Cuco (Javier Carrera) has been the only artist who has painted directly on our billboard itself after the almost ten months that the project Ocho por Tres has been working on. To follow the industrial process of the advertising companies has been one of the common languages of all interventions to highlight the contrast with the usual use of this space. On the other hand, regarding the lack of an absolute cession of the surface, it has been necessary to adjust to the conditions of the leasing company. This in turn has allowed us to follow the usual procedures of these companies and learn their operation from within, thanks to the grant from the Villalar Foundation.
On this occasion we followed the same technique, placing a printed image that showed a multitude of random spots on a paper. But unlike other interventions and after several weeks of management, we obtained the necessary permits to make a direct intervention of the artist over his own image. This way, we left the original photo for two weeks - perhaps the curious walkers would begin to glimpse the hidden faces - and in the half of the month that corresponded to his intervention, Cuco stood in front of it and started asking all of us what shapes we could imagine on the spots.
It was during the past December 2 when, without the slightest laziness, the artist went up and down, moved the ladder to one side to another, trying to locate the indicated figures and striving to place himself in the eyes of people through their descriptions. With this happening, the artist makes the passer-by a participant (or even an author, in a way) in his own work, allowing Ocho por Tres to continue branching into new forms of expression.
Here the documentation of the activity by videographer Julien Gallez (English subtitles available on Youtube):
Just as it's not the first project in which Cuco involves multiple people (for example the collaborative mural made in the past edition of the Festival Asalto in Zaragoza), it is not the first time that this artist from Valladolid explores the suggestive world of spots. This use of randomness as a source of inspiration and interpretation inevitably recalls "Hirameki", the successful book by the Japanese Peng + Hu who precisely found his "ray of inspiration" in the dot of a cow with the shape of a famous movie star. It consists of an enormous assortment of watery shapes and colors that invite the observer to draw on them, finishing those creatures and objects perceived in an absolutely subjective way.
First mess and then control. Or, why not, to guide the taint towards the figure in mind as sumi-e does. Without retouching or modification, this Asian technique seems to blur reality itself with the help of black ink instead of defining chance. This contradiction is very captivating: the fascination with the spontaneous trace and the command of its pristine technique through meditation and practice. Some examples by Endre Penovác:
Nature becomes a blur and a blur becomes nature. This is the case of Din Matamoro and his little animals found in the remains of shells, bags, algae or pieces of bread. The Galician artist reminds us that you can paint without brush and give what seems to be nothing the push it needs to become something. This was what Kike García was telling me during Cuco's action in Ocho por Tres, who also mentioned Gilbert Legrand and his book "Trésors surprises" ("Surprised treasures") in which the author reveals the most surprising scenes in each everyday object with a sense of humor reminiscent of the illustrative style of our Cuco or the well-known graphic artist Jean Jullien.
The key is in contemplation. Without a curious character these gears would't move and the objects would be reduced to a single function. But the ability to find new meanings in things is precisely what makes us imagine different ways of living and, therefore, evolve. And this is what Javier Carrera, Cuco, has achieved with his intervention in Ocho por Tres: reminding us of the observer we all have inside.