Carla Cascales Alimbau x TOTEM COLLECTIVE: Enchanting a New Spanish Minimalism
Carla Cascales Alimbau is probably the perfect representation of a modern day creative in perfection. The 28-year-old Barcelona based painter/sculptor/designer and her unique modern approach to the minimalist aesthetics, painting breathtakingly sensual lines and magically touching sculptures that takes on the idea of imperfection.
Carla’s work and style crafts a new path that is different and unique to the Spanish art scene today, while also engaging her audience in a new and digitally savvy way. Throughout her different spheres of creation, she remains cohesive and coherent, bringing the natural body lines on the paintings and transform into the soft shapes of sculptures, everything so tender, sensual and fluid. It took our breathes away the very first time we encountered her, and her impeccable personality impressed us even further.
TOTEM COLLECTIVE had the chance to collaborate with this young talent where Carla hand painted different TOTEM Patches using her special technique, portraying sensually outlined female bodies using them most minimal lines and left the rest to an inherent imagination.
1. Your sculpture works and paintings are so different but so coherent in a minimalist and modern way that embraces clean lines and seeing the unseen to me. And the sculpture installations almost generates a sense of zen and peace that reminds me of Japanese Buddhist temples. Are these some of the inspirations you have in mind? What would you say was your initial influence?
I am fascinated by the Japanese view of beauty, specifically by the ‘wabi-sabi’ movement and their admiration for the imperfect, mutable, and incomplete things. It is so different from the admiration of perfection or the fear of the passing of time we have in western countries. Another concept I love in the Japanese culture is ‘kintsugi’, a technique to repair fractures of ceramic with resin sprinkled with gold. It suggests that breakage and repairs are part of the history of an object and it’s shown instead of being hidden.
These concepts apply not only to objects but also to people. We need to accept that time passes by and consider it an element of beauty. Showing our scars make us stronger. All these concepts about being in harmony with life is what I try to communicate in my work.
I am also specially inspired by the architects of the Modern Movement for changing our conception of a space to be lived like Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe, Tadao Ando, Frank Lloyd Wright and Alvar Aalto; and finally I admire the Bauhaus way of seeing art a a whole, mixing architecture with painting, design, sculpture…
2. The first time I saw your paintings on the TOTEM Patches, I was stunned by how simple the lines could so perfectly portray a woman's sensuality through the shape of a body. The woman feels modern and powerful. Is that how you would describe your own personality?
I try to extrapolate this simplicity to all areas of my life. I believe that if we remove all the ornaments, we come to the truth of things, their nature. I like people who show themselves as they are, without appearances, although it is not easy many times to show our weaknesses, it is for me the only way to live our true self. This sensuality comes in my opinion in a very natural way just by showing the essence of the body.
3. You mentioned imperfection as a big part of your inspirations and they are all very delicate emotions as well as female body shapes. Is this (my personal guess) a conversation that counters the social norm of women objectification?
In my opinion, I think we try to fit in society constantly to be accepted and that makes us feel empty, for much time of my life I always felt that way, but I discovered that if I looked inside myself and was more faithful to what I really want I feel more at peace. That started two years ago and it is when I have creatively been more productive, I always like to apply this feeling to my works, I also think it is a journey for life, every day to learn a little more to be yourself.
4. Madrid or Barcelona? Why? What is the current Barcelona creative scene like? I have heard great things about the energy at the moment but at the same time about the Spanish creative centre moving towards Madrid. What's your thought on this? (I unified those two)
Barcelona is the city where I was born and I have lived all my life, Barcelona is the city of my friends and my family, the Mediterranean, the sea breeze. I love living in Barcelona, but I have to admit that Madrid has given me the opportunity to truly live from my arts, my first solo exhibition was in Madrid and from there it has allowed me to devote myself in depth to my artistic work. In my opinion Madrid is now very powerful cultural and creative center, there is always an incredible artistic offer and they have always welcomed me very well, so since they are only two hours by train between one and the other, so I will say that I am really happy to be able to come and go often.
5. We love your personal style as well and seems like you take great care of your personal aesthetics. How would you describe yourself if not an artist/sculptor?
I love my works to show values that once I gave them importance they changed things in my life. I am still in the process of learning so it is a way for me to have this values always present and to reflect this personal evolution.
I would love to share with my artwork the importance of getting to the essence of things and not just staying on the surface; the value of respecting Nature and understanding we are part of it; the appreciation of the beauty of imperfect, irregular and simple things and the passing of time; and the importance of being true to oneself. I am not good at writing stories or composing music so my way of sharing this is with sculpture or painting. The values are always the same and from there I develop different creations. I work exploring natural materials, combining them, giving them shape but respecting its originality, finding the balance between geometry and texture, between simplicity and essence. It is also very important for me working with my hands to put my energy in what I do.