Whenever I am in London, one of the first things I usually do is take a walk along the Thames from South Bank to Southwark or vice versa. Being a great admirer of abandoned buildings (which of course it is not, but it looks like one), I always enter the Oxo Tower Bargehouse, no matter what may be going on there at that specific moment.
In 2015 we were lucky to find an exhibition called "Shaped in Mexico" and enjoyed a long chat with painter and sculptor Raúl Cerrillo, who very willingly became our guide and explained his work to us. We exchanged addresses, so that I was able to contact him when I started working on my master thesis. He agreed to help me with it and gave me a skype interview in September 2016. Then Raúl told me that he has not got the time to write down all the things that are important to him and he expressed the wish that I maybe had the talent to write it. I sincerely hoped that I had, got started and published this interview in May 2017, when "Shaped in Mexico" was conquering Europe, taking place in Düsseldorf and Venice. I am highlighting it again now because I am delighted to announce:
In 2018, Raúl Cerrillo will be holding a solo exhibition in Hamburg
opening November 2nd, 7 pm
until November 23rd
at Mercedes Me, Ballindamm 17
You can find more information here.
Raúl Cerrillo talks about his art in his own words:
Raúl Cerrillo told me how his work is a meditation
"In my painting I am trying to not use my brain. Which is really difficult. Because most of the artists go to the studio with the grandiloquent idea to make a masterpiece. That is not what I do. In my case it‘s not about that, it‘s: I go to my studio every day as a monk. As a monk I mould my body. And to be connected with my work, with my place. So that‘s the point, like a meditation. But the meditation is not like the oriental meditation. In the Occident we are not capable to meditate in an oriental way, like the silence. We are another race. We are occidental. So for us it is better to think in beautiful landscapes, you know? To think in love, to think in many many things. And we got into meditation. Very strong. But we need more image, we need another, different thing. And this is how I meditate, you know? I close my eyes and I am thinking another planet. I create my own planet. I create my new species. Which is the same as us but more evolution. And right now, when I meditate, I keep continuining working that dimension. No? This is a good way for occidental people to meditate. The people, we are not just creating canvas. We close our eyes and we create another dimension. And we create it, and that exists. That exists because you create it. Like right now, this is right here, you exist because I am talking to you.
And the painting and my art is just a tool. It is just a documentation. The only rules that I have when I paint, is the size of the canvas. Yeah, it‘s a rule. You do everything into that square canvas, and that is a rule, okay! I just have a square canvas. And my rules: Always have fun. My rules right now are: Don‘t use the outside reality. I am not interested to use outside reality. I don‘t use photographs, it is just: I want to work with my experience. This is my first rule. My second rule when I am working a piece is: Feel like a channel, so this has work by itself. Because I have to recognize that my hands think by themselves. Not just my hands. When you use your hands a lot, your hands think by themselves, because you are connected. So now I start working and I have music and I can talk – now I am dancing with the reality. Right now. Three years ago I couldn‘t do it. I couldn‘t do it three years ago. Like working and at the same time talking another topic, you know? Like a woman, you have that capacity not to be in very different moments. For men it is difficult, but now it‘s time to do it, you know?
Art is a medicine and painting means becoming a channel
So when I paint, I become like a channel. That‘s the point. You become a channel. Maybe not me. All the people who are very into one thing become a channel. The point is: Be concerned that you are a channel! That‘s the point. That‘s the difficult part. That is a very beautiful part and it is very easy to explain now, because the physic quantics and the pragmatic philosophy tell us that we are energy. We are spirits experimenting human experience. Not another way around. We are not human beings trying to be spiritual things, as the religions say. It‘s another way around. We are spirit people into this body - which is incredible, your body, it works by itself. And you know how to even pay attention. And we are here to experiment the material. To be aware that your body is a channel and you are divine. All the humans: We are divine. But the difficult part is like: We don‘t know that. We don‘t know that. That‘s the point. But we are divine people. We create things. Like God. We are different dimensional beings and we are evolving. We create tools to evolve. And so we are kind of little gods, you know? And the point is: Nobody tells that we are gods.
