On Friday the opening of “Life is Beautiful” will take place at Artconnect Berlin and exhibit a collection of collages, embroidered black and white photographs, sculptures and of course the elegant dancers of chilean artist Jose Romussi. Get ready for a magic assemblage of Jose Romussi’s impressions.
Meeting Jose Romussi in his living and working space in Berlin Kreuzberg is like entering a fantastic world of colourful objects, embroidered sculptures, brightly coloured garlands, blanket tipis, neon painted bathtubs with cactus plants and many other things that reminds one of South American aesthetics. Immediately after entering in the huge loft, Jose Romussi guided me through this creative chaos with excitement. Obviously acting upon impulses, he showed me around and walked without resting. He kept on talking about every single art work and telling me the story of his creative career.
Becoming an artist
Becoming an artist was more or less a simple decision in combination with some luck. Jose’s story of success is as unusual as his artworks. Skipping art school, Jose studied landscape design in Valparaíso, Chile and never really thought about becoming an artist. “I don’t know much about the art world,” he admits. After moving to New York he befriended a lot of different people from the creative industry. “I said to myself, why can’t I do that too?”
Jose was inspired by the “no schedule” way of life creatives have, having the chance to choose whenever they wanted to work. In the last months it became more and more difficult to plan his schedule as he’d like to: “I am very stressed and I need a vacation. I am working too much. Just worked and worked during the last 4 months”. That’s the cost of becoming successful and selling artwork all over the world! Last week the embroidered photographs were shown at Faxxi Art Fair in Santiago de Chile and Scope Miami. This week, he finally will show his works at Artconnect’s space in Berlin.
I asked him why he thought his paintings were suddenly in such great demand. “I don’t really know. It just all happened after I arrived to Berlin in 2011, which was my second stage after New York. I returned to Chile and had an exhibition with the “bailarinas” there. People saw the dancers, published them on blogs, wrote about them. These works opened many doors, for example to the Mauger Gallery in London”.
Ironically enough, it was Artconnect Berlin who had published the first ballerina online!
Black and White Photographs and Embroidered Ballerinas
We continued wandering through the dizzy-lit loft and Jose showed me some variations of black and white photographs with embroideries. “Where do you get the photos from?” – I asked him – “They are from a photographer (Rocio Aguirre). She send them to me, because I was meant to stich something like a cat’s craddle on them. But it just happened that I ended up doing something else.”
Back in his small studio we thumbed through a portfolio of different collages and dancers with colourful costumes. Jose told me how the idea of the ballerinas came to him. In Chile he came across a vintage photo of a ballerina in a shop. “It was the photo that told me to work with yarn. It said something like: do something with me or I am getting lost.”
Life is Beautiful
“Life is Beautiful is meant ironically.” He tells me. He once wrote it on an old, filthy mattress which he found in the streets. The artistic example for the intervention has been none other than Mr Brainwash. Jose reconsidered the phrase, because in his opinion, life is not always beautiful, just sometimes. He must have followed an internal impulse once more when he sprayed the neon-coloured words into the snow: “Life is short. The world is beautiful.”