After party at The Birdcage, 80 Columbia Road, London, E2 7QB from 21.00.


Click here to see images of 'Home Movies' the Adrià Julià Show



An interview between Ryan Gander, Adrià Julià & Rebecca May Marston, 25th of June 2007.

RMM: This is different because all of the interviews we’ve done so far have been recorded face-to-face and we wanted them to have that conversational inflection. Nevertheless, we’ll start by email because you live in LA… Adrià, when was the last time you were in your studio and what were you doing?
AJ: It was yesterday night, Sunday night. The studio gets quiet during the weekends, I like it. I had rented a deck for a couple of days and I wanted to finish using it before returning it in the morning. That same night, a friend came over at 11 to borrow some lighting equipment. I left too late.
RMM: You’re the only artist who’s never been to the gallery before the show. I don’t know how much you know of it? It’s funny that you’ve never been with the show you proposed because Associates is tiny and has no windows for air and it’s going to be August, you’re blacking the place out so I have to sit in a dark dingy sweat-pit for a month…
AJ: Ouch. Well then… now I can picture the gallery much better, what with all the sweat and odours. Perfect for summer naps. The last time I was in London was in ‘88. I stayed for a day or two and I recall not much more than the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace. According to the main picture on the Associates website, the gallery looks like something similar: guards, horses, and a palace for napping.
RMM: That’s funny. Tenuous similarities. What’s the closest thing to Associates in LA?
AJ: Here in Los Angeles there are also a few flourishing non-profit projects and/or spaces catering for artists that would otherwise not have a voice… A couple of examples come to mind: The Backroom, Art2102 and maybe the no longer Champion Fine Art.
RMM: Why do you want to do a show here?
AJ: I have never shown my work in the UK before. I am looking forward to seeing it in that context. I am drawn to the different aspects of translation and to its ultimate failure. The translation in the film will dub British English over American English…
RMM: Why do you dub it to local dialect? Hoxton Street dialect is quite rough and Taylor is such a prim, white, middle class woman. Did you know that about Hoxton Street? That gap in translation makes it a new work from the original.
AJ: When I first showed this project in Barcelona I immediately decided to dub it into Catalan. At the time this was motivated by my wanting the footage to be “easy” to understand for the locals. I didn’t want them to be reading subtitles and didn’t expect them to understand English, much less any of the subtleties. I used the professional techniques available for run-of-the-mill blockbuster movies: lip synchronization and professional actors. The film becomes more accessible, direct and contextualized for the audience. I am acutely aware of, as well as intrigued by, the problems generated by translations, particularly when both the source and target languages are exceedingly local. Precisely because something in your own dialect would seem easier to watch, an uncomfortable relationship is spontaneously and unavoidably generated between the old image and the new sound. This new relationship becomes all the more exaggerated the more local one tries to become. This would also be why I proposed to dub the project into Hoxton Street dialect as opposed to, say, a more homogenous and perhaps friendlier British accent. Every time the film is shown anywhere in the world, it has to utilize the language and dialect of the locality.
RMM: In the films you’re showing at Associates who are Taylor and Mike? How did you find them and how did the process of you finding something to film –their collections– happen?
AJ: I started my work on “Anatomies for a Common House” by researching representative housing developments around the Los Angeles area. Several initial visits to model homes for sale in Valencia as well as some very useful help from one of the real estate agents yielded a video-installation. I remained curious of the eventual fate of the houses for sale, which prompted me to return to those same homes for a follow-up to find out who had eventually occupied them. It was then that I ran into Taylor. She and her husband Mike had just moved into one of the homes. She told me that she had come to Los Angeles to become an actress, and had been trained professionally until she had married, which had halted her career. I asked her to talk me through her most precious and personal belongings exhibited in her house. And that would be exactly how her photo albums and her husband’s collection of sports memorabilia came into the picture.