Art is a medicine because for me it is important to say that the human being is a multidimensional species, multidimensional humans. But we don‘t learn that in school. Why are we multidimensional people? Because first of all we are in the threedimensional. Right now, you know? We come to things, 3D. When we go to sleep, we go to a fourdimensional thing, you know? Our body is in bed but our soul goes away to another dimensional thing. The fivedimensional thing is when you create something, when you are creating something and you imaginate something. Your body is still there but you are in fact - you can talk to people, you can see, you can smell things. In fact if you close your eyes and you can say: I‘m in Manhattan and talking to a gringo in McDonald‘s and you can smell the hamburger, you know? We can do that as a species. This is the fivedimensional thing, you know, our capacity is huge, but we don‘t know how to use it or we are not concerned about it. So this is the fivedimensional thing. And the sixdimensional thing is when you meditate. When you meditate and you breathe, you have oxygen in your blood and you open your pineal, your glands, and your pituitary, opens, and that chemistry, oxytocin and different chemistry, put you in another state of consciousness. So when I start to realize that, I start to organise my body, my soul and I start to heal myself. Because I was always in the 3D-dimensional. Sometimes for people it is too much density. That is the point, you know? With humans, the frequency, it has to be like this: (forms a curved sinus wave pattern). But when you are in distress or when you are feeling fear or you are very nervous, your frequency starts to make like this, forms like: (formes a jagged pattern). When people are in distress, you are in the density. And it‘s difficult to sleep or difficult to create and difficult to meditate. It is difficult to go to another dimensional point. Because you are in the density. So the point is that art helps you as a tool to understand your own technology. Your own technology: When did you breathe, or you organised your feelings and put in another dimension where the vibration is like this (forms a curved sinus wave pattern). Is: Friend. Is: Lovely. This is our frequency. So the point is: When I paint or when I am creating something or drawing, my vibration starts to do very small, so I feel good. I start to breathe better. And now I am concerned that I am in another dimension or I am in another state of consciousness. So that helps people to evolve. Because and otherwise: If you are into the density, you are always using the brain. Because you have to figure out things. And if you are using your brain a lot, your ego is constantly following you. So the point is to show, to help, to invite people, to find this state of consciousness. I am drawing, talking, expressing, you know? And meditation. So at that point art is a good tool to heal. And the point is, in the history right now, you know, the neo-conceptualism, it is very important, because the people get excited, when we use the brain a lot. We get whaa: I feel very intelligent, the ego feels whaawhaa: I am a very intelligent guy! But the point is: Your soul, it doesn‘t feel that way. Your soul needs to be in a very particular vibration. So that all your body, all your technology work together. So that‘s the point.
So I want to approach my painting and the sculpture the same way. To pull time, information, experience - „chr“ (puts his opened hands together) - together. An object with enough energy to transmit frequency. That‘s the point. I think the artists right now, we have the capacity to express out of the closet. To say: I am a channel! I‘m a channel.
This is the beautiful part, but the dark side is that my psychiatrist ten years ago told me that I have schizophrenic problems. And bipolar problems. That was the density part. Why? Why? Because when painting or you are using your hands … when you use, you are concerned that you are in a different dimension. Just to receive a lot of information. You don‘t know how to put all that information. You don‘t know how to organise that information. And you start …myself, I started with panic attack. And I started with schizophrenic things and bury a lot of pain. In my soul. And you don‘t know what … you can‘t explain yourself: Why are you feeling that? Until you start to breathe and you start to organise. When you have chakras, different seven types of reality, and now you start to organise your body. And with your organisation, you become a channel. So all the information, you know, when you put it in your heart and your message and your consciousness and your sexuality and in your limitation, so now you have seven levels. Now when I have the information, I have a box where I can put information. And now I am a more organised human. And now that is why it is more difficult for me to make karma. That‘s another point. Because when you are organised, you are concerned when you create karma. And when you create karma, you fix that karma. So when you fix that karma: Your energy, it doesn‘t go away. You control your energy. That is why I have energy enough to write, to paint, to make a sculpture, to talk about how to organise the body. And now your energy – in Spanish it is „empowerment“. You have the power over your energy. You are totally in control of your energy and where you want to put the energy. Because when you are disorganised, you start to make a fight with your partner, with your mother, with your brother. And your energy is like: (growls). Because you are not organised. So for me, the art helps me to organise my soul and to put all the energy in the objects. So now the objects become not just a piece of art: Become an amulet, become something bigger than art.
It‘s difficult to evolve the soul or to heal by yourself: It is difficult because they don‘t have the tools. And what I am going to propose in my work is that art is the tool to go into your soul and find your divineness and be concerned that you are divine people. And the artists, we don‘t just make aesthetic objects. We have the capacitiy to divinize the objects.
