Every month we ask the same set of questions to someone collaborating with us. Over the last two years, we have interviewed diverse members of the Glucksman community - artists, academics, staff members, guests, audiences and workshop participants. The responses are funny, inspiring, revealing and always a great read.
This month, we feature artist Vanessa Donoso Lopez who is one of five artists commissioned by the Glucksman and the National Sculpture Factor to create temporary sculptural interventions in Cork city as part of the collaborative project GRAFT.
What are you reading? In terms of books, I'm re-reading Henry Thoreau, ‘Civil Disobedience’. I am trying to get inspired by him and his actions. He was a visionary, no doubt.
I am also reading, ‘Rocks and Minerals’ a beautifully illustrated guide from the 1950’s that a friend gave me recently. From when documentation type books were illustrated with drawings instead of photographs.
I do love reading art magazines, like Flash art, Modern Painters, Frieze, Art forum. I work in a museum and they are always lying around, so I have easy access to them.
Oh, also, I have been looking closely at a little booklet on the south of Ireland tide tables 2021 by Union chandlery that Claire from Maitheal Mara Cork gave me last week, related to the installation I am working on at the moment. Fascinating.
Favourite museum? I don’t really have favourite things. I have liked specific shows in different museums. But, that was more about the actual exhibition rather than the museum general program. I adore museums and they are places I always go to. They tick all the boxes.
Some museums I have visited have amazing architecture though and they are very special places to be in, I'm thinking some like CaixaForum in Barcelona, Astrup Fearnley Museum in Oslo, also I remember Stockholm as a city with many amazing museums worth visiting. Just to name a few...
Best performance? Live music would be my favourite type of performance. I try to go to concerts and live music events as much as a can.
I do remember a hilarious performance by Laurie Anderson in IMMA in 2005 when she had a solo show there. She ‘walked' into the hall of the museum on icing skates ‘embedded' in blocks of ice. Loved it.
Most treasured possession? I am on a very hard exercise of doing a massive clear out. I am a collector by nature, so this is extremely difficult for me. I do think we own way too many unnecessary things that tie you down and cut your freedom of movement. I am starting to dislike it very much, that feeling.
What I would never get rid of are my basic art materials and tools. Those honestly make me happy. My (luckily small) external hard drive stays with me too. Please.
Work(s) of art that inspire you? I find listing my main inspirations pretty hard. As I say, In my life I have no favourite things. I like innumerable things in different ways and I don’t see myself able to list them all.
From the ‘Makapansgat’ pebble to the Fluxus movement, from Sumerian literature to the Arts and Crafts movement, and so on. I have been working in a museum of modern and contemporary art for 18 years. I have seen closely and with attention many dozens of exhibitions, projects, reflections, realities and fictions, performances, photography, installations, painting, sculpture ... I would not dare to say that some of these things have not managed to inspire me in one way or another.
Even so, I would dare to say that I feel very influenced by the experiences and conversations that I have shared in my journey, in my comings and goings, and in changes of direction. Having lived twenty years out of my own country and having been able to get to know a new culture in-depth, and a language different from my own has deeply inspired me. This is certainly reflected in my work.
Lightbulb moment? A decision that changed my life profoundly was to move away from home. But, I don’t know if this was a good or bad ‘lightbulb moment’ yet. I guess I will know when that thing that happens as you are dying that all your life shows in front of you in few seconds before you go forever. I might get to a conclusion then...
Guilty pleasure? A pleasure that makes you feel guilty? Nah.
What would you like to be doing right now? Working in a big bright studio, near the sea. In a Balearic island maybe. It is warm but not too hot. My studio has a big door wide open and a jazz band is practising just out there. Am I allowed to fantasize or the answer should be based on feasible facts?
In that case, working at the national sculpture factory in Cork all day long for weeks is perfect. And it is exactly what I'm doing right now.