Xavier González Arnau: I’m A Nomad By Cause

Sometimes we go to the ‘end of the world’ to meet some people that we find interesting for one reason or another. And sometimes we bump into them by accident on the street of our hometown. This was the case with Xavier, an artist  from Barcelona whom I met last summer in Pula where he was exhibiting in the Makina Gallery. Since he was coming from my other ‘hometown’ – Barcelona, the communication with Xavier was inevitable… So we spoke about his work, about the reason he came to Pula and stayed, about people and customs, about his future plans and some other things as well. We started our conversation on a sunny summer afternoon on the Roman square Forum in Pula and we ended it several months later just before Xavier left Pula to discover some new worlds in his nomad search for the truth.

MF: Pula was the city where James Joyce found his „home“ for a short time. You remind me of James Joyce’s Ulyssess with his endless wandering around and searching for purpose of life.  Why did you choose Pula for your artistic residence? Have you found inspiration for your creative work?

No sabia casi nada de Pula antes de llegar, excepto que tenia mar, sol y mucha naturaleza. La galeria Makina me ofrecio exponer en Junio de 2013… Llevaba cuatro años residiendo en Berlin, sentia la necesidad de reencontrarme con el mar, el sol y la naturaleza. Antes de poner un pie en Pula ya habia decidido residir en ella por un año indistintamente de lo que pudiera ofrecerme la ciudad ademas de lo previsto. El año ya ha pasado, y ahora son otras las necesidades, debo irme cuanto antes.

I didn’t know almost anything about Pula before I came here, except that it had the sea, the sun and lots of nature. The Makina Gallery gave me the opportunity to exhibit in June 2013 (the exhibition was called ‘Or Speak The Name’), and later in April 2014 (‘Eyes Wide Open’).  Before that I lived 4 years n Berlin and I felt the need to reencounter myself with sea, sun and nature. Before I stepped into Pula I had decided to remain in the city for one year no matter what I would find here. The year has passed by and now I have different needs, I have to leave as soon as possible.

Podria decirse que soy nomada por condicion, cualquier circumstancia puede resultarme oportuna para desarrollar. El mundo, sus gentes, sus culturas, sus misterios… Son una fuente inagotable en cualquiera de sus manifestaciones. Al mismo tiempo la sensacion de que todo me es ajeno me mantiene encendido en lo espiritual. En otras palabras: No me mueven las espectativas en cuanto a lo artistico se refire, sino no lo vivo, con la esperanza de formar parte de ello antes de partir definitivamente.

One can say that I’m a nomad by cause and whatever the circumstance, made it the most comfortable for my development. The world, its people, its cultures and mysteries…  They are an inexhaustible source in each of its manifestations. At the same time the sensation that everything is strange a wonder to me  keeps my spiritual side alive. In other words: I’m not moved by the expectation when speaking about the art, but I live it with hope to be part of it before I definitely leave.

MF: Salvador Dali, Joan Miro, Gaudi… They are only some of the great artists important for the culture of Catalunya. Do you have the impression that this great artists somehow had some influence on your work or perhaps the fact that you were born in that area has something to do with your vocation?

Se dice que si una gata pare dentro de un horno no pare panes. No creo en ningun a patria.  Si en la influencia del territorio en el que me he criado, por sus tradiciones sobretodo, y logicamnte por el clima tambien.  En cuanto a lo cultural (artisticamente), no se, escucho a Bach, leo a Levinas, bailo a Chris Liebing, duermo frente a una reproduccion de las espigadoras de Millet, o me voy a pasaer por el parc Guell… Todos los artistas me influencian. Dali, Miro, o Gaudi, si, me animan mucho; tambien.

I don’t believe in native country. But I do believe in influence of the territory that raised me; above all, because of its tradition, and logically because of the climate. Speaking about the cultural influence (artistic), well, I listen to Bach, I read Levinas, dance to Chris Liebing, I dream in front of one  Millet reproduction or I go for a walk in Guell park. All the artists influence me. Dali, Miro or Gaudi, yes I like them a lot as well.

MF: Cadaques is very important for you… What is actually the main reason  you like this village important in the life od Salvador Dali?

