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Why do you keep on working? … DK/NC


17 August 2020
This month's topic: why do I continue

Why do you keep on working? … DK/NC


Right to roam

“El hombre es un tipo que va de un espacio al otro,

que no puede quedarse en el mismo espacio.

Es decir que el hombre es todos los días un peregrino,

un tipo que va de un lugar a otro.

Lo importante es el trayecto” (Francesc Tosquelles)

“La langue est le seul refuge / La llengua m’és l’unic refugi ” (Hélène Cixous)

I read Tosquelles and Cixous and I can’t stop thinking about creation as this vagabond – impregnable refuge. Without objectives, without clear targets, but also absolutely far from the drifts conceived by Debord, because it is not a “letting go”, it is simply “going from one place to another”. An erratic wandering not always kind, rarely kind. But it is this vagabondism that allows us to self-manage narcissism, exhibitionism, to find the Other without letting ourselves be swallowed up. It does not depend on the moments, it does not depend on the crises. Very unglamorous. Vagabondism/ Inevitable wandering.


JORGE SATORRE, artist, Ciudad de México, July 23rd

Every year I ask myself this question at some point without managing to find an answer, although in my case I would have to add at the end … in this? fortunately I always fail taking different paths. I have to say that recently I found a more or less clear reason to continue enduring the uncertainty: we artists have one of the best jobs to accompany us in our old age.



Of the answers given by different writers to the question that the publisher of the magazine Littérature asked its readers – “Pourquoi écrivez-vous?” – I am very interested in Picabia’s, who said that he did not know and hoped that he would never know. I believe that this ignorance and the desire to preserve it has to do with doing something for reasons that cannot be explained by the logic of utility, nor are they too close to the dynamics of profit and success that move the wheels of the world.

I don’t know exactly why I do this work, but I sense that, like many artists, curators or creators from other disciplines, the reason why I work (or rather, the reason why I do this work specifically and not so many others) has to do with the search for meaning. I really like being a curator because it gives me repeated opportunities to reflect, to question things, to learn, to make mistakes, to ask myself questions and to rehearse answers. And, above all, because it allows me to do all these things with the artists, the curators, the thinkers and the other creative and intellectual agents with whom I collaborate in each project. I know why I like my work, but I don’t know exactly why I do it, and I hope I never find out. I have the feeling that if at some point I can answer this question clearly, perhaps the time will have come for me to leave this work and devote myself to something else.



By choice and by necessity. Working in art is necessary, it is not easy and it does not generate the economic stability to pay the basic bills to survive. Working in art has to do with questioning things, with discontent, with seeking and generating meaning. The problem is that its value and necessity are not recognized. Montserrat Roig wrote this a long time ago: “Culture is the most revolutionary political option in the long term”. It is not by chance that it is in the spotlight right now.


MONTSE FRISACH, Ripollet, July 29th

I work because I thought I didn’t work. The self-deception, absolutely conscious is huge. Every morning I am torn out of bed by a childish belief that during that day I will not work but create something new and beautiful or make a useful and beneficial contribution to humanity. And the belief is renewed the next day. I am convinced that I do not work to pay the electricity bill or the purchase of the supermarket. This fantasy, this thought parallel to reality, still drives me to work. To finish it off, Cesare Pavese was right: “Lavorare stanca“. Very much so. Just pretending not to work dignifies and improves me. Just immersed in a 4-year-old fantasy, I survive the work.


LAURA OLEA LÓPEZ, Maliaño, Cantabria, July 31st

I’m still working in the cultural field just like I’m still scrolling down on Instagram. Day in and day out, during working hours, without leisure time, day out too. Producing, consuming without ceasing to produce, regurgitating from inbred processes. From the vigil, maybe the dreaming? Dazed and hypnotized I continue.

I continue to work as a curator just as I continue to file, save, store, classify and pile up references, artist’s names, possible collaboration? oh this call cannot be passed on to me! Among those piles there are things that I like, news, some joys, a lot of gluttony, gadgets, things to investigate, 5 tips for something that I’ll read later, something to see/do/produce when I have time #diy, something with charm that makes me dream of what it would be like if I wasn’t… And memes, I still keep a lot of memes.

I keep working on scheduling activities between chats, emails, likes, emojis, notes in a notebook, appointments in the agenda, tasks… POMODORO! break notification while I prepare the working group session to rethink the cultural production models that perpetuate this precariousness.

I continue to work from anxiety, waiting for the arrival of the automation of the production processes because I believe that, then yes – perhaps – we would dignify the cultural worker.

Photographs taken during the digital performance by Paula García-Masedo and Andrea González in the symposium “De sobremesa: Internet 3.0. De la utopía a la distopía” by Juan David Galindo Guarín (La Escocesa, Barcelona. 2018).


ENRIC MAURÍ, artist, July 29th

When I was 8 years old, I saw Dali on TVE, Dali with the artichoke, Dali hallucinating… From that moment on, although Dalí was never my idol, but he was a point of reference, I understood through that action that the art world was the only space where you could go in the opposite direction without being taken for a madman, but as a visionary who swarms the world. Of these, a few can live very well, but the great majority are suckers, but as for me, money doesn’t matter in some way and what matters to me is to be as free as possible in the world, for me, the world of art is a path of freedom. And I know that everything has its price, as Brossa said: “The price of my freedom is economic restriction”, and as Benet Rosell also said when he collaborated in my project “La gran Festa. Això no és una crisi, això és una estafa”: “I feel like a fish in water”.

In relation to the question of why I continue working, the answer is because I’m hooked on art.


DUAE COLLECTIVE ( Silvia Campidelli y Luna Coppola) Visual artists, Barcelona, July 30th

Our greatest source of inspiration is our restlessness, which made us meet and fall in love for the first time in New York in 2014. A restlessness towards “the shadow behind the bush” that does not disappear, that remains at any time our fertile ground.

