This July, we attended the opening night of Sandra Partera’s exhibition Blackboard | 1982 at Artevistas
Gallery, returning to a world of chalk, slate, and blocks that we hadn’t visited since childhood.
We caught up with the Catalan artist after the gallery opening. Here’s what she had to tell us.
Who are you and what do you do?
I’ll reply to the question “Who are you?” with what I always say: today I’m not who I was yesterday, and tomorrow I won’t be who I am today. I’m someone who is under construction, constantly evolving. Every day I have new experiences that reveal something new about myself to me.
What do I do?
Well, I dedicate most of my time to painting, which is what I really like to do. It’s also absolutely essentialfor me to use it every day. I use other materials that help me express myself, too. For example, right now I’m experimenting with ceramics, which is offering me endless possibilities and which I also have a lot of fun with.
What’s the story behind your exhibition Blackboard | 1982?
My work always talks about me, really. About my experiences, my worries, my fears… My paintings are like brief chapters of my life, where I capture what I need to express.
Blackboard | 1982 has been the project I’ve dedicated the most time to. I’ve been exploring it for almost two years. It’s been a work of intense and exciting regression. Going backwards to move forwards, unleaning the learned to relearn what’s been forgotten and achieve a truly free, unbiased kind of expression.
All of us have scribbled on a blackboard at some point, right? Well, Blackboard | 1982 is a return to that game of drawing and erasing and redrawing from when I was a girl… Young children often play with blackboards—they’re an ephemeral and infinite kind of support where it’s always possible to start over.
Children are extraordinary beings, free of judgment and full of enthusiasm and imagination. They learn by playing, and I find this fascinating.
Why do you do what you do?
Because it’s fun! I’ve always liked to draw and paint. I remember asking my parents to take
drawing and painting classes when I was very little, and when I was nine I persuaded them
to sign me up for a studio school run by a painter in my neighbourhood. I didn’t stop going
to his classes until I started studying painting at the Escola Massana de Barcelona. Today I
can’t imagine my life without painting.
How do you work?
I’m very dedicated to my work and I try to find a balance between my profession and my family life. I dedicate at least six hours every day to working in my studio, and actually I never completely stop—it’s very difficult to separate one from the other. All the things that happen around me are little forms of input that give me the need to tell a new story. I work on paper a lot. I’m deliriously productive and paper lets me create and discard as much as I need to. It’s very liberating for me, as well as fun.
My creative process is never the same it depends a lot on the moment and the stage of my current project. I typically get tired of things quickly, so I always have new ideas and interests at hand.
My work is characterized by a great need to express myself freely, without limits or justifications. For me,painting is a game—a collaborative game without rules. No one wins, no one loses, and everything I do gives it the value it deserves, because each time I express myself I find new paths to follow.
What’s your story?
My story? My story is me, up to now.
I come from a family of pastry chefs. I grew up around huge quantities of raw material that became delicious pastries and often also incredible works of art. In my case, I soaked up a lot of effort, passion, and dedication in order to carry forward a very demanding artistic profession.
What’s your philosophy?
I think that if we had been taught that rules were made to be broken when we were children, we would probably own our freedom more as adults.
How has your method changed over time?
In the same way that I have. What a relief…
What art do you most identify with?
It’s hard to say… but if I picked a few references out of all the ones I could give you, I’d highlight Basquiat, Cy Twombly, Joan Mitchell, Carol Rama, and a very unknown but fascinating one, Josefa Tolrà, among others.
Because I can do what I love and I don’t owe anyone any explications.
Where’s your favourite place in Barcelona?
I’ve never thought about it before. The truth is that I don’t have a favourite place. This is making me think, since I don’t have one—I don’t even have a favourite colour. But where I most like to be is in my little studio in the neighbourhood of Gràcia. I like to wander the streets, so Passeig de Sant Joan is another place I like to be and take walks with my family.
Sandra Partera (Sabadell, 1979) graduated with a degree in Applied Arts and Artistic
Professions, specializing in Painting, at the Escola Massana de Barcelona (1999). She teaches
creative and experimental painting and guides creative processes in the studio classroom
“Sense Títol” (“No Title”) (2013).