Meet Alejandro Cerón, the Spanish-born artist who fuses art and design together to produce aesthically fascinating and unique pieces that stimulate all of our human senses. Alejandro’s extensive eduction in both product design and industrial design stems from different institutions around central Europe and can be seen in many of his works that demonstrate a refined attention to detail through both his knowledge and use of materials, and also the philosophical and social questions that drive the theoretical ideas behind his works. We are very pleased to announce that Alejandro will be presenting pieces from his most recent exhibition, Mind The Crowd, at the Art Village within the Berlin Festival this year! Mind the crowd is an exploration into the dynamics of crowd behaviour and the potential benefits that can arise from collective action. The exhibition brought an interactive dimension to the city by featuring the 27 wooden pieces of the installation in several different locations in Berlin, which saw great interest from the public. We managed to catch up with Alejandro before the festival this weekend and ask him about his involvement within the festival, his artistic works, and what he thinks of the artistic scene here in Berlin.
Alejandro, we’re really pleased about your involvement at this year’s Berlin Festival. How do you feel about the idea of the Art Village, which has continually been a popular feature of the festival?
I think that the more disciplines involved in a cultural festival, the better. Having Art Village as part of the Berlin Festival enriches the event possibilities. The Art Village makes the festival more interesting by giving the audience more variety to experience and enjoy culture in a wider and much richer way. Hybridizing disciplines and creating synergies results in a whole range of new possibilities.
Your biography says that you are intrigued by philosophical and atemporal questions, as well as important contemporary issues. Could you expand on these two ideas and how they play out in some of your works?
My work is based on subjects that are appealing for me. Many of these subjects drive me to analyze and research atemporal issues already treated in the past, but that are still very contemporary. History is kind of ciclic, isn’t it? When I dive into a theme that has already been treated, it doesn’t mean that I will arrive at the same conclusions. I am giving my own subjective point of view and approaching them from a different time, context and background. Therefore, we can always arrive at different, interesting results.
Philosophy and psychology of perception are disciplines that analyze life and the way we live, perceive and experience things. My projects are instigated also by everyday life experiences and the way we interact and deal with the world. I think of them as a way to learn and grow in a personal as well as a professional way. During these last years, the work of existentialists Soren Kierkegaard, Fernando Pessoa or Wittgenstein have definitely left traces in my own artwork. It’s as difficult and abstract as easy and obvious to specify, but I think that these philosophical and contemporary influences can be seen in concepts such as ‘Beautiful Mess’, ‘Victims’, ‘Excited Colors,’ or recently, in ‘Mind the Crowd’.
Of course, science, history, politics and sociology are just as appealing to me as philosophy. So in the end, it is about the mix created by all these disciplines, and how it is understood and processed depending on the context and my personal experiences. I guess this is a very existentialist way of thinking.
Your works combine a wide range of artistic disciplines and have been featured in many different design and culture magazines. Are there any works that you have produced in the past that you are particularly proud of?
Each of them express something that I wanted to try, research, say or suggest at the time – or even now. Experimentation plays a big role, too. I´m very proud of a pretty unknown and less media covered project, ‘Play the Ape’, an interactive installation based on the Marxist idea of happiness as result of the quality of our social relations.
Yes, I also really liked what I saw from the Play the Ape project on your website. Your most recent exhibition, Mind The Crowd, was a fascinating comment on crowd behaviour and the importance of collective collaboration and awareness. What were some of the ideas that inspired this work, and why was Berlin the chosen as the city for exhibition?
Mind the Crowd is a good example of an atemporal yet still very contemporary subject: the masses. I say this because of the similarities of the global situation now, compared with the global situation back in the beginning of last century. For a long time I have been thinking that the solution of many of our common problems as human beings would be the promotion and development of a collective awareness. A feeling deep inside each individual of being part of a bigger whole. This is a problem that education should embrace, instead of promoting competition so much. In front of this massive democratization, a collective responsibility sense is needed.
The project began while I was reading ‘The Revolt of the Masses’ by Spanish journalist and philosopher, Ortega y Gasset. The book ‘Crowds and Power’ by Elias Canetti and late socio-economical and political situation in Western and Middle East countries shaped the rest of the concept. Developing this project in Berlin is coincidental. No doubt though that this city has, in many ways, huge symbolic connotations with the concept.
What do you think of the thriving artistic scene here in Berlin?
I believe it has many good consequences, but also some bad ones. There are obviously many benefits to the city and the people living in it of having such a rich artistic scene, in social and economical terms.
The consequences of this calling effect in the lives of the artists is what bothers me. Berlin is a pretty cheap city, compared with other capitals. Young people can afford to come here and get a space to live and work, but this has attracted also political interests.
Tourism and, above all, urbanism speculative plans, like the one along the Spree, will raise the cost of living the city and spoil a lot of its charm. These plans and their consequences should be truly analyzed in order to understand which direction the German capital is taking. Berlin claims to be (and in fact,there’s no doubt that it is) an artistic, effervescent spot, but at the same time, it is taking some doubtful measures when it comes to the perpetuation of this rich artistic scene.
What are your plans for the future, Alejandro? You have already established yourself as a stand-out, innovative figure in both the design and the art world. Do you perhaps have any plans to cross over into any other artistic disciplines, or are there any future works that you can tell us about?
That is a very nice and kind way of asking that question. I´m not so sure about that establishment you mention though. The plan is to keep working as I have been doing, between Berlin, Holland and Spain.
Exploring new disciplines is always interesting, but normally there is a reason for it. The media is just the transport to communicate an idea. Different ideas require always to seek for the best or most suitable media in order to communicate them. I have been generating visual archives in video and paper. These will be probably used in future projects.
Lastly, how important do you feel that companies such as Artconnect Berlin are in terms of aiding the careers of artists and creative people?
These are good tools that can help and save time for artists and other individuals inside the art world. They can be very effective when it comes to promotional terms. In my personal case, Artconnect is working as an amazing platform. I would more generically remark the big amount of time that they can save and the collaborations between individuals that they can generate.
A special thanks to Alejandro for giving us his time and his willingness to present his ‘Mind the Crowd’ exhibition with us in the Art Village this year!
The Berlin Festival begins this Friday at Tempelhof – see you all there!