Amparo Sard

“I want to carry on like this, surprising myself little by little”

This artist from Son Servera reflects on the role of the spectator before the artwork. And on how the artist must find the resources to manage to move the spectator, in an apparently superficial age like the one we live in. 

Photography: Íñigo Vega.
Photography: Íñigo Vega.

You have been professor of painting at Barcelona University for more than 20 years. How do you explain what art is to your students?

It’s complicated. Sometimes I tell them art is everything the artist intends it to be. If I am an artist and I say, “I’m going to make a doughnut and that is art,” at the moment I decide that, then it is. But there are many levels of art. There is the art that enables you to make some kind of reflection, because that is its mission. And there is also another kind of art, which does not have that purpose.

Do you believe that all artworks need to be explained?

I like to comprehend things, understand the world. I like things to have a meaning. It’s true that I’ve always thought that we artists perceive things which other people may not be able to perceive. I believe that what we do with our work is take a little piece of the world that we don’t understand and, when we create, we try to understand that little piece. It’s during that creative process that we experience a moment of peace and calm, because we are resolving it and finding meaning in life.

When did you become aware that you liked creating with your hands?

I was six or seven. My father had a collection of jazz vinyls. One day I took some of them and using a trophy that was lying around I made a kind of sculpture. I thought those vinyls weren’t very important because they were in a box in a corner, and that I was doing was good, that it had a meaning. But when my father saw it, of course, he was not amused!

What did you feel when you started perforating paper, and why did you choose that technique?

Paper has given me everything. I feel a special affection for it. It’s very curious, but at the end of the day the technique adapts to your expressive needs. The first holes I made weren’t figurative; I look back now and think it was simply just another one of the experiments I do. In the end, everything evolves and gradually explains itself, or you find an explanation and a meaning for it. The holes allowed me to tell a certain story, but now they have a different significance for me: they are like an action. Now the hole is something that connects the part from behind with the part from in front.

What is your work mode?

I am very demanding; that means that everything I do has a past burden, a way of knowing how to do things. And at the same time, I always need to evolve, and that is something that weighs on me a great deal, because it’s extremely hard to be constantly researching and not make thousands of pictures that are all the same. Reconciling all that is complicated, but I manage it somehow.

In your experience, what do you believe spectators feel when they are in front of your work?

I think there are three steps for understanding my work. The first one is the most superficial one, the technique. When they stand in front of one of my pictures, a lot of people are a little surprised by the technique. The next step is the stories that you gradually find inside that work. And then there is the third step, which is what I am really interested: the one that connects you to the emotions. And that kind of emotion doesn’t need a narrative. A swift impression enables you to immediately capture the idea of the work.

You are a Cum Laude doctor in Art Philosophy. What was your thesis on?

It speaks of where today’s art is headed. The title is Dematerialisation of the transcendental elements in the language of the new technologies. It deals with where transcendency is, what happens when everything can be fake nowadays. On the face of it, it seems that everything may be a lie. And yet, how does an artist manage to transmit something important, something transcendental? They manage it by touching the internal triggers of people so that they react, the deepest part of their fears.

What are you working on right now?

I am centred on a new work on visual art. It is a floating piece that will only exist through technology. Without them, you won’t be able to see it. The story I want to tell is that everything is false, but if you see it on a telephone, it ultimately becomes true. It is one step more in that research, and I want to carry on like this, surprising myself little by little.

You recently travelled to India. What did you do, and what was your experience of the country?

We beat our chests, complaining about the misfortunes of the planet, but we don’t react, we act as though it were just another sci-fi movie that reaches our screens. For a while I have felt that [...]


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Photography: Íñigo Vega.
Photography: Íñigo Vega.
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