Uruguayan artist Verónica Vázquez was one of twelve artists represented by a selection of Latin America’s leading galleries that took part in Residents 2019, Art Dubai’s annual short-term artist residency programme, immersing herself in the life and culture of the Emirates and producing new artworks which were exhibited at the fair.
Represented by Piero Atchugarry Gallery, her research focuses on found materials, such as iron, fabric, cardboard, paper and thread, repurposing these discarded objects to create visually striking sculptures and wall reliefs, often with a flash of social commentary. Her work references both the history of Uruguayan Constructivism as well as the legacy of the Italian Arte Povera.
Vázquez shared her experience in the UAE with Art Dubai in this short interview:
Verónica Vázquez, represented by Piero Archugarry Gallery, Art Dubai 2019
Was the work you created in the UAE for Residents inspired more than you expected by environment and the relative importance of place?
My time in the UAE were very inspiring days – the place, the cultural differences, the desert, and the people. And it was not only inspiring, it was useful. It was a unique experience that made us artists-in-residence reflect, concentrate, dedicate and focus ourselves, work, have a routine, think, walk, know, feed our spirit, experiment, explore and relax.
Have you learned anything new about the UAE?
Very much. Each day was unpredictable and an adventure. It made us (the other artists too) investigate, discover, be amazed, and talk about the differences and similarities with our continent. I have learned to capitalise on each experience. Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about what the mark UAE left on me. It left many things – all of them positive. The conclusion that I have reached is that I don’t want this experience to be just a parenthesis in my life. I think a residence should start a link with institutions or people that support our activities, and can keep growing and cross into other projects.
How (if anything) have you incorporated what you have learned into your artistic practice?
To think about the subject of my works, the idea, the concept…And to start working on the issues that go through me, even though they are painful: the woman and her place, mental health, social justice and the essence of being human.
Today I’m left with the memory of days of hard work, of achieving goals, and another way at looking at life in general. The world widened and passes in front of my eyes even though when I’m in my workshop today.
What would you change if you could do it all over again?
The communication with the curators helped me a lot, I was afraid that there were certain demands that would take me away from my art. Far from it, the curators helped me to strengthen my path.
Verónica Vázquez, represented by Piero Archugarry Gallery, installation view
Residents 2019 was co-curated by São Paulo–based curator and artistic director of art space Pivô, Fernanda Brenner, and Abu Dhabi-based curator Munira Al Sayegh and supported by the Office of Public and Cultural Diplomacy in the UAE. The curator and line-up for Residents 2020 will be announced in the coming months.