.org/projects/cruz/juan-cruz.html

JC:96, exactly, at the Cervantes Institute, and that really came because I found… I was making works in the studio, but came across this space in the Cervantes Institute, in London, and imagined that might be a possibility to show some work there. I should say that up until then I had also been writing about art, I used to write reviews for ArtMonthly, so after college I quite regularly did that.

AB: Oh really, and did this take the form of simply exhibition reviews or more art criticism?

JC: Yes, exhibition reviews, but more importantly I think through that and partly through developing in relationship with Matt’s Gallery, I started becoming more and more interested in the idea of the exhibition, as opposed to the artwork. And that was partly about and idea of installation, also partly around on this idea, maybe a phonological idea of what it was be in an exhibition, and of what it was to experience work in that context, as opposed to seeing an artwork as a distinct thing, and this led me to make that work, Translating Don Quijote. So then that’s what happened and a number of other works happened involving different kinds of writing and different approaches to writing as well.

AB:Ok so, in that period where you became influenced in conceptual work, how did translation become prominent and a main interest in your practice?

JC:Well again, I think it was quite theoretical and personal. There is quite a lot of writing done on translation, and Benjamin was quite important, and I was trying to read a lot of those writers that tried to articulate some form of transformation and some kind of representation. So it features quite heavily as a metaphor and similar conversations around art, and I was interested in this personally. Growing up bilingually, I always remember people in Spain asking me to translate album lyrics of song, for someone else to understand.

AB:(chuckles) Really?

JC: Yeah, and I guess I was really interested in that notion of being a kind of enabler through translation, ‘cause there is a certain amount of facilitation and power in being able to do that…

AB: Where you can relay any type of information?

JC:Yes, exactly. So then, I visited China a few times recently and I realised there, that people who speak English well, especially in the art world, become very powerful very quickly because they become mediators for many artists. So it was kind of two-fold really – the theoretical and the personal. And then with the Translating Don Quijote piece, I became interested, though I don’t think I was to start with, I became interested in translation as a medium.

AB: A medium? Ok…

JC:In the sense that the kinds of translation I make is a direct, hesitant, halting, kind of translation, becoming a kind of way of representing thought. So when you went into the space, the way it was setup, you’d walk into the space and as the performer of the translation I won’t acknowledge people coming in, but you’d hear someone speak very hesitant, clumsy version of this Spanish text, and they won’t be looking up at you, so it felt a little like the person, me, who was doing the translation was thinking the words, rather than representing them or translating them into something else. So in a sense it became something in itself, it generated a particular type of feel, I suppose, or motive.

AB:Yeah and especially when you speak about translation as a medium or form of transmission – but you could also say through translation, through de-construction, re-construction and interpretation, you make a new work entirely out of an old one.

JC:Yes, you do, as long as you’re prepared to think that way about the work… well, you can argue anything is a new work entirely, so if you print a book on new paper, it can be a new work entirely, but I guess you mean in more substantial terms?

AB: Ah… yeah… definitely in a more substantial way.

JC:Well yes, potentially you do. I mean particularly because if you think about the Translating Don Quijote piece, it’s a piece that the second time I did it, I recorded the whole thing, the first time I didn’t… but I have the whole recording, it’s something like 150 to 200 hours.

AB:That is a lot!

JC: But of course anyone witnessing it would have only saw 10 minutes to a half hour at most, so in a sense yes, it’s always a different type of work for the people looking at it. There’s of course a similar tone, but they would have experienced a different moment in it, and I’m quite interested in that.

AB:With a durational aspect?

JC:Yes the durational aspect and the shift, in the sense that we assume a certain type of stability in artworks. For example, video works are designed to be looped, so that they are consistent, but actually very often the experience you receive is quite variable.

AB: Yeah that’s true… Well in terms of presentation, ‘cause I remember reading from the Tokyo Tech Chronicles, that you originally conceived this type of work to be performative and to be spoken between you and the audience – so how did this form of presentation come about?

JC:I don’t quite know how it came about; I mean I know when I did Translating Don Quijote I had a very good job working in the evenings, and so it was possible for me to do it, and I’ve never done anything performative before – maybe it was due to the intimacy I was describing earlier around translating things for people, and maybe it has a lot to do with the kind of frustration around a very formal approach.

