Week 3 | Artist Conversation: Arturo Alvaro

Arturo Alvaro is a student and Long Beach State University, and is working toward his BFA in the School of Art’s sculpture program. Alvaro listens to classical music very regularly, and this interest definitely influenced Alvaro’s concept of a response to classical music. His ideas for this particular show spotlight a purely physical response to classical music.

In Alvaro’s exhibit, “A Response to Classical Music”, Alvaro uses a number of media to create three separate pieces of artwork. He uses a video camera, projector, classical music, paint, clothing (pants, a button-up shirt, shoes), a canvas laid out on the floor, and pieces of thick wire. Alvaro used the video camera in order to document his raw, natural bodily responses to the classical music that he has playing. This video that he displays through a projector is a piece of artwork in and of itself. The video showcases the creation of a separate piece of artwork, which is the canvas and clothing he is wearing in the video, that eventually becomes covered in paint. We see in the video that Alvaro takes the paint in his hands before he responds to the music, and in a way records his bodily responses with the paint on the canvas.The strokes of paint that we see on the piece of canvas are very random in a very natural way. In other words, no stroke of line is straight or perfect by any means.

Alvaro titles this exhibit “A Response to Classical Music”. When I had initially read the title of the exhibit, by first thought was naturally that he is responding to the way that the classical music is making him feel. When I had asked Alvaro if this was his goal with the pieces, I was surprised to find that this is exactly what he was trying not to do. What Alvaro had explained that he was trying to depict in these pieces of art was not how the music made him react relative to his emotions, but rather how the music made him react relative solely to his body, without his emotions. He made sure to specify to me that while his responses while creating the pieces of art were strictly non-emotional, the pieces of art themselves are supposed to evoke emotion. In other words, the concept of a non-emotional response to music is meant to evoke emotion in itself.

I thought this notion was very interesting, simply because it is telling us to re-evaluate the idea that an emotional response is the only response that can come from listening to music. I love the idea of questioning an idea that personally, has been naturalized. Very personally, I this idea resonated a lot with gender and sexuality concepts that I have been studying lately. There is so much importance in questioning things that we have always just accepted to be.

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