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SUGAR COATED An interview with LIZI SÁNCHEZ
RAJESH PUNJ

I started working with wool and wallpaper, by applying wool onto the wall. All of which meant I was replacing painting and the two-dimensional for the threedimensional. And it was when I realised that what really excites me were materials, that things became much more interesting.

The packing, the wrapping, the material matter of the accumulated objects of our desire is as much about their persuasive appearance, as it is the soft-centered indulgence inside. And for London based Peruvian born artist Lizi Sánchez it is the detailed decisions that the conglomerates make on behalf of the consumer, by the colourcoding of perfumes, confectionaries, anti-aging creams and aftershaves – that have us experience the world differently. Besides the attractiveness of the ripened coloured boxes and ribbon tape, what interests the artist is of how such global judgments come to influence the make-up of our lives much more substantially. By which our understanding of ‘who we are?’ and ‘how we live?’ are determined as much by ourselves as they are influenced by the pattern of products we readily identity with.

As a beacon of our attention Sánchez sees colour as a carefully crafted construct that is determined as much by its intrinsic value, as it is by the companies that see colour as currency. And for the artist as she explains “it is nice the feeling that when somebody comes now they say ‘wow, those colours are so amazing, they are so beautiful.’ And I can say ‘yes they are’ because there has been a whole team behind those colours, trying to think of how to draw your attention and excite you. So I am glad you are feeling it, because someone else has decided that. I like the idea that there are a lot of decisions with the choice of that particular colour that are transferred to the gallery space. But also when you see abstract painting, maybe not people in the art world, but the public in general, they come and they value colour alot. They value a straight line alot. Real artists know how to choose the perfect colour, and be able to put one next to the other. So when you are bringing that from somewhere else it draws a level of detachment from the work, but also a new kind of curiosity at the same time. When I original made sculptures they were all about colour, but they were becoming too literal so I started changing my process.”

As a consequence of her interest in manufactured colours, what is engaging for the artist is of how our private lives, our choice of satchel and running shoes, are determined by public institutions that profit from the rudimentary decisions we make on a daily basis. As all of the elements – colour, shape, form, material, light, location, are as she argues not just exclusive to art but as integral to all of the creative and consumer industries that determine the architecture of our lives. Whereby one’s red tote bag is likely to be the same red that colours the underside of a Christian Louboutin shoe, or is the alarm coloured cover of a new Paris perfume; as Louboutin himself explains, “even if you don’t like colours, you will end up having something red. For everyone who doesn’t like colour, red is a symbol of a lot of culture. It has a different signification but never a bad one.”

Equally the value of colour manifest in the objects of our lives is as a consequence of its allure, as French poet and essayist (Charles) Baudelaire arguing when he suggested “colour thinks for itself

All of them had pompoms, fabrics, ribbons and plastic pearls, and they were all influenced by kitsch architecture – things you will find in Peru. But whilst doing that I also did a residency in China, which encouraged me to combine my interest in the kitsch with the modern;in an attempt to see if the kitsch and the modern could intersect and be more or less the same thing.

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