CENTRO DE ARTE MEXICANO Bachelor of Art History Sociology of Art Doctor of History Lourdes Turrent
Interview by Omar Ramírez Casas
About a job that I was commissioned at the university for the class of Sociology of Art, I had to find an artist to interview and after thinking about choosing my study character, I remembered Jacqueline Delaye. She is a friend I made when I worked as a bookseller at the Nalanda bookstore, in Coyoacán, back in 1998. I contacted her on Facebook and we made an appointment to make a video call via skype. So it happened and we killed two birds with one stone, do the interview and-catch up with life. Our greeting was effusive, we tried to remember when was the last time we saw each other, the memories of Puebla arose, the walk through the Zócalo in Mexico City and the visit to the pyramid of the Count, in Naucalpan. “I remember many things such as photographs, photographic moments, I remember that time we drank wine, the story of Dionisio …” and in complicity we let out a laugh as in the old days.
Thus began our conversation and the questions arose to know who is Lady Kunst.
Lady Kunst is a character created by Jacqueline Delaye in 2016 and valid until 2018, which arose with the idea of making a severe criticism of the current values of society, especially luxury, consumption and advertising. ‘The aesthetics of the Lady Kunst videos can be shocking and ambiguous, represented by a woman who suggests the stereotype of beauty; She makes a very specific criticism of advertising as the main responsible and generator of stereotypes, based on commercial strategies which manage to establish behavioral models that will try to be imitated, and make believe that if we consume the advertised product we will achieve the same characteristics .
This ambiguity led me to ask the creator of it, How did you build this character? And Jacqueline went back to her origins. She came to Germany for various reasons: “I was looking for the dark side of existence, to know why the Germans killed millions of human beings in the days of the Nazis, what twisted their souls; I wanted to know where evil comes from and by what engines it is driven and how the history of war and cruelty was reflected in art. I was interested in knowing about German expressionism, literature and philosophy -Hesse, Nietzsche (her idol) and Schopenhauer “; she was also moved by social anthropological curiosity, she was interested in getting closer to the social psyche, love had a lot to do with it because it still has kept her arrowed for half a life. In that search lies the essence of her character, over 20 years, she matured until she managed to have a presence and a critical message as a result of that series of reflections. A rebellious spirit that has the yearning to know the human psyche and understand its actions and reactions; a titanic work that causes me curiousity to know at what point Jacqueline managed to focus her study because the social construction is a framework that sometimes gets complicated; since the individual is part of a social fabric and a specific culture, with diverse characteristics that respond to a series of established norms, patterns, customs, values, status and roles. What specifically did you want to understand about the human being as an individual in society and want to study it? This is a very important point for Lady Kunst, I was interested in knowing the social psyche to give it a useful application but also because of a human, existential and philosophical curiosity; for being here on earth and saying who we are. He wanted to know how societies functioned, what were their strengths and weaknesses, why they did what they did. There are two types of artists, those who immerse themselves in melancholy and from their confinement build, there are other rebels who confront the world in order to understand it; youth and momentum move them. Both creators are privileged because they manage to build in an environment the representation of this society, of this shared space that sometimes oppresses and suffocates. Jacqueline Delaye found in Lady Kunst the possibility of materializing her criticism because even if you are in the privilege of being a creative, an artist, you are immersed in the social fabric. How do you build Lady Kunst? Lady Kunst’s interest was to make a whitetrash2 criticism myself; she has some strange, pathetic goodies, they are uncomfortable, absurd, they have that combination because they share that human way of being and especially the consumption of information and material goods, I try to talk about values most decadent of mankind. I put myself as a person because I wanted to do something with my body and my mind.
Jacqueline told me that her intention was to make fresh videos, made at the moment and with the basic elements, disposable and on hand. Her days were organized between her daughters, the perfumery and her house, her husband and after putting the girls to sleep she lit a stage and filmed, sometimes with help and many others by herself with her tripod. When you have an artistic idea and carry it out instantly or in a matter of 24 hours, a pure and fresh spontaneity is born; simple but with the greatest possible impact. A rude or pathetic message is born with the trace of everyday life.
