My job is not to remember, nor freeze time, not even retain something.
Everything moves. Oblivion contains memory, time never stops, and retaining something is the same as losing it. You only keep what you leave out of balance, which lets you ride. What, you don´t choose. It chooses you.
My job is not to remember, but to build a memory: the memory of what I didn't lose.
Born in La Mancha, Spain, the place where Don Quixote began his fierce search for absolute truth with his vision and ideals, Juanan Requena experiences an initiatic journey of discovery which began with a road trip in the desert. An ordinary book full of photos and poems found at a supermarket was his map and lightbox. Juanan shared the road with the camera, this way emerging his experiences out of his perception and into the birth of the images carrying with them a memory and a story to tell.
His work is the central element of the creative process; each moment passes but also survives, and builds the whole, his pieces are built day by day, minute by minute, summing up experiences and emotions that have their own life and follow their own course.
His exhibition „Among Fugue & Return” has won the 2014 visual arts competition organized for young visual artists by the Spanish Department of Culture. This is an open exhibition project where over one hundred framed photographic original handcrafted pieces make up an universal constellation which deals with multiple and different travel concepts.
Juanan Requena’s piece of art was a map of black and white photographs, light boxes and words covering every inch of a room now transformed into a darkroom, the photographer’s well-known space made completely dark to allow the processing of light sensitive photographic materials. The smell of paint and wood escorts walls that speak of cities – doors – books – sea – friends – inner light - shadows – duality – silence – inner dialogues - questions without answers – answers with no questions attached, narrating a life and and constantly creating memories. Juanan’s creation seems to tell the story of an escape but in reality it is a departure to get even closer to the center. The living diary has its own scent, form, light, limitations and its own place among the limitless constellation of memories. Images are linked by words, which do not define them as a title but accompany them, shading a raw light over what the artist has lived – the same way Kerouac’s words became captions to the drawings in his masterpiece „On the road”. The raw light takes the shape of bulbs of light irradiating over the handwritten messages, trying to decipher the artist’s secret, to decode a deeply rooted message or translate a silence bursting with sounds and filmstrips.
The moment between the escape and the return seems to be the space that marks a desire and its resignation at the same time. Yet, the memory always keeps the travel inside, unborn. A perpetual Don Quixote of his times, his world casts images from a darkroom whose very clarity is a distortion of the commonly accepted light.
There are two images: the latent image, which is in the camera, inside of the camera, and the „beating” image which sneaks up on you. The beating image is one that talks about patience and about starting a personal adventure.
In trying to penetrate Juanan’s lightbox and grasp his inner filaments, I seized a strong fuse of energy bursting from his creative cobweb:
Where do you feel that this personal adventure will finally take you, from an inner rediscovery point of view ?
If I try to watch inside myself (a day-by-day work) I see a non-stop heart, beating stronger, reaching to where it has never been. I think that what I do will continue messing around itself, and all the creative process will collapse in some kind of a room full of lights. As Fernando Pessoa once said, if you want to live and feel new things, you should change your soul. How? That´s the question. I know I will try all my best, but as far as I can see, I see myself making art still from the heart and its feelings, but also making it slower, trying to by smiling at the studio, enjoying all the process, no matter if there´s a call, a prize or no money. Just making it, like a kamikaze, and deeply loving it like all this years.
Could you please give us more details about your future plans and project ideas we should look forward to ?
Well, I´ve always thought that the future is painted in white. I mean: we never know. But I can say some things I´m preparing for the first months of the next year. Firstly, the 3rd ACT of my exhibition project "Among fugue & return" which will be showing in a new Space at Málaga, Spain. Next to that, the exhibition will be held at MADRID for its 4th ACT, which would be the final ACT, and it will be possible through a "crowdfunding" campaign that I´m preparing to launch on January 2015. I will try to do it by myself, with the help of the people that love what I create. The idea is to make the rewards selling all the "pieces" of the exhibition one-by-one, and also giving the chance to get the author to travel to their houses in order to make a personal installation of the pieces.
More things are some new workshops (About the creative process & about making personal diaries) and some new Artist books I have being working this year and a new idea that I´m preparing with my best friend, who is a musician, something about making a tour with his songs and my works mixed together. I´m also preparing a new series of "handbooks" (I call them like that because they are the size of the hands and they are made with them) that I will present next year. The idea is to make about 50 books one by one, at home, and share them as unique objects.
Finally, I´m preparing the exhibition I did inside a 14th century church (Titled: "tomorrow WAS here") to make it again in 2015: that really excites me, because not just that incredible space, also because that isn´t a normal exhibition: it moves people, believe me: The first time I did it nearly all the people where standing there with no words to say or simply crying. It was the strongest thing I felt during my years as an artist. But... yes, all of these ideas and projects are always changing, like the future. I truly believe in the "uncertain" as the most sure thing I could ever have.
This is Juanan Requena’s pulsatile art space, a beating heart pumping soul into the fatigueless and chameleonic creative act.