The divinization of the objects through chakra energy
The human being, we come from chakras. It is vertical. That is why we are channels. So the energy is going like this (blows and shows a vertical line). And then, when the energy goes like this, it goes into our hands and puts the energy into the objects. That‘s a channel. It‘s like magic. It‘s magic! The people don‘t know that, but it is magic. You make a thinking of the universe, go to your body, to the energy, go to the thinking, to your heart, to your emotional body, and then go to the bidimensional paper or bidimensional thing or an object. So all that energy comes to a line or a gesture.
I mean it's an exercise. I work every day. I am very concscious about how to develop all the chakras. And the way that I am doing now: It's very simple: The first chakra: When you eat good and breathe, you feel good. This is the first chakra. The second is the sexuality, is the energy to go things. It is very important: You create things. You feel good, you create things, and then – this is the second chakra – the third chakra now is the vinculo, is how the society, how your parents ... how to deal with you. The four, which is the most important, is the heart, is the service, when you do things for the others with very unconditional love. Your service, your gift. When you have all this lined like this, little by little the next one is the message. When you have this line, this goes very strong (points down his arms): „foo“. That is the message. Because now you have the message to talk about service, to talk about your creativity, to talk about your health. And after you have this power with your message, the next one is the consciousness. Every day I check myself, like a doctor: How is all my chakras every morning? Every morning I ask to my day to give me the energy to do my purpose. And the last one is the spirituality. But when you work with the heart and mind, the message has got very strong. See, this is the circuit. You get into information, you make a vibration, you think how to go to pronounce that, and then „foo“. See? It's very simple. But if you are not organised all this line, your message is „mmm mmm“. So it is an excercise that I try to do everyday, because now I have to talk more: That I have to organise the system to embrace the frequency.
Raúl's paintings are the landscape of his soul - reflecting your soul
The painting is not a pretention-painting that it is a masterpiece. It's just a documentation about my soul. An aesthetic guy asked me: What is your style? And I said: It is difficult. If I have to talk about my painting I think I could say it's an expressionism of the self. That's the point. I am not interested to see a photograph to represent the things of the outside. No, I am very interested to see my own landscape that is inside of me. That's the point. The point is to see into myself. Inside. Not outside. When I paint I see myself, into myself. And that is why the art is this evolution. Now we have the tools to see inside, how. Meditation, plant of power, which in Mexico we have a lot, we have pejote, which is mescalina, we have cannabis, we have mushrooms, we have ayahuasca, those are tools that I try and when I paint, I try to paint that landscape.
It is a landscape about my soul. I want to paint my soul, that my soul is the same as your soul. It is that beautiful energy. So if I can make a portrait, because I am a painter, I want to make a portrait or I want to make a landscape, as a general painting. I want to make the landscape of into myself. „Into myself“ is the same as your soul. The point is, you have to be very brave. You need to be brave to go into yourself.
Because the only way you will create yourself is when you create something. Because when you create something, you reflect yourself and you reflect your species. That is why when you see any piece of art of my art, you are like in your mirror. When you see that piece of art, you are watching your mirror. It‘s a reflection. Because we are all. You are me and me are you. That‘s the point. And when you see the energy ... That is why in my painting I am not interested in beauty. Beauty is very important, it points, as a human being, but I am interested in energy. For me to create an object that has energy, you make a divine object. Because aesthetic is a philosophy idea of human beings. A lot of centuries weren‘t interested in aesthetic. But right now I think we are in charge to be a channel to put energy in the object, so we can reflect our soul in that object. That is the point. That is why my painting is layer of layer and layer, layer as you, as me. You are all your layers of your experience that accumulates in your life. And that is why when I am talking to you even in this tool, I feel your energy, because you are alive and you have all these layers.
The problem is: When you think too much in future, you get anxious - anxiety, anxiety - so you get nervous and distressed because: What will happen with me, with my life and the economy and the world? And you get sick. And if you start to remember things or you see the past, you get depressed. You get depressed: But oh, no! So the point is: Our species, we are like an automata. We are future – past – future – past. As automata! As automata! So the point is we need to understand that we have to be in the present, here. So you don't get sick. And again: Art helps you to be in present. Art is not just paint, is not just draw, is not just sing. Art is, when you are washing your dishes, no? When you wash your hair. When you connect to yourself. You start to see your life as an art. All the movements. Because to do this is very complicated, no? We are really very strange creatures. So when you start to say „wow“, you meditate all the time. That's what I try to do every day. Every day.
