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The sculptor and painter Olga Andrino: “The crowds protect us, but they also dehumanize us”

You get the feeling while walking through the garden of Olga Andrino (Burgohondo, Ávila, 1959)until arriving along a circular path to his studio behind his house on the outskirts of Madrid, which is painter and sculptor, known for her “crowds” and “crowds,” He especially enjoys solitude or small gatherings.

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Which one are you referring to then?

There is another art, for example, which consists of accumulating mountains of paper at a fair, but it is not historical, it is anecdotal, when art becomes an anecdote I don’t like it. Some artists even take art in a joking way, and the anything goes in the end it becomes it’s worth nothing. A piece has to breathe mystery but also invoice.

What do you think of the Spanish art system?

Nowadays many gallery owners do not support Spanish artists, but rather work for their personal prestige, they are not like the Leo Castelli, who discovered the artists and supported them. Galleries sometimes need a certain cachet, which is provided by being in art fairs, and then they hire foreign artists with big names. Local talent often has no place.

And yet, artists find a way to work…

I don’t have any strategy. The issue of Qatar, for example, comes from a piece I did in Paris at UNESCO, a crowd trying to enter a school and the school is in ruins. From there, they asked me for a piece for Qatar, they commissioned public works with the seventeen SDGs and they assigned me objective number 10, which is to reduce inequalities.

How was the process?

I had to do the work for twenty days. Now I feel exhausted and also with a lot of responsibility, I preferred to do it in my studio in Galicia and it turned out very well, transportation has been complicated, and it always is, because they are very heavy pieces. For me it is a great step as a public work sculpture, that of resolving the elements…

Is red your favorite color?

It is a color that attracts me, red, in sculpture and painting and I don’t know how to explain it. Cadmium red or Ferrari red as it is called now in the current colors. When I exhibited in New York at the Cervantes, a playwright friend who has a workshop in Queens dedicated me a poem by Lorca, the one about blood, from “Poet in New York” about blood and crowds. He saw red as blood and it always reminds me of that poem… maybe. In the one about the refugees and in the pieces that I have assembled in Qatar, it cannot be any other color. They are people who come walking and will have wounds, blood? It is very possible, it is a red that is justified.

Where do you think this fascination with crowds comes from?

From Kapuściński’s readings, from Azaña’s thesis, from his texts on multitudes, according to which when man leaves his individuality he can do anything crazy. Many things we do we would not be able to do alone, the crowds protect us but sometimes they turn us into something we do not want, they dehumanize us.

Why are you always attracted to working with such a high density of people?

It has more work, but the drama also increases, it is more distressing, but all that comes to me from that love of the third dimension. Now in the eleven pieces of Qatar… the sculpture has to have grandeur, drama.

The conversation ends with Andrino remembering a fourth inspiration that he didn’t remember, but that he loves, they are The Burghers of Calais by Rodin. And he concludes with a reflection, perhaps there are two ways to achieve the desired universality of the figurative artistic piece, “reduce everything to a synthesis, or create a crowd, a group of people.”

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