Rafael Parra Román at Pop;68

Dez 8, 2015


Rafael Parra Román is presenting his first show in the Cologne-based Pop;68 Gallery. Untitled ‘Fooled‘ the exhibition retraces the aftermath of the American glory years with a hint of irony and humor particular to the Spanish, artist and curator.


photoWertical:For our readers who do not know about you how would you present yourself?
Rafael Parra Román: I am a multidisciplinary artist (painting, collage & photography) born in 1981, in Málaga, South of Spain. I moved to the United States in 1999 to study art; after finishing my undergraduate and graduate studies, I went back to Spain in 2008. At the moment, I alternate my art career with curatorial gallery projects.

W:You obtained in 2011 a MA in Curatorial Studies. Does this background impact the way you create? Do you see an art piece and an exhibition as two different entities or two entities completing each other?
RPN:Definitely, the years that I spent studying art history and curatorial studies have influenced the way that I make art today. I approach any of the subject matters that I work with from a more mature position, trying to understand how every new piece is being loyal to the subject matter of the series. When I was younger, I was more impulsive and I was more worried about the visual impact of the piece rather than its balance with the rest of the works from the same series. Now I look to my art making in a more global way, being more dynamic and working in a few pieces at the same time, trying to approach the subject in a more mature way and not so worry about mediums, materials and aesthetics.

I see an art piece and an art exhibition like two entities completing each other. I believe that you can have in front of you a group of fantastic and amazing art works but this fact doesn´t mean that together they will make a great exhibition. To be able to have a great exhibition, the works (it doesn´t matter if they are from the same artist or if it is a group show) need to be faithful to the subject matter of the show, close to the previously fixed idea of the exhibition.

W:Which medium suits you the best? Why?
RPN:In my work the subject always comes first, the medium second, so usually I´m open to many possibilities. In this particular show, the use of collages and original vintage photos were the perfect tools to represent the “fake visual irony” that I was looking for in this series of works.

W:Your art mixes old medium with new ones. Which approach do you have to each of them?
RPN:I love to use old medium because I always feel that these precious documents (that had been forgotten in boxes, giving away to antique stores or simply thrown in the trash) have souls; they had been emotional references for many people through the years and with some of my works I give them the chance to have a “second life” and the opportunity to become something else. The mix of old mediums with new ones is a simple way to approach the subject matter using a contemporary point of view.

W:As an art historian how would you describe your work?
RPN:I’m not much of a populist when it comes to art appreciation, and I’m more interested in affecting a few people deeply; about my work I could say that lately I intend the work to be a slow read and I want it to be discomforting. The process and the medium are not that important for me at the moment.

W:What are your plans for the future?
RPN: Right now I´m working in my next project that will be held in Spring 2016 and it will take place in LA. I´ll be sharing gallery space with a great artist and dear friend, Jessica Levene, who studied with me at the San Francisco Art Institute. The project is called “I wish you were here” and I´m very excited with this new series.

Built to last
Rafael Parra Román, Built to last, 2015 Mixed media on paper 38 x 38 cm

An education
Rafael Parra Román, An education, 2015 Mixed media on paper 20 x 23 cm

Perfect spot
Rafael Parra Román, Perfect spot, 2015 Mixed media on paper 38 x 38 cm

Rafael Parra Román


Bismarckstrasse 68
50672 Köln