Lady Kunst focuses on advertising that idealizes satisfaction and suggests what personal happiness should be like; the individual is only an unstoppable machine of production and consumption, who remains imprisoned in this dynamic, his happiness therefore lies in buying dreams. How is your creative process, how do you organize your time dedicated to creation, has being a mother and an artist conflicted? If I conflict because there is something in you that wants to go out, I have a husband, three daughters, I had a perfumery to attend to and my needs aside. I mix that constant despair of being a mother, of being a housewife, in my videos. That internal despair at home helped to reflect in my work that constant desperation of being busy with having to do, giving attention to your daughters … along with the combination of expressing what you want to express, on an artistic level. Where does this creative process come from? From my house, my workshop is my house. I go to the supermarket and buy my utensils, it is a very art homemade a ready made. The idea came to me and I created it in two days, and I look for, for example, there is a video, from the series criticizing capitalism, just when Donald Trump won the elections, I have a coat and I am like a dog, a wolf that pees and turn off the fireplace, I bring the heels of a very famous designer4 – he became very popular selling heels with red soles, he sells them for 50 thousand euros. To do that I grabbed red fabric, cut it out and glued it to the heels and simulated designer ones. I bought a 5 euro doll on ebay, they were all the elements of the video. If they are premeditated and at least three days in advance, no more. The idea comes to me and I have to do it quickly because I want to convey that freshness. I don’t have a great production, of thousands of euros. Everything has to be as spontaneous as possible, have items on hand and with everyday objects. What influenced you Germany? Lady has a mixture of philosophy, despotic, war, disgust, that part of Germany that I went to look for, that death, that obscurantism and in Lady I reflect it. Did the growth of your daughters affect your work? My daughters are 7, 9 and 11 years old, and yes, of course their growth has an influence. When they were very little I made a music video called “Kill another Indian.” I made the video with the help of a friend, I had three babies, I made the music and the song, I did have artistic gifts but very small because time is zero, I was completely sucked into motherhood.
That also made me be tied at home, I like being free and traveling, doing whatever I want and motherhood has been a wonderful thing but it also requires a lot of sacrifice. Have you exhibited the Lady Kunst videos in galleries, in addition to YouTube? From 2016-2017 I made one video per month, they appeared on a blog of a literary critic5, very famous in Germany, on criminology and on YouTube. Lady at first was like a collaboration for this literature critic. I have projected to exhibit in larger galleries but it is not a digestible work, I must be very punctual. I have presented in galleries but other artistic projects. Jacqueline Delaye identifies with video art, there she found a way to express a social criticism and also share her own problems, her “despair of being a mother and a housewife” 6. In his videos are present the problems that affect society such as violence itself and how it affects a family environment, child abuse, the proposal of a happy life through the construction of stereotypes that are often unattainable and people can reverse even his life in exchange for achieving that utopia. Being an artist does not exempt the individual from failing to fulfill the roles and responsibilities to be carried out within your family nucleus. As individuals mature, it would seem that they are reconciled with the ardor that inspired their rebellious youth, and without ceasing to be so, they assume differently in that adverse environment. Jacqueline considers that she is in a new stage in her life and she no longer perceives “a social aggression and therefore there is no longer an intention to want to change things”, now that she is surrounded by nature, she comments: “I left the obscurantism and I live in São Miguel, Azores islands, between New York and Lisbon, in the middle of the ocean, “in this new time of my life, full of nature with a single museum of contemporary art and the occasional gallery. I have put the video aside and am concentrating on sculpture and conceptual art, just integrating the natural elements that surround me. Now we are going to show beauty, peace, time, to God through nature ”. Around on Facebook I read that they said “how difficult it is to be an artist” but they cannot imagine how difficult it is to stop being one, even if you have children.
She is a woman who in her family nucleus is supported by her husband and daughters, they even see in her an inspiration to study art and acting, they are still very young but the seed has already been sown. Jacqueline Delaye7 has a multidisciplinary background based on social studies and the arts. He studied social anthropology in Mexico City. Film and TV in Barcelona and Direction of Art and Culture in Paris. He worked as a video artist and documentary maker throughout Europe. He lived and worked in Berlin, Germany for 11 years, after living in different countries such as the United States, England, France, Spain, Italy, and of course Mexico, the place where he was born. Now he lives in Portugal on the island of Sao Miguel, where he is inspired by nature. It focuses on the social anthropological aspects of the human being that reflect the adaptation of culture through the arts. What happened to that criticism, was there an understanding of the human psyche in society, was some change made, why did you renounce video as a means of critical expression? Jacqueline was born into a “wealthy, petty bourgeois” family, a situation that led to her search and exploration drive. There are cases of artists who have not found it easy to adapt to the system and particularly to their cultural and social group, faced with this oppression, they find a way out in suicide, in a psychiatric hospital, in a kind of Franciscan isolation, just taking what indispensable of life; in excesses, in self-censorship or building counterculture groups to survive. This is not the case of Jacqueline Deley, surely like all sensitive and creative beings, it will not have been easy for her to confront and reconcile, it is not easy. She has a very important factor in her favor, the circle to which she belongs keeps her alive and free, in the sense that her rebellion can be transmutable, without affecting anyone. I consider that this youthful criticism waned as she assumes her role as mother and housewife, appropriates it “for me the family is the building principle of society and if I am absent in my family and present in my profession, now I screwed it up. My job is to be a housewife and while the children are in school I dedicate myself to creating. I clean, mud, cook and read; art is always there. ” Criticism and search cease to be subjective to be objective, focus on motherhood, she is a creative and inspiring source of the essence of her daughters; he turns criticism around to educate and sow in them values that are considered prudent and conducive in their family nucleus.