AB:Ok, really…

JC: So I think those things certainly influenced me wanting to do something more performative and direct. But the second time I did Translating Don Quijote, the performance was different in the sense that the audience would walk into the gallery that was empty, and there was this little window at the back and a speaker, and so the speaker was relaying what was happening in the backroom, which was me translating Don Quijote, and when you looked through the glass, you could see me doing the translation. So it was a very different structure. Where as in the Cervantes Institute it was rawer really, in the sense that I was sitting in the basement and you’d walk in through reception and then you’d walk in to someone reading. So they were different presentations and the thing about those two performances was that they were for long duration, with people coming in and witnessing someone doing something, so in a sense I as a performer became an automaton. I’ve done another couple of translation performances, where I translated a shorter text and the performance became more like a lecture.

AB:That is interesting…

JC:Yes… So it would have been a half hour, to 40 minute duration, start to finish. So they are quite different…

AB:Yes, because I was going to ask about more recently you’ve been experimenting with different forms of presenting your work, because if I remember right – you did two different translations of Baroja’s written works; one took the form of a sculpture, whereas the other took the form of video…

JC:Well the sculpture came about because I did the translation of Miguel de Unomuno’s book Niebla, and that was… I did that thinking, I’m trying to claim translation as a kind of art form, so what happens if the closest thing I can manage to a straight translation is a book. So I did that translation in that vein, but in a way I realised that there were a few things that were frustrating about that. The simplest thing I can point to is working with a publisher, and having to proof read things, choose a font and correct them, so in a sense all that trail of mistakes that had been really one of the features of previous translations, were kind of eradicated from it. There is a different kind of trail left, but it was a trail you mentioned of clumsiness and of language, though slightly different…

AB: So you put that down more to the editorial process?

JC:Yeah… And so with the typewriter piece, I thought one way to address that was by using a typewriter and type the translation and it’ll retain its mistakes, but also I realised something about temporality. So with that piece, the way I did it and turned it into a sculpture was, I typed the translation, and every sheet I put down, I put the next sheet on top of it, on top of it, on top of it, without ever really the view to re-read it. I also realised there was a point I decided to stop, because I had become bored, so realised that I had to decide whether I’d carry on regardless, and I realised it was just better to stop, and acknowledge that I was bored… So it just stops and you see the last 6 or 7 lines – which isn’t even the end of the story, it’s just the point which it stopped.

AB:Ok…

JC:So I made that, and alongside that I set about trying to make another translation work… but this is again… But other people are quite important in all of this. Quite often, a lot of the work I’ve done has been motivated or encouraged or been in dialogue with people, curators mainly.

AB: Oh really? That is very interesting…

JC:Yeah I’ve often had a very good, interesting relationship with curators. So this, the one in Moorgate, Matthew de Pulford was curator then, he took me back to translation works and was interested in how they were staged, so we decided to make a video of a kind of simultaneous translation work. So I got in touch with a former student of mine Naama Yuria, and she came along, just to document it, but it became more than that, and in a sense she started making a film really, of me making a translation work, and the whole performance thing disintegrated really – and became a different kind of performance. So this notion of performance being me, talking to an audience, and me kind of doing a duration thing for a period of time, kind of just unravelled.

Figure 1: Cruz, J. (2009). Translating: Chapter Two [Video Installation, Sculptural text work]. Crate, Margate. Commissioned for Bad Translations, Curated by Matthew de Pullford http://www.cratespace.co.uk/

Figure 1: Cruz, J. (2009). Translating: Chapter Two [Video Installation, Sculptural text work]. Crate, Margate. Commissioned for Bad Translations, Curated by Matthew de Pullford http://www.cratespace.co.uk/

AB:Oh right…

JC:So those two works in a sense, to some extent, marked the end, I suppose, for me, for the idea of making those kind of procedural works in this way. And I wrote a text at the time, as well, for a book commissioned by Sharon Kivland, that was around analysis and translation, and again that text was a fairly self-critical text around the… kind of around the perceived imitation within the process of performance. I am very interested in Acconci, and how Vito Acconci stopped making works that he considered to be artworks. To a certain point, I mean I haven’t done that, but I’m interested in his reasoning really. I also made some videos around that time that dealt with language, but weren’t really involved with translation – but that did borrow some of the temporal qualities of that.