Since Victoria and Noah were born, we have decided to live fully as artists and to unite art and motherhood in this experience. In anyone’s life, being a father or mother is a wonderful change, but it is also a radical one that sometimes makes you doubt why you are still working in this sector.

As it happens to all parents the first time, the birth of Victoria and Noah has brought many changes to our lives. The most important change has been to reconcile these two roles and to continue working with more enthusiasm and concern.

We have understood that being a mother and a full-time professional artist are not mutually exclusive roles. We like to think that the two roles do not compete but reinforce each other and that is why we continue to work.


JULIA VARELA, artist, Barcelona, July 30th 

por lo que no se vive


ENRIC FARRÉS-DURAN, artist, August 2nd

SARA AGUDO MILLÁN, artist, Barcelona, August 2nd

I continue because in the processes of my work I find ways to understand reality and situate myself in it.


MERCEDES PIMIENTO, artist, Sevilla, August 3rd

It is easy to answer why we started working: because of the vocation, the inclination towards certain types of practices or ways of doing and thinking. But it is difficult to answer why we continue. The question implies a series of work, personal and economic discomforts that are constantly pushing us to stop. I imagine that it is the enthusiasm that makes us continue.


AURÉLIEN LE GENISSEL, Independent curator, Writer, Art Director, August 3rd

Because we were never taught to be bored comme il faut.

– PD: «Tout le malheur des hommes vient d’une seule chose, qui est de ne pas savoir demeurer en repos, dans une chambre.» Blaise Pascal


MARÍA JOSÉ RIBAS BERMÚDEZ, artist, Barcelona, August 3rd

I keep working because it’s the way I find meaning and interest in life, in the good life.


GABRIEL VIRGILIO LUCIANI, independent curator,  Barcelona, August 3rd

As simple as it may seem: passion… I am lucky to have it, to have a direction not only of research that is directed to the production of academic, school, useful, acceptable, hermetic content, but a research that starts from questions that have accompanied me since my childhood… exploring these questions, generating theoretical content of my own, not tainted by the pressure of resembling the great male philosophers of the last century, is very liberating, and fertile for passion… makes your whole life transform in possible examples and links to your project… I have the privilege of working with Jara Rocha, who pushes me a lot and helps passion to ferment in a healthy and regenerative way instead of calming down and taming it… always having been a skillful observer, it was time to solidify liquidly and poetically the way I use theory to help myself with personal issues… intra-explorations have extra echoes.

The infra beats and meso buzzes… learning to relate to the world through slightly hacked work, being elegantly disobedient, can be just another dialectical and polylectical act between you, your interior, your environment, etc… I am lucky to have good parents, so I have been able to focus on all this and live a more than decent life while working…


DA ROCHA, artist, Vigo, August 4th

It’s been almost half a year since the collapse in the neighbourhood where I was born (factory and stadium) and it’s becoming increasingly difficult for me to call what I do work. The time frame in which the work is not yet paid is the hardest, because on the one hand you don’t see the fruits and on the other, to abandon the activity would be to have given away all this effort forever. So I work for the future. And for money. Not wanting to sell my mental and physical health on unfair treatment, I don’t want what in my neighbourhood is known as work. I also work for pride. No one has taught me exactly what to do in this job and my main job is to find out how to turn it into money. Because money is what I can use to solve many of the problems that keep me from focusing on my work. I work so that one day I can call what I do work.


NICA PLANAS, artist, Barcelona, August 7th 

I’ve asked myself several times why I do what I do, but this is the first time I’ve been asked why I still do it. I’ve never thought about it. For a start I think that because I do, because I want to and because I feel like it. Maybe because I cannot foresee what I will do and I am curious to know. Or maybe it’s because it’s what I need most at the time and because I think it’s much healthier for me to do it than not to do it. And because if I stopped I would regret it and miss it a lot.


RIA GÜELL, artist, Barcelona, August 7th

These days I’ve been thinking about the question “Why do I keep working?” and it seems to me that it only makes sense if it’s aimed at some group of amateurs or some club of “working millionaires”, because any professional guild other than that of art workers would surely respond with an insult. But the fact is that among art workers the question seems not to sound so crazy, and that’s what makes you think. Either we art workers are seen as a kind of amateur who earn their living in other fields, or we are all thought to be rich, or perhaps we are seen as a kind of missionary who works for love, for faith in Art and Culture, for our own will.

Having said that, I will answer the question:

First, I continue to work because there are institutions that continue to demand the work and presence of that strange public figure called “artist”. And secondly, because this practice that I call “work” is often confused with that other practice that I call “existence”. That is, because, as things stand, it is the best option for me to devote my time to.


CLAUDIO CORREA, artist, Santiago de Chile, August 9th

“Because it allows me to look at the stars

and with one blow leave seeing stars”.

Gisela Chillida (Barcelona, 1987) is an art critic, independent curator and cultural manager. She writes regularly for the magazines and publications Bonart, Hänsel i Gretel, Núvol-Digital de Cultura, La Maleta de Portbou, Politica&Prosa and Diario Levante. Recently, he has published the book “Galeries d’art a Catalunya” and the catalogue of the exhibition “Tàpies/Alcaraz/Rubert” at Kunst Lager Haas in Berlin. Some of her exhibitions as a curator have been shown in the galleries Àngels Barcelona (Enésima Intempestiva), Arte Aurora (El pliegue y Seastanding) and Àcid Sulfúric (Europolis), the space Cera 13 (Luna y polvo) or in Fase Espacio de Creación y Pensamiento. Since 2018, she coordinates the Loop Discover Award, held within the framework of the LOOP Barcelona video art festival and fair.

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