Sito Mújica the appropriationist artist, an interview by Metal magazineback to news
From Metal magazine by Sergi Doladé
For more than a decade Sito Mújica’s work has been based on the systematic copying of photographs circulating on the Internet, using drawing, watercolor on paper, acrylics on cardboard, wood and canvas, as well as other traditional techniques to put his works back into the internet but translated into his own language. He has specialized in appropriationism, elaborating meta-works with a life of their own that he himself says are copies. He has carried out research projects about the image in digital media, and his productions tackle issues related to copyright, content curation and algorithms. He is currently exhibiting in the collective Blanc i negre at the L&B gallery in Barcelona.
Your childhood was not at all conventional. How do you remember it?
I was born in Sabadell but soon after my father wanted to be a farmer and sold everything to buy some land in a small village in the province of Cordoba called Fuente Obejuna. It is located on a mound and everything around it is covered with rockrose, which is a very dense and quite tall bush that gives it the appearance of an isolated village.
What were the advantages of growing up in a village in early democratic Spain?
In the 80s there was a very strong economic crisis, but we did not live through it. The people were self-sufficient and even money was not used for exchange. People bartered. That was an advantage. An obvious disadvantage was not having access to culture, although my references were Radio Pop, Paloma Chamorro’s programs and La 2 movies. At the age of 14 I had already seen almost everything by Federico Fellini, Luchino Visconti and Pier Paolo Pasolini. Worlds that had nothing to do with my daily life. I lived there until I was 18.
Photography and image were already of interest to you?
I was and still am very interested in painting as a subject, although in my work it is very diluted. The way of reproducing an image through painting is what I like the most. There are two processes that interest me the most. One is the choice of the image itself, which can happen spontaneously. Another is the way to reproduce it. I consider myself more of a painter than anything else.
What kind of image captures your attention to reinterpret it?
At the beginning I was interested in the ephemeral moment of the image, and I still am. The fact of drawing an image in pencil or making an oil painting from an image is that it lasts longer in time. What I am doing now are computer-treated images that mimic the dot of the printing press. It is a way of doing with painting a reproduction that is not usual in more classical painting. In the 21st century it may sound a bit ridiculous, but I think the forms of representation are unfathomable.
Are you aware of your most direct influences?
You see it over time. Once you have made the work and you analyze it, you become aware of those references. Now what interests me most is to work without being aware of the discourse. That’s something I haven’t done so far. I think artists want to be artists to feel free. We associate freedom with creation. Although if you analyze it well you realize that this freedom doesn’t even exist in the field of creation.
Is it a mirage?
Work is always work, no matter how creative it is.
Sito Mujica at his studio.
What does beauty mean to you?
I’m not very clear about what it is, I don’t even think about it. There are simply things I like and things I don’t like, but that doesn’t mean it’s beautiful. In any case, my reference to beauty is more classical. Although I think we should run away from that. In our time, I think we already do, in the end it is excluding. We have a more American image of beauty. If we talk about people, we have to have a specific physique which is what we see in TikTokers and Instagramers.
Maybe art is a representation of the essence of the human being that we don’t see represented in any other way.
I don’t think there is a difference between artists and other people. When one works around something that has that not-so-practical character, one is approaching art and therefore anyone could be a creator, rather than an artist. An artist must dedicate himself to art, otherwise he is not an artist. Art is everything that someone does that takes you away from reality. What we look for in art is that evasion of something very real. It’s like a kind of mental stage that leads you to pleasure.
Install Shoot of Sito’s Solo Exhibition at Alzueta Gallery’s main space in Barcelona.
Where does your work take us?
It’s very difficult to talk about one’s own work, it’s full of references to other artists with which I make a kind of cocktail.
Read the whole interview in (only available in Spanish): https://metalmagazine.eu/es/post/interview/sito-mujica