Juan Carlos Rosa Casasola, born in Benidorm (Alicante, Spain, 1988) is currently working in Berlin. Best prize in Fine Arts degree from the Polytechnic University of Valencia (Spa,2012), specialized in Thought and Visual Culture by the Master in Artistic Production (2014), and the Master in Visual and Multimedia Arts from the Polytechnic University of Valencia (Spa,2016), has completed his training in Germany in the Masters in Medienwissenschaft of the Universität Potsdam (Erasmus+ 2016) and in the Akademie der Bildenden Künste of Munich (Erasmus 2010).
He has received production grants from the Art&Diseases University Chair and the Cultural Action Platform of the Polytechnic University of Valencia, and his work has been exhibited internationally, highlighting the Paella Pop Festival in New York, the AllGlitchedUp exhibition at Tate Britain London, the Spanische Nacht at the Kulturforum in Berlin, the Drap Art Festival at the CCCB in Barcelona, at the Hybrid fair in Madrid, the XVII Call at the Luis Adelantado Gallery in Valencia and the prestigious Mardel Prize in Alicante. His last solo exhibitions were #Show #MustGoOn at the Salmaia Gallery (Altea, Spain, 2017) and “De ida y vuelta (Back&forth)” at the Culture Institute Juan Gil-Albert, curated by Andrea Brotons, due to the Prize of the Alicante’s Deputation (Spain, 2017).
His work is transdisciplinary, using different languages according to the project: painting, installation, video, performance or collaborative projects. Currently, his speech focuses on visibility, diversity, and immersion, and takes as its origin approaches around the binomial space-time, public-private, individual-collective and need-desire.
Foto: Taking during the interview, Friday 27th October
CB: Tell us about your last project #Smartpaint. When did you start and what is about?
JCR: In my work is common the topic of communication and digital devices. In 2013 I was doing a research about how the internet can amplify our communication skills, and at the same time interfuse to our direct communications. Bauman says “the new technologies of communication allow us to communicate with who is far away, and to avoid the one is near”. And I started playing with the idea to cover some portraits with a layer of Apps icons, as a common mobile phone menu.
Later on, I started working with the Painting Department of my University on a research of painting materials and resources. There I realized that we know most of the masterworks throw the screen or the books, which democratize the access to them, but at the same time, distort them.
Then I wanted to show that the new phenomenon created by the mobile phones is just an amplification of what we were doing before. Then I linked to image and concept, today images and old ones from the past, then I took super well-known images from paintings, coetaneous to the discovery of America. There are more reasons, but the main one is to connect this discovery of the “New World” and the discovery of the “New World of Internet”, to ask how does it affect to our daily life.
CB: What do you mean, when you refer to the established bridge connection between the discovery of the “New World” and the discovery of the “Digital World”?
JCR: I mean the situation of something new that affects global and on several levels. Let’s imagine how the food habits changed with the introduction of potatoes and tomatoes from America, and how Instagram is modifying it.
Apart from the joke, there are lots of connections between the Golden Age of the Spanish painting (coetaneous to Velázquez) and the social networks. The paintings were commissions from the Church or Power, to show and teach their values, to show a status. Nowadays all of us are creating a digital image of our life, selecting what and how to show it to the world through Instagram.
CB: Explain us your idea of using the menu of any smartphone Apps as a portrait of its user.
JCR: Some companies are studying our habits, to try to predict what, when and where we are going to buy or to do. Because of the GPS, our payments by card, our search on Google, etc. Then I realize that when someone took your phone can access to your intimacy really easily, not just checking your private messages or images. Because of the type of mobile phone do you have, your apps and the display of them, you can create an accurate idea of the way of living, probably wrong? The apps we are using on our phones can tell everybody what we wish, what worries us if we are looking for a partner or for a place to have dinner.
CB: In your artwork about “Girl with a Pearl Earring” with apps as a portrait. What are you representing?
JCR: Is a standard portrait. Not only the menu of apps I’m showing, also the portrait behind. When Vermeer painted the Girl with a Pearl Earring, he didn’t portrait anyone, there is not a specific girl, she is an ideal of girl, how a girl could look like.
In this work, I’m using a standard display of iPhone 4 and added the Instagram and Facebook icons. This could be one of the most common menus, that can represent all of us.
Foto: Girl with a Pearl Earring, Vermeer 65x54cm, 2014
CB: What do you aim to show with “Eva and Adam” masterpiece.
JCR: I’ve taken the portraits of Eva and Adam from Dürer, to understand them as avatars. As the first players that God created, and to ask how we imagine them, for example, in which skin color. Here I added the real menu to “Create your Character” from a video game, where we can give a name to player 1 and player 2, we can choose if it’s a boy or a girl, if they have pickles, the size of the muscles, the colour of the skin, eyes and hair.
This image relates to diversity, because, what happens if we choose “Man” with the image of the body of Eva?
CB: How long is going to be #Smartpaint in Wild Tales exhibited?
JCR: The exhibition with the Prints of #Smartpaint will be exhibited just one month. Probably, until the end of November.
CB: Do you have in mind future exhibitions? When and where?
JCR: This summer I had 2 simultaneous solo shows in Spain, which means a lot of work. I think the next exhibition will be in Berlin in RaumE116, during the next Open Studios of 48 Stunden Neukölln 2018.
So now I’m focused to develop a new project call #WorldFlags, in which I want to do Flags with donated clothes, to show all the countries related to the fast-fashion industry. The main producers, consumers and the main Landfills in the world. I hope to be able to show it soon!
CB: How do you get the clothes to your projects?
JCR: The clothes are sourced by the people, through a collaborative project I’m developing since 2013: “Donate your clothes to art”. With the same idea of “Donate your body to science”, I’m inviting everyone to donate what they don’t any longer need, to help a researcher. Currently, you can donate your clothes in GlogauAIR Art Residency in Kreuzberg, and at RaumE116, Neukölln.