The purpose of the human being
But it is the hardest thing for all human species. The most difficult part, but it is part of evolution. Because if that thing could be easy, so it doesn't make sense to be here, you know? You have to fight for that state of consciousness in order to get the light. In order to recognize the light. You have to fight for it, you have to work like a djinn. You have to be really concerned of that, of your power. So now you don't get sick. Because if you get sick, you lose your purpose. If you lose your purpose, you go to the hospital and then the system cuts you and then you have to pay pay pay pay pay pay pay pay and then being sick, the system kills you. But if you are concerned about yourself, you don't get sick, you get more light, you create more things, your purpose is always strong. You create more things, you create things, and now you have your energy to do the work that you … that's why you are here on the Earth.
So for me the most important part of our civilisation is the technology which is the language. The medium. You know how to mix the vocals with the consonants and we are an instrument, so. When we start to develop this technology, that is why the art is a documentation of the most important tool as a species. To understand our evolution. That is why the art is so powerful. For me there is no more powerful thing right now, because it is the documentation of our evolution. So it is the only line. We can be concerned: How we improve things. How we can think or thinking is changing, and when I started to understand that, for me it was to start to paint. Or to create things. Because art helps us to understand ourselves as a technology tool. So for me it is very easy to understand the human being as a piece of art. In terms of creation. Even the philosophy – which I love, philosophy - never gave me that answer.
I want to be the most impeccable in this world, because now I am going to another world next. So I want to say: In my past life on Earth, I did this and I wanted to be impeccable. I am trying to make very little karma, difficult. I didn‘t want to make a lot of karma. I try to divinise the objects, and I want the message to embrace the consciousness. This is going to be my statement in my next life. And it is important to think about it. It‘s a good excercise. You know, it‘s a good meditation. What are you going to say your next life? Are you going to say: Yeah I did a lot of karma and I put my energy with my partner or I put all my energy to fighting with my mother? No, it‘s not possible, because you will continue this wheel of karma. Some part of my life, it takes this person of this wheel of karma, and says: Get out! That‘s my job. In terms of pragmatic, you know, way to explain wheel of karma.
We are the only species to have consciousness. So our purpose is to co-create with the Mother Earth. Species human, we are the neurons of the Mother Earth. So, you talk to me: We are making a synapsis. Synapsis is when you make a bridge with two neurons and make a thinking.
So the purpose, right, is the most important value that we need to share to the people. You lose a little bit your purpose: You get sad. You get angry. Because you lose your purpose. You are here to be happy, to celebrate that you are alive – you have this body – to help, no? To co-create, and to co-create the energy to accompany the energy of the Mother Earth. That is our mission!
When you have your purpose – it is very important: First of all you have to find your purpose. And you find your purpose when you feel good. And when you feel good, when you have your purpose – I do not know if I have the time to really make my purpose. I am not afraid to die. I am very afraid that I don't have the time to do my purpose. Really, I am very afraid. If I don't make my purpose, then I know really good what that is: When I don't have the time to do it I am going to come back again to Earth and to give a donation. And maybe I don't want to go back to Earth, I want to go to another planet, another experience. So that is why I do everything. I just work every day and I don't stop. I don't sit to really stop what I am doing because I start to have that classic drawing.
Obviously my purpose is very clear. Not just my purpose: The purpose of the civilization. The purpose is: We are here to experiment, we are spiritual things experimenting a human experience. We are here to alchemise, to create the material, to create things, to make concern. We are the consciousness of the Mother Earth. So we need to accompany the process of the Earth. That is our purpose. And my purpose is just to open the consciousness to the people. That is what I am here. To open the consciousness. I have tools to do that. I have paintings, I have a voice, I have tools to do that. This is our purpose, to make consciousness of the Earth. This is our species. The problem is: Most of our civilization have lost their purpose. They are going into the system. They are like sleeping. Our work is (claps his hands twice): Wake up! Heal yourself! Know yourself! Serious, and then you can help the others. That‘s the purpose. And now I start to play the guitar. So: To experiment another state of consciousness, you know? Because it‘s like mathematical, rhythm, feeling, and now you start to see, it‘s very complicated. But just to understand better my soul and my body, is to understand it better. So my purpose is to understand this beautiful body that we have and share that information so that people get inspired. About your own body, about the sophisticated that we are our own spirit. It is a frequency that goes into the soul, and that the soul creates energy and the energy moves this body. And this body has seven chakras and each organism works by itself. We don‘t have a precedent by itself. And this is unbelievable, it‘s incredible! It‘s incredible! So my goal, my purpose is to share that information, so that you can say: Wow! You come back to the mirror, you say: Wow! And now I‘m concerned about my power. And I have the understanding take care about the system, so I don‘t let my energy there. And I need to create things. Not because I am an artist, we are the same, we are the same capacity. Maybe me in particular, maybe a lot of pain … makes me understand myself. By force, because it was through a lot of pain. And this is my purpose. You know? And I need to refine my message, my technique or painting. And everything just to refine the message. You know? And to share this. Now the platform of art is too pragmatic for me. Very pragmatic for me. That is very important for me that you hear me, because the art, they love to hear philosophy, in the platform of art, but when I start to talk about the spirit of things and bla bla bla, so that is why I now use the physic quantics to explain this. It is about energy. So this is my challenge now, to put in the platform of art that we are people, that we not just make aesthetic things: We create divine things, because we are divine. We are Gods.
