Interview with Gabriel Secchin

Gabriel Secchin, born in 1989, lives and works in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In 2016 he spent 4 months in the Pilotenkueche International Artist Residence, at Spinnerei, in Leipzig, Germany.

Secchin’s pictorial research presents different technical approaches, with which he proposes questionings considering the history of the media and contemporary subjects. Through a complex universe of images used as reference, such as the grotesque and decadent side of movies, religion, mythology and the obscurity of internet, he creates unlikely overlays. From an technical perspective, it results in tension and surprise, but from the image’s nature point of view, it induces change of values, opposition and reflection.

Where do you find inspiration?

I believe that my main source of inspiration is the act of painting itself. I started to paint in a moment that the most important question I asked myself was what makes people choose what they want to do with their lives, regarding different layers of contemporary life, such as professional choices or existencial beliefs. And maybe most importantly, how they reach the answers they seek, if they ever do – or if in the context they live in any of this questioning would even be possible. That along with the fact that my first real contact with the painting environment was looking through the ‘Vitamin P’ and ‘Painting Today’ books, in which I felt the need of learning and making paintings, and specially where I could realize that some of this contemporary painters that I instantly became obsessed with were working with different figurative styles, both between them and inside their own individual process. From that moment on, my artwork has interwoven different kinds of human perceptions towards life, and I try to do so by delivering different approaches on painting techniques, in order to show (myself and others) that at least in painting, I am free to choose whatever path I want to (and so can everybody else). Therefore, I often think that 'how to paint' is as important as 'what to paint'.

 

Some of your paintings are playfully composed of seemingly unrelated subjects/elements, what is your process of picking them?

I find most interest in the contrast and the tension that can be both conceptually and visually experienced when things of different contexts or nature are “forced” to develop a dialog. And I think that both the uplifting colours and the more realistic elements work as a bait for the viewer that would then have to deal with the more unpredictable and even irresponsible elements that can create some level of discomfort. I also like to play with the accessibility of this subjects and elements. Some can be easily relatable, others more obscure; some can emerge from a more delicate subject, others from a banal aspect of everyday life. All of that helps me to, with a dose of humour and cynicism, explore the incongruity of some aspects of human life.

Any artists or artworks you have seen recently that you find inspiring, if so, why? 

Last year I did an artist residency in Germany and I had the chance to visit the Georg Baselitz solo exhibition, The Heroes, at the Staedel Museum in Frankfurt. Not only this series represents some of the best of Baselitz work for me, he has painted all of them during more a less one year, when he was about 27 years old. The fact that he has accomplished such bold and numerous paintings at the same age I am now, it’s simultaneously terrifying and encouraging.

 

Are there anything you don't have in your studio that you would like to acquire in the future?

Other than a bigger studio, I wish I had more affordable and good quality oil paints available to buy here in Rio. The so called average/good international brands are not only super expensive, but often some colours are sold out. Besides that, the national ones are terrible. Which is kind of ridiculous when you look the amount of incredible painters we have here.

 

Are you working on any new projects these days?

Me and some fellow local artists have a project of occupying and exhibiting in places out of the galleries and institutionalised art spaces called SITIO. We had two editions already and we are always looking for some other opportunities. The artistic independence and the self-accomplished feeling is very rewarding for the ones involved. Here is a link of the video from the last one if anyone have interest https://vimeo.com/133150713

Do you have any bad habits, and if so, do they affect your work?

There is a thin line between the fruitful time finding new source material and entering an alienating void while I’m on the internet.

 

Are there anything else we should know about your works?

Although the elements found in my paintings carry their own history and narrative, which is important, I like to challenge the viewer to not only create their own connections, but also to it see as it is: an construction of layers of paint on a surface, that resonates with the intrinsic nature of creativity and expansion of reality that we as people have and need.

For more of Gabriel Secchin's work: http://www.gabrielsecchin.com.br/