We talked about their work and production practices of the artist duo Paul Anton and Bea Aiguabella, who bring together their artistic creations in Madrid.
Who are Anton and Aiguabella? Can you briefly tell us about yourselves? How did your journey to becoming a globally recognized artist duo begin?
We are Paul Anton and Bea Aiguabella, an artistic duo conforming an art studio. We are both from Spain and we met studying architecture. After studying we traveled together to Mexico and to London where we worked for Foster + Partners. After that, we studied our Master in Fine Arts in the University of the Arts London in the Wimbledon College. In 2018 we moved back to Madrid to start our shared studio with the same essence.
We are also partners and we have three children. We share everything. We like how a journalist defined us recently; an artist with two heads. We started in a very natural way, we liked what we were doing and we understood each other very well. While working as architects we were combining the artistic production till one day we decided to bet all our efforts to the art cause and leave architecture behind.
You emphasize nature and sensory experiences as a common theme in your art. Can you share the story of being inspired by nature and how you integrate sensory experiences into your art?
We are in a way very old school and demodé; we like the basque and Russian constructivisms and American abstract expressionisms. We very much like the idea of basque sculptor Jorge Oteiza seeking for the aesthetic being where you combine form and matter and that brings value activating the space through perception and sensory experience. Our aim is then to provoke a reaction of contemplation, something very physical and natural becoming very spiritual. Something very raw and natural authentic evoking a sort of well being in the act of contemplation. Something that makes you wonder and enjoy. Something at the same time comfortable and annoying.
Color plays an important role in your work. What emotional and symbolic meanings do you aim to express in your color choices?
We very much like the sayings and the classes of professor Joseph Albers. It is not a game of colour, it is a game of perception. Color is one of our most important ingredient yet it is always extremely subtle and serene. An eloquent silence. We don’t like to scream with colour but to slowly whisper to your ear. Our art is meant to be seen watching closely, you are never going to be surprised or shocked by our art if you are in a busy mood.
“We like colour to bring a mood and a sort of calmness but also to be our allay to trick you and your perception inviting you to wonder.”
What factors do you consider when researching materials or choosing materials for your new projects? Can you tell us a little about the material choices in your work?
We like to use the least materials as possible and the least glue as possible. Our moto with materials is: be real, be sincere. We inherited this from architecture in the way of not hiding building materials, all that you see is what it is. If we don’t like how it looks we don’t use it and find a better solution. Our works look simple but they hide a lot of science and engineering on how the material is going to be seen and be part of the work. We like raw, authentic, prehistoric and basic materials. That is why we are against the idea of decoration, it has to be real and you have to see what it is. As our beloved Adolf Loos used to say “Ornament is crime.”
Which of your works has excited you the most regarding the design process and the final product?
We think the latest. We built a body of work that talks very well between Anton’s and Aiguabella’s work in terms of spiritual expression. We started a strong dialogue with colour and form and it looks like a real whole for the very first time in a long time. Galleries had forced us to show our given name and last name as of today is not as common to be part of an art studio. That sadly had made us make our paths a little bit apart. After last summer 2023 we strongly decided to continue with our respective investigations but to join together to the same aesthetic expression. I think in our last solo show we did very well and, proof of that, is that people bought from one another indistinctly without us saying whose was whose.
Can you tell us a little about the sources of inspiration behind your work? Who are the names you follow with curiosity in this field or different disciplines?
We get inspired a lot in architecture. These days we look a lot to Norm architects and the genious John Pawson and David Chiperfield. As of artists we have a strong connection with Jorge Oteiza, Kazimir Malevitch, Agnes Martin and Lee Ufan. Nevertheless we get the most inspired by cultures and ways of living. In a way of the spiritual. Our latest trip to Japan brought us a new spiritual optic. That made our work change.
Are you excited about the future, and what are your plans?
We plan to travel to India to find a new spiritual being and way of thinking of life. We can’t wait to meet a new culture and get nurtured and influenced for our next works.