Raúl talks about nurturing the Inner Child and the most sophisticated play: Art
It is the same method, the same rhetoric. When you are a child, you are divine, you are anything. You laugh, you got to the bath, you are divine, you are very pure…. A creature. The point is: When you start to grow, your brain starts to take control. And you start to lose, you lose your divineness, you start to forget that energy, you start to forget that. The point is: When I paint these adults and the kid, is that: When you are in art, painting is playing. Art is play. Your play is rules and you break the rules and you have a history of painting and you have a concept, you have a content, you have a skill, you have different vibration. So it‘s a game. It‘s a great big game.
So it lets you be always a child. So the point is: We need to remember our child … or when we were a child. So you start to remember your light again.
And in fact there is a theory that we are no particular human beings. We are not homo sapiens. We are homo ludens. Ludens. We come to the ludity. In a way we create, we alchemise, we create the thing with a physicality. It‘s a game. So we are always playing. We are creatures … that we love to play. We are ludent, homo ludens. And I think that I heard in the BBC of London that there is a test to qualify the intelligence in animals. And they qualify in terms of what kind of play they create. Dolphins create different kind of games. And the most sophisticated play of the human being: It‘s art! The most sophisticated play. You are allowed to create your own rules. And then you create your own statements. And then, if that statement is really good, it becomes a concept, and that concept needs a content and then creates your philosophy. And if it is a good philosophy, you create a good vibration - that is what I am looking for, and when you create that good vibration you heal and you rescue the purpose of the human being. That is the line that I am interested in.
And yet I think for me it‘s a beatuiful idea to really always try to play with your kid, that you are. Because when you get adult, you get boring. You get straight. You think tomorrow.
About his habit of conserving books and VHS-covers from his childhood
Yeah, it‘s my treasure. My treasure that makes me imaginate things. So I couldn‘t get rid of them, I couldn‘t. It was part of my life. In this reality, so for me, I keep continuing, I keep continuing painting my books. And I am trying to be impeccable. I want to be impeccable, in this estancia, in this time, in this world. It is very fast, you know, for the cosmos it is very fast. I want to be impecable, don‘t make rush.
Raúl's sculptures reflect evolution and the concept of time
In that particular sculpture it was important for me to explain that the human, we understand the time in line, but it is very coherent, you know? It is very accurate, because you are born and you die. We realise that time is a line. But it's not true. In fact time is like this (draws a circle). So what I do with this sculpture is: I start to use different types of aesthetics like olmec aesthetic, maya aesthetic and aztec aesthetic. In that order. Olmec, and then Maya is classic period. And then Aztecas, this is post classic period, and then the television for me as a 20th century.
And then the QR. The QR, the quick responding interface. It's a line. It's a line. But the point is: I make this species to say that time is not a line. Because if we start to think that time is a line, you can get sick. As I explained you, you can get sick because you can get anxious. Past - depression, anxiety - future. A lot of humanity is getting anxious or stressed or depressed. So that sculpture helps me to say: No. Time is a circle. You have to be like the sculpture: To be there, to be in the present. Don't think, don't think future, don't think past. Just create create create. And when you create things, you are in the present."
Unfortunately after he said that last sentence, we were not able to establish a connection via Skype any more. But in the following email Raúl sent me a link to this youtube video where you can see what he is up to at the moment.
And please, do not forget to visit Raúl Cerrillo's solo exhibition in Hamburg, starting November 2nd, 2018, at Mercedes Me, Ballindamm 17!