RMM: Ryan said that he thought your work had a slowness and wisdom older than you…
RG: Not wisdom, maturity. I was trying to find the words to say that I think your work will be pretty alien in this context. You know the way artists’ practices that live in the same city can find a sort of style? Like the faux-modernist Modern Institute aesthetic in Glasgow, or the cowboy and cattle carcass aesthetic in LA. Your work won’t fit that snug into what’s going on in London maybe… I like that. And certainly the spatial dynamic of this show is the least like any other at Associates.
AJ: Can you tell me a little about this ‘cattle carcass aesthetic’?
RG: You know, those Chinatown shows that all looked like a stage set for a theatre adaptation of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
AJ: Ouff, I am here to get away from all that.
RG: It’s more about the work that is happening here in London being about a use of devices or a manipulation of materials to produce something preconceived, and the maturity I’m on about is a sort of simplicity in what you do, a straight-forwardness.
AJ: I think there is a type of spontaneity and performance in my works, like the fact the film of Taylor in her house showing her photo albums is a single shot and only one take. We rehearsed a bit, but in the end it was about that moment. I didn’t have a perfectly thought-out idea of the camera movements and stuff; it was more about the relationship between her and me with the camera. And that comes through in the work.
RMM: Why do you like 16mm?
AJ: I’m interested in its constraints, presence and economy. Filming on 16mm forces you to reduce and economize image. You can’t shoot for hours on end. You must consider its inevitable obsolescence, a resistance. There is much involved in the construction of a scene or even a single 16mm shot. Then there is the presence of the bulky camera and its noise, which establishes an altered relationship between the subject and the object.
RG: Is it that or is it to key the viewer into the idea of the weight of documentary?
AJ: No, not at all, it’s film, there are lots of documentaries done on video. I don’t see film being more documetaresque.
RG: Historically film is less prone to postproduction manipulation. The camera never lies my friend. I see film making a lot of little photos, video doesn’t do that.
AJ: Yes, but you are talking historically. Nowadays documentaries are shot mostly on video. There are definitely constraints to film but it’s because of the economy, it’s a ten minute reel… so you shoot ten minutes, and every minute costs a lot of money. When I went to Vietnam to make Truc Trang Walls I took one hours worth of film for a month. The economics and constraints make the work what it is.
RMM: We always do these questions so… what was the last show you saw and was it any good?
AJ: Charles Ray’s “Hinoki” at Regen Projects. It was great.
RMM: Where did you go to art school and why did you move to LA?
AJ: I went to Barcelona, Berlin then LA. In 2001 I moved to LA for a Masters because I wanted to go to Cal Arts, which had a really good art and film school. And for my work, I was working with a lot of wild west references.
RG: So why did you stay?
AJ: I like the place and when you finish your Masters you have an extra year on your visa to stay. I wanted to use that time and I was tired of moving around. I am still there because I guess it takes a long time to get used to stuff. When you stay in a place longer, it starts to become part of you, I didn’t want to start over again.
RG: When I was in LA with you, we spent a bit of time at the Mandrake bar, it reminds me of Stuart Bailey’s place, Dexter Sinister, in New York. Do you think those places are different to other artist led initiatives… and if so why?
AJ: I have never been to Stuart’s place, but if you’re buying I’m there. Mandrake and Associates don’t have much in common, Mandrake is a bar with an exhibition project-space.
RG: I mean the culture and people that surround it?
AJ: I don’t know. I have only ever seen you two and Sara at Associates.
RG: Is it necessary that you borrow my chesterfield sofa for your show?
AJ: Absolutely, just to piss you off is a good enough reason.
RG: Cheers. You are a nice anomaly amongst the Associates that all live here. Chin chin.


Adrià Julià was born in Barcelona in 1974 and is based in Los Angeles. He gained his BA Fine Art from Universitat de Barcelona, MA Fine Art from California Institute of Arts and studied at the Universitat der Kunste, Berlin. He has exhibited internationally in solo and group exhibitions since 2000.