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ENCRYPTED MEMORY

An interview with Lluís Estopiñan

Lluís Estopiñan is a Spanish artist based in Barcelona. The multidisciplinary artist's work focuses on Photographic based pieces around the theme of memory and consciousness. Exhibiting all over the world, we interview Lluís Estopiñan discussing analogue photography, the dark room, and the future of the arts. 

"Tell us about you and your art."

I studied Fine Arts in Escola Massana, Barcelona and I have worked and exposed my work for more than 30 years in Galleries and Art Centers of Catalonia and Spain, but also of France, Italy, Argentina, Germany, Portugal, Japan and United Kingdom. 

I work mostly with Photography, but in a way that is Post-Photographic - but there are also elements of abstract painting and installation in my work. My work is a combination of reflection and emotion to convey the ways in which art can deeply transform and transcend us. The process of creating work is what is interesting to me as it is part of the discourse of each project; it's something I need to make sense of and to make the result something palpable and not virtual. 

"Considering your work Post-Photographic is interesting, especially in the way your work is still so tangible as opposed to digital. Can you talk to us more about the themes of your work? What inspires you to create?"

I'm motivated and inspired by possibilities, and that our perception of life itself is changing. It's also important for me to revolve all of my work around the theme of memory which in itself is a central part of our identity. This comes through strongest in the series "Memory" where I rework and re-contextualise old anonymous photographic material to give it new meaning. 

"Your artwork evokes different senses; touch and vision. Can you elaborate on why you use braille in your work?"

I like the materiality and tactile texture of Photographic materials and the role they can play in a project. I have used cyanotype on medicine boxes or liquid emulsions on old photos for example. 

In "Undisclosed Memory: I wanted to reflect on the real inaccessibility of our memories and using braille was a way to evoke written memory that can't be deciphered by us. Braille reinforces the encrypted memory from the inaccessible thoughts and emotions we have. As well as this, the texture modifies the image in the same way the mind modifies memories of our lived experiences. 

"Why is Film Photography important today?"

The analogue experience in Photography is very different from the digital one. the way you look and think of each analogue Photograph is on the opposite end of the spectrum compared to the overproduction and banality of digital photography. Social media has obviously impacted this greatly. Also, the ability of chemical experimentation and the surprises and imperfections of the medium makes it less controllable which I like. For me, analogue Photography is making objects and not images.

"Viewing analogue in this way is very interesting, the advent of digital has ripped Photography into two - digital and analogue and for us, the digital is moving away from what Photography was ever supposed to be. Your body of works spans over two decades, what have you learned? "

I have learned that the practice of art has the power to transform us, and that it especially makes sense if this practice is connected to our own life experience.

"What is the future of art?"

Art will continue to expand its borders by incorporating new expressions and meanings and art across genres will continue to hybridise more and more. It will (and already is) become increasingly important to approach art by asking all the questions related to the aspects of the soul and human nature in which rational analysis is unknown territory. 

"Thank you Lluís."

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