Catalina Andonie is a sculptor and installation artist who lives in Santiago, Chile, and uses industrial materials like felt, foam, polyurethane or rubber to make bold, abstract forms that challenge or even envelope itself. Find more at the links below!
Can you tell me a little bit about you?
I live and work in Santiago de Chile and studied a Bachelor in Fine Arts in Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile. During that time, I did a workshop with the artist Eugenio Dittborn and with the artists Pablo Rivera and Livia Marín. I went to one residency program in the artist-run space Sagrada Mercancía this year during one month. My practice has always been influenced by different documentaries I see regarding art, politics and universal topics. During most of my free time, I like to read crime novels and watch crime-related movies and documentaries. Currently, I am not studying and focusing on producing my artwork for future exhibitions.
When did you first discover art, or realize you wanted to make it yourself?
I first found out that I wanted to be an artist when I was 17 years old, in high school. I did mostly woodcuts and engraving in a very expressionistic and figurative manner while also painting and working with watercolors during this very prolific period of training.
What do you like most about working where you do?
More than the specific places I work, I like Santiago as a Latin American city who has totally different and opposed types of neighborhoods, while, at the same time, it is continually evolving and changing at a very fast pace.
What ideas are you exploring in your practice?
I have changed, more than the ideas in my practice, the way I approach that ideas so that the form, balance, scale, and materials in my pieces respond to other concerns that do not comprise a self-referential involvement with materiality and composition. Those four elements are, in a way, suggesting the underlying issues through all kinds of layers and densities.
I produce sculptures and installations based on pre-existing objects or works, with industrial materials such as polyurethane, silicone rubber, and insulation foam. These are processed and managed so that ambiguity is a constant presence in my line of work. While studying at Pontifical Catholic University in Santiago, I became interested in North American Minimalism with its use of prefabricated industrial materials in large-scale sculptures as opposed to craft techniques in traditional sculpture. There, I produced Matteo Thun and William Tucker, pieces that were made from different artworks I appropriated and recontextualized from those artists and designers.
The clean appearance of the original objects was replaced by a coarse finish and workmanship. It is in this regard where ambiguity acted on those sculptures, misaligning the copy from the original and, at the same time, strongly approaching towards it because of their similarities. This is where the pieces engaged in an interplay between defined structure and “form that loses form and becomes something else”. From my point of view, ambiguity has a wide range of references and, at the same time, a lack of them. That is what, in a certain sense, cancels it and makes it operational as such.
What is your process like?
I research artists, designers, and architects that challenge me to think outside the box that traps my current thinking. I usually plan as little as possible in advance so that the work can develop throughout the process. They usually take from two weeks to one month to be finished. I am interested in pre-existing objects or works, with industrial materials such as polyurethane and resin.
These are managed so that ambiguity is constant in my line of work.
Is there any subject or theme you’ve been particularly interested in lately?
I`ve been focused on watching documentaries that explore very particular ideas and themes that, simultaneously, can be associated to universal topics. I like themes that explore how to generalize the exception.
What is the strangest thing you’ve ever had to do for art?
In 2014, I had to go to the streets of a very dangerous zone in Santiago to produce my work “Los Hijos Bastardos” because I couldn`t find anywhere to produce this big and heavy concrete structures. The whole place was a mess and we had to move the incomplete sculptures to another place because the people from the neighborhood didn’t allow us to work there.
Do you have a mentor, or a piece of advice (or both), which has influenced your practice?
I remember one day I was sitting with a friend in an event with artist Voluspa Jarpa, who is going to be at the Venice Biennale next year representing Chile. We started talking and commenting other people`s work and she told us that we had to do our work right no matter what everybody else was doing and focus on our own development instead of talking about others. From then on I try to stick with that piece of advice.
Is there any piece of advice you would offer to others?
To avoid envy and always compare your accomplishments with your own past history.
What is your studio like?
My studio is a relatively large space that includes my smaller works because I have my biggest works at my mom`s house because they do not fit in my studio. My practice is usually produced outside my studio.
Do you have any routines or rituals in the studio that get you into the mode or mindset to make your work?
I always try to work as early as possible because I have more energy in the morning. I don’t listen to any music and I spend approximately 2 hours in the studio every day.
How significant has attending art school been on your practice?
Art school has and was very important to me as I got to elaborate and sharpen more my art knowledge and the production of my skills. I would pursue an MFA and would like to apply next year to a school in Frankfurt. I think that for some artists there are benefits to not pursuing advanced art degrees and for others, there are not, it depends on the type of work you do and your own processes.
What do you find most daunting, challenging, or frustrating about pursuing art?
To pursue and sustain your practice in art you have to be very patient and a hard worker because it doesn’t come easy and it is a very slow process.
How would you define “success” in art?
Success is when you realize that you are following your own footsteps (not your mother´s, brother´s o friends) and doing what you love, regardless of fame and power.
What is the most exciting thing you’ve done or accomplished so far, related to your work?
This year I was invited to the residency program of the artist-run-space Sagrada Mercancía. With them, we worked daily for one month covering all the walls, the ceiling and the floor of their gallery with insulation wool. It was an intense and incredible experience.
What are you working on right now?
Recently, I worked on a piece for the “13 Jardines” show in Requínoa and now I am working on 3D-printed objects for an exhibition in OMA Art Gallery for January 2019 that is going to be showcased in ART LIMA in April. This month I will contribute with a Combarbalita stone sculpture in Galería Artespacio in Santiago. Also next year, I will show pieces in blown glass for a solo show in CIMA Gallery. During the second semester of next year, I am going to participate in a project with Museo del Hongo and Metro 21 and cover all the rooms of an abandoned building with potentially decomposing materials so that the whole rooms, floors, and ceilings rot.