23 October 2013


Cristina Moreno García filmstill_Samaritana_72dpi Cristina Moreno García filmstill_Samaritana4_72dpi Cristina Moreno García filmstill_Samaritana3_72dpi Cristina Moreno García filmstill_Samaritana2_72dpi
Samaritana's Factory Reset, 2013, HDV, 10:03 Min., 16:9, Color, Stereo, Video still © Cristina Moreno García

In her thoughtful and poetic video works, the 1985-born Spanish artist Cristina Moreno García often merges real and imaginary memories. Without any tacky tools or cliches, peaceful images silently transmit a sense of melancholia. Cristina's work is narrative without forcing the audience to follow the exact storyline – she uses personal imagery without telling too much about herself. "Samaritana's Factory Reset", a recent work of hers, is currently on display at the Goldrausch-Scholarship show "Körnelia", which is a group exhibition at Galerie am Körnerpark in Berlin-Neukölln. In an interview Cristina told me about her relation to memories, the reason why she decides to 'lie' to the audience and how her work got more political than she had planned it...

Anna-Lena Werner: Cristina, your video work is often concerned with the integration of real and imaginative memory. Can those two levels exist next to each other?
Cristina Moreno García: Totally. I think that in my case the boundary hardly exists. For me, the remembering process has so much to do with imagination and filling the gaps, especially about childhood. It’s so interesting to reconstruct the pieces from the past into the present with complete freedom, so I am able to rewrite my own story.

Anna: Even if the content of your art does not require a proof of truth as the daily news do, aren't you however lying to your audience? 
Cristina: Yes, that’s a bit true. But I don’t consider it a lie, because in the end it is the truth that I tell myself and in which I like to believe. It’s just like when your grandfather tells you incredible stories about war times that you really enjoy to listen to, and it doesn’t matter anymore if they are a hundred percent truthful or not.

Anna: To take this issue to a political level: Do you think that collective memory is also manipulated by exaggerations or imaginary elements. 
Cristina: Yes.

Anna: Can you give me 3 words that you connote with the word "memory".
Cristina: Subconscious, storage room, shelter.

Anna: You are currently participating in the Goldrausch-Scholarship show "Körnelia" at Galerie im Körnerpark. Your video "Samaritana's Factory Reset" (2013) is dedicated to a closed metal factory in your home town Saragossa in Spain. Since you now live in Berlin, what made you go back there?
Cristina: I made the decision of going there, not because of living in Berlin, but because I have been abroad since 4 years. The perception of everything has changed a lot, therefore I’ve tried to communicate through that distance with my work – first with my own past and now as well with my own country.

Anna: The protagonist – an older woman who still resides in the factory – didn't want to let you film in the beginning. Was it hard for you to earn her trust? What is your method?
Cristina: Yes and no. It was hard, because it was a delicate moment, in which she had to take important decisions. My intention of walking around with the camera was taken very much as a hazard, especially for the family. The factory should be under the industrial heritage protection by UNESCO, but due to all the economical problems they needed to cover the debts with private money. A miracle for her would be to find a private investor, who would want to keep the place and make something new out of it, like a museum or cultural centre. But, regrettably enough, this is not a regular practice for investors in Spain.

Anna: You integrated your own voice-over in the video, which makes it even more personal. How do you position yourself in the story that you are telling?
Cristina: I like to overtake the role of the narrator, because I am the one telling the story. I don’t want to make a general truth out of it, but rather position myself as the one that is reading out loud. At the same time, I like to put the viewer in front of my videos as if they were listening to a novel in first-person narrative.

Anna: The work documents the consequences of Spain's financial crisis, as the factory was put up for sale in execution and is supposed to be replaced by a high-rise-building. Would you say that it is a political art work?
Cristina: I think, in some subtle way, I managed to include this layer in the work. In the beginning I was only willing to show the poetical reality of an ancient factory that slowly doesn’t seem to fit in the rest of the city development anymore. When I went there for the first time after many years, I became aware of the moment’s fragility, which is absolutely related to the difficult times that many countries in Europe are going through right now.

Anna: "The Shepherd's Return" – a poetic and comment-less work of yours – was recently shown in Nuremberg at the "Offen Auf AEG" Event. You link the short video to the farming life of your grandparents' generation. Do you feel like the past was a more honest, a better time after all?
Cristina: I like to think about the past as something very quiet and peaceful. Therefore memory is something that you have the chance to build yourself. It’s very satisfying to find a way to talk about something that fascinated you as a child and now you see it somehow reflected in another place or situation, like some kind of time-travelling-mirror.

Anna: What inspires you?
Cristina: Inspiration comes from daily live. I don’t usually search for certain topics, but the topic normally comes to me first. Observation and contemplation of reality can bring you to surprisingly great ideas and projects.

Artist Website: cristinamorenogarcia.es
Vimeo channel: vimeo.com/morenogarcia

Körnelia – Goldrausch 2013

Galerie im Körnerpark
Schierker Str. 8
12051 Berlin-Neukölln
Opening Hours: Tue - Sun 10 - 20h

Cristina Moreno García filmstill_Hirten_72dpi Cristina Moreno García
Cristina Moreno García 'Die Rückkehr des Hirten', 2013, HD-Video, 5:03 Min., 16:9, Color, Stereo, Video still © Cristina Moreno García; Portrait Cristina Moreno García, Foto: Victor Molero Martín;