Institut Ramon LLull


14/03/2019. First edition of Cinema Lliure a la Biblioteca in Occitanie
The latest edition of Cinema Lliure a la Biblioteca (Free Cinema at the Library), a film series th...
28/02/2019. Catalan cinema comes to the Universidad Nacional de México International Film Festival (FICUNAM)
The 9th edition of the UNAM International Film Festival will be held from the 28th of February to ...
26/12/2018. Naomi Kawase and Isaki Lacuesta raise curtain on Filmmakers in Correspondence exhibition and audiovisual program at Paris’ Pompidou Center
The exhibition Filmmakers in Correspondence, which accompanies retrospectives of the oeuvres of Gi...
18/11/2018. The Scotland Catalan Film Festival is back with the most recent contemporary Catalan cinema
The platform Cinemaattic has announced a new edition of SCAT (Scotland Catalan Film...

Interview with Albert Serra

Cinema.  Paris,  17/04/2013

This Wednesday saw the opening of a retrospective exhibition by the Catalan artist Albert Serra at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, with the prestigious centre giving the artist carte blanche to carry out various activities. Among the events programmed is a round table discussion on 27th April on the aesthetics of bullfighting that will also feature the participation of Miquel Barceló.

To coincide with the opening, we interview its star, Albert Serra, to discuss this project and his career.

What do you think about your work being the star attraction of a prominent space at the Centre George Pompidou, one of the great contemporary art centres of Europe and the whole world?

One can only see it in a very positive light. It is an honour, despite the fact that, personally, I am not keen on showing things from the past. In fact, I only like showing the latest things, those which have not yet been seen. The rest, in essence, is archaeology.

How does it feel for an underground creator like you ("Andergraun Films" is the name of your production company) to be hosted by the great temples of culture, as on this occasion in Paris?

Well, I come from nothing, but what I do is very serious and very important, so a good impact in critical circles is natural. That said, these large temples do not represent absolute values, they can also make mistakes and often pay tribute to artists who eventually become insignificant.

We know you are giving a talk on the world of bullfighting. What is your view regarding this perennially controversial topic?

I have no opinion from an ethical point of view. I'm only interested in the aesthetic side of it, which is very powerful and has always interested great artists over the years. And for me, that justifies certain cruelties that, indeed, in any other context we would find objectionable. At the Centre Pompidou we will only talk about aesthetics.

In Paris, you will also mention that Salvador Dalí, the genius from Figueres, is one of your artistic influences. What do you consider to be the essence of his contribution?

I do not know if he is one of the best artists of the twentieth century, but he is one of the most important (along with Duchamp and Warhol). He is a visionary (in fact, he said he would be remembered for his "worldview"), who anticipates many aesthetic achievements. And in terms of attitude, subversion and fantasy, he is unquestionably unique and unforgettable.

The director of the Centre Pompidou, Alain Seban, acknowledged that Albert Serra reminds him of Dalí's proteiform exuberance. Which aspects of him and his work do you identify with?

With none, since it would be too audacious. I only admire and try to learn. I secretly admire his mix of spontaneity and extreme artifice, which also tends to come naturally to me.
You have said several times that you consider film to be the literature of images and video art its language. Have you always worked according to these concepts?

It's a bit more complex than that. I only referred to the fact that film is transitive, creating an aesthetic world, while video art is a simple game with audiovisual language that has no consequences.

Your reputation as a filmmaker grew thanks to the screening of your acclaimed film El cant dels ocells (Birdsong) at the Cannes Film Festival. Will the Centre Pompidou reveal more about Albert Serra the artist and the man, besides his work?

It could do. It's not for me to say.

What is your next challenge / dream?

The same as always: to be free and independent of everything and everyone. Unfortunately, the artist's work requires great sacrifices that make it a slave of an aesthetic objective that clashes with this desire to be free. It is a bitter fight to the death. Who will win? I don't know. We shall see.

Dalí is one of your greatest influences. Could you update the list of those creators you are devoted to with some names from today's art scene?

It's difficult. My influences, at heart, in terms of content, are almost always deceased artists. Living people only influence me in superficial things, in the staging of myself. I like people that are spontaneous and incorruptible: Vincent Gallo, Michel Houellebecq, Limonov (who I have followed for a long a great disdain for Dalí, whom he met), and so on. 

The Institut Ramon Llull

is a consortium that comprises the Generalitat de Catalunya (Government of Catalonia), Balearic Islands Government and the Barcelona City Council, and its mission is the promotion of Catalan language and culture abroad.

Generalitat de CatalunyaGovern Illes BalearsAjuntament de Barcelona

This website uses its own and third party cookies to offer better browsing. By browsing in it the user agrees to the way we use cookies. Users can prevent cookies from being generated and erase them by using the options on their browser. Blocking cookies may mean that some of this website’s services and options do not work properly.

Cookies are small pieces of data that websites send to browsers and which are stored in users’ devices: computers, mobile telephones, tablets, and so on. Their purpose is to improve the experience of using the website, as these archives make it possible for the website to remember information about the user’s visits, such as preferred options or language. In this way the website personalizes its content and becomes more agile and useful for the user.

By browsing this website users agree to cookies being installed in their equipment that enable us to find out the following information:

Types of cookies

This website uses session, or temporary, cookies and persistent cookies. Session cookies merely keep data while the user is visiting the website. Persistent cookies store the data on the device’s hard drive so that it will be accessible in more than one session.

Depending on the type of data obtained the website can use technical cookies.

These allow users to browse the webpage and use the different options or services it contains. For example, controlling data traffic and communication, identifying the session, entering restricted access areas, requesting enrolment or participation in an event, using security features while browsing and storing content.

Personalization cookies.

These allow users to access the website with some general characteristics that are either already predefined in their hard drive or defined by the user. For example, the language, the type of browser used to access the website, the chosen content design, the geo-location of the device or the regional configuration from where access takes place.

Statistical analysis cookies

These make it possible to monitor and analyse the behaviour of visitors to the website. The information gathered is used to measure a website’s activity and to produce users’ browsing history, making it possible to improve the service.

Third party cookies

Third party cookies that manage and improve the services offered can also be installed. For example, statistics services like Google Analytics.

Managing the cookies in my browser

Users can allow, block or erase the cookies installed in their device by configuring the browsing options.

If the use of cookies in the browser is blocked, some services or functions of the webpage may not be available