Adolfo Romero will be in the Costume Studio December 3–4, 2016 and March 4–5, 2017.
Holly Nordeck: What will your demonstration look like at the DAM?
Adolfo Romero: It will involve a series of masks in different shapes, which show the possibilities of this costume in action. It will be divided in both theater costume and a carnival project, which talks about our current society.
HN: How has your background influenced you as an artist?
AR: My background is a random conjunction of things around the arts. Thinking about art history, I could say that my influences come basically from expressionism and symbolism. Artists like Francis Bacon, El Bosco, Roberto Matta, and many others have influenced my art. But overall, the convergence and eclecticism of South American culture in its different contexts, such as social justice issues, its ancient legacy of mythology, and how it faces global changes.
HN: Do you have any inspirations that help you create art?
AR: My main inspiration is people, in their deepest sense, and how people confront their existence. It includes the individual perception, and how this [applies] to their social interactions. The creative process for me is a kind of induction state, a sort of grooves or waves appearing, a mix of emotions and reflections.
HN: What makes you interested in masks specifically?
AR: The masks experience appeared more by a collaborative proposal than a line of art that I sought out in particular. Unexpectedly, this became very interesting because of the tridimensional creative labor. In those days I collaborated with a cultural organization in my country, preparing a carnival process. I was commissioned to create masks and puppets. And meditating on it, I chose my designs based on traditional characters of my communities. As you can see, the beginning was circumstantial, and evolved over time. But for me, the most interesting piece of this is the dialectical play that makes a mask having the ability to hide one layer of a personality, and at the same time to bring out another.
HN: How do you use your masks? What role do they serve?
AR: Mainly the use of this kind of mask is the action in different sceneries. Whether it is on a theater stage or streets performance. It is interesting because masks have an interaction toward people, and when that occurs they cannot be indifferent to what is happening. It is a sort invitation to participate and play in a collective catharsis. In this sense, masks have played an important function in our ancient cultures, specifically in their social celebrations and religious rites. For me it is really attractive the idea to become another thing, person, or animal, through the masks.
HN: Finally, can you explain a bit about your artmaking process?
AR: I have always had many ideas flying around me. I imagine the creative personality as many egos, dialoging permanently; sometimes friendly and other times fighting each other. Meanwhile, my hands are like an earthquake sensor, giving shape to the created object, so any plan is subject to change. In short, the artistic object is like a fossil, a moment that contains a whole life.