one to watch
The art of staying present with Ana Dévora
Ana Devora is a Madrid-based artist and holds a BA in Fine Arts from Complutense University of Madrid. Ana is an established visual artist who has worked in cinematography, photography and painting. Underlying her art paintings is a fascination with what the human eye does not normally see – what is hidden in a person’s psyche. She has exhibited her work internationally, including at the White Box in New York, the Neomudejar Museum in Madrid and La Casa Encendida in Madrid.
Tell us who you are and what you do. what is your background
I’m a multidisciplinary artist based in Madrid, Spain. I use a variety of mediums and techniques such as painting, sculpture, video and photography to fit the storytelling of each project. I create the specific artwork and later connect everything into site-specific installations, although each individual piece also works on its own. I remember drawing and painting as a kid while watching cartoons on TV. I have a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from UCM Madrid; During my studies I started working as an artistic assistant to Marinella Senatore. After a few years abroad in New York, I began a master’s degree in cinematography at the Shotaccademy in Rome and a postgraduate degree at the Global Cinematography Institute in LA. On some films and short films I worked as a cinematographer, cinematographer, editor and production designer.
But something in me knew it was time to continue my artistic projects, so I undertook art residencies and projects in Brazil, Peru, Italy and Argentina. My work has been exhibited at Museum La Neomudejar, Madrid, Conde Duque Madrid, Cerquone Gallery, White Box NY, La Casa Encendida Madrid, LACDA Los Angeles, LIFE FRAMER and Officine Fotografiche Rome.
What do you want your work to say? What are the main themes you pursue in your work? Can you provide an example of work that demonstrates this?
I use imagery from the digital world to create visual metaphors and tell stories that explore human experience and our relationship to nature and technology. My art projects are about how we receive and process information through our brains – how we create habits and inspire motivation in a time oversaturated with screens, data, messages and images.
How do you hope viewers will react to your work? What do you want them to feel?
My goal as an artist is to invite the viewer, through the free interpretation of my works, to look further to provoke questions that could allow the viewer to break free from the various entrenched beliefs that limit us.
To achieve this I use different media and techniques such as painting, sculpture, video, photography, sound and 3D to later create experiences through immersive installations in which the individual works, their entire ensemble and the space itself are involved with the communicate to the public. The glitch effect, microchips and noisy vertical panels are all part of my creative imagination.
How do you comment on current social and political issues with your work?
My work is set in the present moment, a time of over-saturation with seemingly accurate information, amplified by the social media and television commercials vying for our attention, generating unrealistic desires and aspirations, and encouraging competition and comparison with others rather than personal and personal information emotional growth that promotes self-development and improves connection with others. In short, the world around us shapes our reality and our thoughts, and even subconsciously creates our personality and desires. In this case, political positions are irrelevant; Information arrives biased in the same way as our phones, depending on our tastes.
Can you explain to us the process of creating a work from start to finish?
My ideas arise from my paintings, typically in dreams. Then I start with a sketch in Photoshop where I design it proportionally to the canvas and use it as a reference. Once I have the image clear in my mind, I start applying layers of paint to the canvas. My process is divided into multiple layers of acrylic painting – each canvas could have 4 to 8 layers. I use masking tape to cover up the parts I like in each layer and after all these operations I peel off all the masking tape to reveal the final image. Some paintings are abstract, simulating chips or panels, others have figurative images distorted by glitch effects.
Even when I create each canvas individually, I always think about how I’m going to present them all in the room – what lights and colors would make for the most immersive experience for the viewer.
Who are your biggest influences and why?
My biggest influences are life experiences and the world that surrounds me. That means it can be a journey, a sunset, a conversation or a specific situation that inspires me to create. I like the films of David Lynch and Emir Kusturica and I like the artists Olafur Eliasson, Zóbel, Pollock, Tacita Dean and Paul McCarthy. An influence could even be a random video clip or a commercial… I love a well-lit environment in movies, bars or museums. Materiality and light are very important to me.
What are some of your most memorable experiences as an artist?
One of the most beautiful moments as an artist is when you stand alone in front of the work and feel completely finished and satisfied with how it is. Other memorable moments come when I’m curating for an installation how the artworks are presented in space. I place the special lights to illuminate all the pieces together and I can watch the conversation between them and around the room. This moment is so special that I can feel it in my bones. This means that the project is finally open to the public.
What was the best advice you received as an artist?
The best advice I’m given is not to compare myself to others; Compare me to my previous version of myself and watch personal and professional growth from there as each of us has our own time.
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