Cristina de Miguel (1987, Seville, Spain) lives in Brooklyn, New York. She has a degree in Fine Arts from the University of Seville (Spain, 2010) and a Master's in Fine Arts from the Pratt Institute in New York (2012). His approach to painting is emotional , thinking in formal terms but balancing it with an attitude of "letting go." De Miguel insists on the materiality of the painting, fragmenting the figure, so that this is not the central point of the painting but the act of painting itself.
The iconography of his work alludes to action, speed and the possibilities of bodies that melt physically, in the same way that paint drips and melts as well . De Miguel's diversity of interests and influences is both eclectic and unexpected; he is inspired equally by Baroque painting and the banalities of everyday life and intimacy.
Her recent solo exhibitions include "Paintings of Through and Fell", Allouche Benias Gallery, (Athens, 2021); "Life in its Poetic Form", Fredericks & Freiser Gallery, (New York, 2020). Her group exhibitions include Van de Weghe Gallery, East Hampton, New York (2021); Sim Smith Gallery, London (2020); Fredericks & Freiser, New York (2020); Herrero de Tejada, Madrid (2019).
AD: We are powerfully struck by the fact that you always say that Athens changed your life and the way you paint. What was this metamorphosis (Greek word where they exist) consisted of?
Cristina de Miguel:I went to Athens to live for a year thanks to an Erasmus grant. I did not know any Greek when I arrived and that reminded me of being blind, not knowing where to go, not knowing the meaning of what the posters said emptied words of meaning and became for me simple pure forms. That made me feel more alone inside, but not alone from loneliness of relationships, but a cultural loneliness. I hardly had to go to class, because they were in Greek, so they gave us some studies and there I went every day to paint, without having to give an account to anyone. I felt very free. The juxtaposition of opposites inspired me greatly: the chaos, the dirt of the street and the walls destroyed with anarchist posters and graffiti, along with the majestic ruins of a bygone era of glory. I started to make paintings with very watery backgrounds,
AD: It seems that neo-expressionism, minimalism, the fluxus movement, postmodern art, conceptualism and even arte povera are somehow fixed in the DNA of your work. Could you tell us how all this is “cooked” in your works?
CdM: I have always been very attracted to painting that speaks of the emotional, a painting that is to be experienced from the emotions. It fills me with life to witness the paintings of Twombly, Schnabel etc. because they are about having an experience, feelings that connect with memories of the past, the desire to paint. But they don't make me think and intellectualize. I don't like to think. I also really like when they present absurd aspects, which I don't know what they are, but it is that you don't need to know or understand everything. That mystery, sometimes with humor, as for example in Garcia-Sevilla's paintings, is one of my favorite things.
AD: What is more important in your work, emotionality, technique, your cultural accumulations or, perhaps, all of it?
CdM: I believe that technique and emotionality merge into one single aspect. What interests me is making paintings leaving aside so many value judgments and giving way to the intuition and the strength of my body, executing each gesture with full confidence, to be the protagonists. Accepting myself as I am as a painter helped me a lot, instead of trying to be like the nebulous idea of the painter that I would like to be.
AD: You use neo-expressionism "as a typically masculine style to reconstruct it from a feminine perspective." Is there a militant feminism or a denunciation of secular woman-man inequality?
CdM: I don't consider these issues when painting. Rather I plan the paintings from a formal point of view. But I let the ideas flow and if images of women trampling on male figures or throwing up in their faces come to mind, then it will be for something, things of the subconscious. But I don't stop and say 'oh, I want to make some paintings that have a claiming charge, a feminist message'. Simply, these ideas of images come to me like that without trying, they seem appropriate and then I execute them.
AD: Among other sources, you draw inspiration from literature. What kind of literature do you read, what authors interest you and why?
CdM: I really like the work of Roberto Bolaño and Julio Cortázar, and a few years ago I used to take scenes from their novels and plan compositions with them, but I stopped doing it because I got bored. It seemed to me that it gave rise to a result very distant from my being. Those paintings that did not come from my own experience in life, they seemed alien and meaningless to me.
AD: Have you ever stated that “paintings have the right to be what the painter wants them to be”. Don't you think that right vanishes when whoever looks at them or buys them sees what they want to see?
CdM: Of course. I said that when I was still very young and now it seems silly to have said that. I think I was tired of having to explain my paintings to teachers during my master's degree at Pratt. In that program I did some very large paintings, quite absurd. I think he did it as a response to the obligation of having to intellectualize everything in front of the class. However, I am quite proud of those paintings and still have them.
AD: The world of art that buys would be divided between the "pure" collector who does it for his own pleasure; and in those who speculate with art as if it were Wall Street. Are you aware that your work is beginning to be bought under that last "nose"?
CdM: Yes, that is a reality that is happening in the world. But that's why I work with galleries that I trust and that have a list of trusted collectors who aren't supposed to do that. But in the end we can't control everything and my job is to be painting in the studio.
AD: Do you think Brooklyn, as the epicenter of so many cultural trends, “loves” you?
CdM: Well, I don't know. Here there is very good coexistence between the artists, each one does different things and there is an atmosphere of camaraderie in general.
AD: Do you think that in the spaces where we live, decoration by itself is meaningless without the cultural touch that books, painting or sculpture give it; or do you opt for extreme minimalism?
CdM: I believe that everyone should live with good art in their home. Living with art makes the experience of space much deeper. What a sad life without him!