AB:And would you say, this marked a shift in your practice or in interests, or…?

JC:To be honest I think my practice is marked almost always by shifts, all the time.

AB:So it has a more organic fluidity to it.

JC:Yeah, yeah… and partly to do with… I don’t know if it’s a good thing or bad thing, but yes. But looking back, things are much more consistent then they feel when you’re in the midst of work.

AB:Yeah well I guess in the spur of the moment you can’t help it.

JC:Yes, exactly…

AB:Ok, well going back to Niebla, I wanted to understand more about the process that you undertook during that commission, because that’s actually an interesting case. It’s part of a series, which could be considered an exhibition without a space. For Newcastle, wasn’t it?

JC:Yeah, it was a weird project that started out as a public art commission for Newcastle, Gateshead, and we started working on it…

AB:Am I mistaken to say around 08’?

JC:I feel it was a bit earlier, 06’… 05’. Well anyways it all started about 01’ – 02’.

AB:Oh really, then it was quite a long process?

JC:Yeah, yeah but initially it was something quite different. We started working with Simon Morrissey, and he brought together a group of artists to work with Forma, which is a commissioning agency in Newcastle for public art commissions. This was the time when Newcastle, Gateshead still thought they’d become the European City of Culture.

AB: Oh yes, I remember that, that’s right…

JC: And when it became clear that that wasn’t going to happen, the project kind of went dormant and we’d all put forward a number of proposals for public art, and it drifted, and many of the artists drifted away – but I was friends with Simon and there was a bit of funding leftover, and there was still this idea to do something, and we were in a funny position of talking about what the public commission might be, but in a sense all this pressure to make a public commission disappeared when the game changed a bit. So I put it to Simon what would be the antithesis of a public commission? And I thought what about making a book, and that’s kinda how it came about. As well, Michael Dean did, Mountains and Triangles, and I taught Michael at Goldsmiths, and I knew his work quite well – so that was quite interesting.

AB:And well can Niebla be, if I’m not mistaken, one of your first artist books?

JC:Yeah… well I’m just thinking if it’s the only artist book I did.

(Both chuckle

JC:I can’t seem to think of any others… I did some… I never really felt I made artist books, I’ve always felt as an artist, I was fairly kinda able to use any form I wanted really.

AB:Oh, ok…

JC:But I did some books before in, I suppose, in about 98’ – 99’ I wrote a number of plays, or sort of short plays, that were presented as a kind of homemade books really – very simple kinds of texts, and I did some other written pieces, again for Simon Morrissey, called Two Cameras, which was a collection of short stories and short plays, and things like that. So I was trying to experiment with showing those types of things within the gallery space. But they were sort of books, more text scripts really.

AB:Yeah, cause I found that quite intriguing, the book Niebla, it felt quite ambiguous; was it a book, was it a piece of art – and I felt that’s what made it quite interesting.

JC:Well for the show at Matt’s Gallery in 2001 called ‘Portrait of a Sculptor’, I produced a pamphlet with a story that was read alongside the exhibition and the exhibition was really nothing without the story. So there was that kind of dialogue going on over there. I think I am quite interested in the idea, I mean I make quite a lot of works which I describe as being work that kind of disguises themselves in the context. For the Edinburgh festival, a few years ago, I made some works which were these texts that were transmitted by Bluetooth, or I made a work in a disused airport in Cork a few years ago, using airport signage.

AB:Oh, right I remember seeing a picture of it.

JC:Yes, it was just one word, Perdendasi. In Australia I made a work using planning applications, so the idea of art works and them camouflaging themselves has been something I’m quite interested in.

AB:So then for you it’s the actual process, or journey towards the finished product – that is what’s most important to you. Is that what you would say?

JC:I don’t know… I’m hesitant to say yes, because it suggest there is a kind of iterative kind of process in relation to the work’s permutation. Actually that’s not always the case, sometimes work appears instantly. I think more, to the point, or more accurate is I’m a little bit anxious about deciding on a form for the work.

