Interview: Guerra De La Paz
We caught up with artists Alain Guerra and Neraldo de la Paz, the two members of Miami-based collective Guerra De La Paz, to discuss the work they currently have on show in NO MONEY NO GLORY at Holster Projects.
Neraldo de la Paz: The work in the exhibition comes from a series we have on ‘power ties’, and it’s essentially a grouping of works that addresses corruption in the work place and a lot of contemporary issues, backroom deals that we are basically unaware of but affect us all. Blank faces with a lot of power who can change all of our lives without us being aware.
The symbolism of the tie is very strong. How did you come up with that?
Alain Guerra: The symbolism is first and foremost about what we acquire for the body, and what comes from the media or whatever is happening in contemporary culture. We had this vast amount of ties and there was a lot of corruption going on, in the business world in particular, in the government, the banks in America started collapsing, real estate collapsed, so that’s what inspired us to do this. The tie has always been a symbol of power in a sense, a symbol of finance, so we put those two together.
NdlP: Very simply it’s the discomfort of having to wear a tie, the choking factor, that triggered this.
AG: I think the viewer sees the fun aspect of it more than we do. We’re both very cynical, unfortunately.
NdlP: But we get that there is humour, because if you’re taking yourself too seriously all the time nobody will look at you. You can’t be about everything that’s horrible that might be going on because then there is no hope. And we do like to think that there is hope.
AG: But we’re both very dull…
NdlP: But we are dull, yes.
Though unintentionally you’ve been very funny.
Did your art address the economy before this or has it entered your work as a result of recent events in global finance?
AG: Our work addresses contemporary culture in general, but because we often use clothing and a lot of it has been used, our work did begin to be based on consumerism. So we just take whatever’s happening in culture, and we link the clothing to that. We found the ties and then everything started happening, and we put them together.
AG: We were doing a piece on consumerism in Chicago, and one of the people who was working with the Chicago Cultural Centre told us about a warehouse that the city had just purchased for the Cultural Centre that was filled with men’s clothing. So from here we acquired a lot of ties.
NdlP: And then he also was a tie collector, he just collected them because he liked them very much. He had hundreds of them and he gave us his collection. He was trying to pare down his life.
AG: Then it became a domino effect…
NdlP: All of a sudden everybody we knew had ties that they wanted to get rid of.
These are very much readymade materials, then.
Thanks to you both, and good luck with the show.