NY-based, Puertorrican artist Pepón Osorio
has been recently working in a new project in Kathmandu, invited by the Kathmandu Contemporary Arts Centre, which is where I'm having my residency.
His projects take him into human communities and literally into people's homes, as a way of accessing their culture and exposing sensitive issues in those communities, be it the Puertorricans in the Bronx or the Newaris in Kathmandu.
In the talk he gave prior to the opening of his show, he confessed to be more interested in the implications of art-making than in the art itself. He often starts his projects without really knowing if the result will be art or something else. The project itself earns its status as art afterwards, independently from Osorio's will.
I particularly liked when he remembered his first years in art, after obtaining his MA from Columbia. He'd go to the big galleries in New York and feel that the art he was supposed to revere didn't speak to him. His answer was to get a studio and work in isolation for five years, without visiting a single show or museum.
One day, a stubborn curator convinced him to have a solo show in a community museum, which led to his participation in the 1993 Whitney Biennial. His work was taken straight from his studio into major collections, without ever being represented by a gallery. Quite an alternative path to the usual art rat race.