Cadaques… Uf… Es una larga historia. El primer cuadro que pinte al oleo, tenia seis años, era una version de otra pintura con motivo del pueblo de Cadaques que mis padres tenian colgada en el salon de casa (y no era de Dali). Pasaron los años, arrebatandome todo lo que yo amaba en aquel salon, sencillamente un dia, a los 25 años, decidi irme a vivir el cuadro… Cadaques… Decia Paul Valery que el recuerdo de un refugio es un buen refugio.

Cadaques… Uf… It’s a long story. The first oil painting I made, I was six then, it was one version of another painting that my parents hold in our house  living room  (and it wasn’t Dali’s). The years passed by; snatching everything that I loved in that living room suddenly one day when I was 25, I decided to go to live that painting. Cadaques… Paul Valery said that a memory of a retreat was a good retreat.

MF: You know I’m in love with the Spanish and Catalan culture… How can you describe in few words the differences and similarities – between the two?

Similitud: Comer y beber hasta que el cuerpo aguante. Diferencia: Llevo como media hora pensando en una diferencia y soy incapaz de hallarla con facilidad… Supoingo que no tiene sentido forzar una respuesta.

Similarities: Eat and drink to the point the body can resist. Differences: It’s been half an hour and I cannot find an answer easily. I think that there is no point in forcing one.

MF: As you know this blog is dedicated to fashion and design. How would you describe your style? Do you have any idols? Your style is very simple. You mostly wear black. What is exactly you want to communicate to the others with your style?

Mi estilo es… Hacer de lo sencillo algo arrogante. Una protesta. Mi ideal podria ser el de Gandhi: Ninguna tela que haya causado sufrimiento humano puede ser considerada bella. Pero todavia no lo cumplo integramente. Procuro comprar todo mi calzado y abrigo de seguna mano, lo proximo que tengo en mente es aprender a tejer para confeccionarme el resto de la vestimenta por mi mismo. Supongo que lo que intento con mi forma de vestir es expresar la inmensa desafeccion que siento por todo lo artificioso. Abomino lo material… Por otro lado amo tanto a los colores que no me siento digno para cubrirme con ninguno de ellos. Hace años prove vestirme con ropa de color y al llegar al taller no podia pintar.

My style is… To turn something simple into something arrogant, a protest. My idol could be Gandhi: any fabric that has caused human suffering can’t be considered beautiful. But still I don’t fulfill it completely. I intend to buy my shoes and coat from second hand, the next thing I have on my mind is to learn to weave to be able to make  the rest of the clothes on my own.  I imagine that what I try to show with my way of dressing is the immense disaffection I feel towards everything that is artificial. I abhor everything materialistic… On the other hand I love so much the colors that I don’t feel myself worthy to wear colors and cover myself with them. Several years ago I tried to dress colored clothes and when I would arrive to the studio I couldn’t  paint

MF: To find the inspiration Balzac drank as many as 50 cups of coffee a day.  What is your secret about the ways of finding inspiration?

Me inspira la inspiracion. Quiero decir que el hecho de que uno pueda aspirar a quedar inspirado me resulta de lo mas inspirador.

I’m inspired by the inspiration. I want to say that the fact that one can inspire or remain inspired it is the most inspiring thing to me.

MF: The purpose of this section called ‘from the ‘neighborhood’ is to speak about the place we live by so let’s finish this conversation where we started – Pula. What did you find in Pula? What did Pula found in you?

En Pula he encontrado una sociedad muy hospitalaria, entusiasta y creativa. Muy celosa de sus costumbres y alegre en sus celebraciones. Un monton de buenas personas, con el don de la personalidad, a las que me siento positivamente atado, por lo amistoso y experienciado a lo largo de este año que nunca olbidare. Pula y Premantura son parte de mi, y me gusta pensar que tal vez yo tambien formo parte de ellas.

What I found in Pula is a very enthusiastic, creative and hospitable society. Very proud of its tradition and joyful when celebrating it. A lots of good people, to whom I feel positively attached and that’s why this year was full of memorable experiences and friendships that I will never forget. Pula and Premantura are part of me and I like to think that, perhaps, I also make part of them.

MF: Where do you see yourself in the future?

En el futuro me veo donde siempre, en todo, detras de mi bigote. In the future I see myself as always, in everything, behind my moustache.

More information about Xavier’s artistic work can be found here
By | 2017-07-30T19:45:59+00:00 May 18th, 2014|Lifestyle|0 Comments

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