One to Watch
Florencia Guerberof Has a Desire to Recreate the Drama of Existence
Florencia Guerberof’s practice is about experimentation. She works with a variety of mediums including painting, video, and photography and is also a trained dancer and theatre performer who finds inspiration in Japanese butoh theatre, known for its playful, grotesque imagery, unconventional movements, and taboo themes. Her practices go hand in hand. As a painter, she encourages spontaneity, allowing fluid gestures, stray marks, and unfinished sketches to guide her works.
Florencia is from Buenos Aires, Argentina and currently lives and works in London. She has a BA (First Class) in Painting from The Glasgow School of Art and studied art history at the University of Buenos Aires. Her works have been exhibited across the UK, including in the Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition in Glasgow, Scotland.
What are the major themes you pursue in your work?
I deal mainly with the drama of existence.
How did you first get interested in your medium, and what draws you to it specifically?
I’ve painted ever since I can remember. I used to paint like any child and I just carried on. To me, painting is vital. It is connected to desire. As much as I have a sexual drive, I have a desire to create.
How has your style and practice changed over the years?
I have become less representative and more experimental in the way I paint. I try to work faster and looser in the search for spontaneous marks, accidents, and more fluidity. I am trying to be less precious and rougher while handling the materials. In this way, the surface starts speaking for itself. I have trained simultaneously in visual arts and dance theatre. I have moved from painting to performance (Butoh dance). I have also explored video art and photography and at present, I keep combining different mediums. An artwork can sometimes trigger ideas for a theatre piece. I stage performances applying my own aesthetics. My painting and theatre practice always influence each other.
Can you walk us through your process? Do you begin with a sketch, or do you just jump in? How long do you spend on one work? How do you know when it is finished?
I always begin with a sketch. A preliminary drawing always turns out to be more interesting than a painting I have been working on for a long period. At the moment, I am making mainly sketches and seeing them already as artworks. Sketching allows me to explore ideas, setting myself free from the intention of finishing the piece. This results in the marks on the sketchbooks being always less restrained and more expressive. I love rediscovering old sketches. They are so genuine, simple and crazy. They make me laugh. A work is finished when I have stopped enjoying the process of making it.
If you couldn’t be an artist, what would you do?
I would ask myself what is preventing me from becoming one.
Who are some of your favorite artists, and why?
At the moment I enjoy discovering the work of artists I have never heard of. I am always on the look for new contemporary painting. An artist from my country that I really admire is the Argentinian painter Carlos Alonso. He has produced some really strong series on the brutality of the dictatorial regime of the 70’s in Argentina. He paints the reality of my country like no other.