AB:Ok…

JC:I hate… I mean, I love design, but I hate the idea of “designing” in relation to a piece of work.

AB:Ok, So why is that, because you don’t want to restrict yourself and allow the work to evolve into something on its own?

JC:Yeah, I suppose it’s… I mean it’s a problem I had with these texts and a problem I had with the book, as well, was that at a certain point we need to think about the font, the particular type of printing, and a particular type of manifestation. I always find I really don’t know what decision I’d make about that. I don’t know what terms, or why, I would make a decision, one way or another, to do that. So in a sense, if I can kinda borrow existing kinds of visuals, really, I am always keener to do that then invent my own. I mean, I have been making things recently, and they’re quite unusual works for me, some prints, and some objects, and I’m quite interested in those, but they have a very kind of intrinsic form, so they are very much about the materials, and I suppose if I’m going to make something, because of my training, the making needs to be really part of the work. If making is a solution to something, I feel very uncomfortable about it.

AB: Yeah, it feels very detached.

JC:Yes, but this is kind of the residue of the kind of modernist education…

AB:Ok! Really?

JC:Yes, to some extent, but also partly… Recently the things I’ve been making, its partly been to do with profession and being busy with teaching kind of jobs, and academic kind of jobs – and in a sense, when I make things, I make them in my own time, and they…

AB:…can take their time to develop?

JC:Yeah.

AB:Actually with you bringing up education, this brings me to the workshop you did in Japan, if I am not mistaken, which looked like a curious experience. I do know that you focus a lot of your energy towards education, but at the same time when I was reading about this workshop, from your description in the Tokyo Tech Chronicles, it sound like the workshop almost became like a performative experiment in interpretation.

JC:Yeah, I got some video of that that I never really did anything with – I was meant to do something with them, because there was… (Chuckles) I’d been to Japan and China a few times since then, quite recently. It has always struck me when I have been doing a lecture and you speak and stop, then the translator speaks, it is an awful way to try and address an audience, because you get no feedback. But you know that’s just the way it is, but those workshops were really fascinating. One, because it was working with people with no background in art education at school, it was just an elective that were doing. Quite extraordinary and inventive, but it was a one off, if we’d had carried on it might be slightly different, but pedagogically what I found interesting about it was how quickly you could do things. Not always, but often I get a bit frustrated in arts, where you have a tutorial with a student, and you go back and they’re still doing the same thing. So when I was at Liverpool we did a number of workshops, which were really about duration – because it seems to me in teaching fine art… it’s pretty antithetical to introduce a kind of theme or kind of project because that seems to undercut some notion of self-authorisation, which is so significant for the subject. However temporality is something we can, or one can work with, so in a certain sense, part of the object in many workshops I’ve done recently has been, ok we’re going to come empty handed, but in three hours, collectively we’re going to make a piece of work. So what’s it going to be about, what materials are we going to use, how’re we going to do it… and it’s quite fantastic actually what is possible to do in that time with a group of people.

AB:I can imagine, with everything being spur of the moment…

JC:Spur of the moment, and also the thing I’ve found, and some students I’ve worked with found, invigorating about it, is the idea that there are certain techniques and thing we agree upon. For example, we don’t ask why and we don’t expect any justification for an idea or a process in relation to any kind of history, or any kind of interest, or anything that proceeds from the moment we start. So that kind of shifts things in a way… of course things like peoples experience come into it.

AB:Of course, of course…

JC:We did one in Leeds, with some students recently, and in 3 hours we did two projects… one which didn’t work, which involved all of us peeling oranges in different ways…

(Both chuckle)

JC:and that went nowhere, but it was a good icebreaker in a way, which led to the next project which was done in the same 3… no it was actually 4 hours we had. One of the students had identified that all the lights in the lecture theatre were different colour strips, and so we managed to get the technicians to… this was quite a forceful processing decision…

(Both chuckle)

JB:We managed in the end to get them to put scaffolding up, and change all the lights so they were all the same colour…

AB:Oh wow, really?

JC:Yes, and then we developed a text as a screen saver for the projector in the lecture space, which explained all the process that happened. Writing the text collectively was very interesting actually, because we had to think about how we talked about the process, how we talked about the technicians, how we talked about ourselves. So, I think that the students both kind of understood what could be a piece of work, how quickly something ambitious could be enacted, how and what kinds of language are used to articulate what had happened, it was really good.

AB:Yeah and I can see it being incorporated in many different aspects, that is taught within the arts – the process, the performative aspect, even documentation… and is this something you plan to continue with RCA?

JC:Yeah I hope so. It’s often really helpful to someone, it may be a curator, to try and shift things a bit by saying, “why not try this, or that.” So in a way – how to introduce that into the academic structure, because sometimes students or the way we teach art, sometimes, tends to be very unlike the way art is really produced – they get their studio and work on their own thing, they’re not responding to the particular kinds of demands, you know there is very little pressure on students to collaborate. So I do think it’s quite useful to introduce elements, and I wouldn’t call them professional practice – one could argue quite a lot about what that was – but it might be around different forms of training really and doing things much more quickly and sometimes more collaboratively. Not to say a practice has to be that, but there’s a kind of sense in which the practice can stretch to accommodate a different way of working – as training is helpful.

AB: Yes, I completely agree. From just walking around my own university facilities, you see quite a lot of individual works rather than a more active interaction… Which brings me to the point you made about curators being helpful, at least in your process – so could you tell me a little bit more about your relationship with curators?

JC:Well they were different; I mean there are different kinds of curators. Robin Klassnik I’ve worked with for many years. I’ve done some shows with him; he is very particular and has an insightful way of responding on a kind of ongoing bases. Another one who’s interesting is Juliana Engberg, who is an Australian curator. She is currently curating the Sydney Biennale, but I worked with her many years ago to make an exhibition in Melbourne for the Melbourne festival, and then recently for the Edinburgh festival – and in a sense she kinda gets works out of me, which I really don’t do with other people, so there is a kind of understanding about a particular work, in Juliana’s case, it’s a kind of work that is text based – which is kind of formless in a sense, and she knows she likes to deploy them in relation to biennale exhibitions. That’s been positive. Matthew [de Pulford] is a very, very young curator, who asked certain questions that really get under the nub of something, quite deep for me, so I’ve really learnt from that. For me, many times, it’s like the experience of being taught by someone…

AB:Really?

JC:Yeah! In a sense its getting marks in school, and getting comments about the work and kind of thinking, “yeah… ok…”, and it’s not often what they mean to say, but what is it you may take away from it. Yeah I’ve found some very… positive relationships. I mean other times I’ve been in other shows where I had no relationship with the curator, and that’s been kind of… nothing really…

AB:Well, I guess what is interesting is really the good ones became a collaborator, where you both feed off each other, that’s quite nice. I mean, ‘cause I do find it quite hard out there, ‘cause there seems to be a little hatred towards the curatorial field from young artists…

JC:Yeah, I think it’s because of a kind of fear of collaboration, so the fear of the work being changed and becoming something else through that, which it inevitably will. I suppose it’s becomes a mind-set, and if one can introduce a new mind-set, where it recognises change as positive and being kind of a good thing and something that can enhance the work, but I can imagine there’s this sort of fear about it.

AB:Well I’m certainly still trying to get my head around the issue as well, and it’s becoming more difficult with the rise of the curator courses, I know RCA has one, Goldsmiths of course, so it’s really interesting to see what type of people these institutions are producing…

JC:I think it’s about finding the right artist to work with and the right people.

AB:Yes, I suppose you’re right…

JC:And you can’t get on with everyone. There are some people that meet and they instantly will click… I don’t know. I have never curated in my life. (Begins to laugh)

AB:Aw, so you’ve never taken the plunge and step over the divide?

JC:No! …Well I tried, I mean I’ve hung a show of paintings in China recently – but I didn’t curate it. No I don’t think I could really… Whenever I’ve thought about it before… it’s too awkward really.

AB:Really?! (Begins to laugh)

JC:Yes, especially when trying to think of my own work in relation to that…

AB:I can understand that… well I see you are being called away, so let me let you go – but I wanted to say thank you again for the opportunity to have this chat with you.

JC:No, it’s been a pleasure thank you.

Alejandro Ball

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