Lita Cabellut is a renowned Catalan multidisciplinary artist who lives in The Hague, Netherlands. She has become one of Spain’s bestselling artists, with stars such as Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry and Gordon Ramsay proud owners of Lita’s work.
Lita is currently showing her work in her new exhibition, Furs & Feathers at Opera Gallery’s new pop-up space in London. The exhibition is running until 4 December.
We chat to Lita about her background, working in The Hague, and her latest artworks.
Can we start with your background and how you came about being a Spanish artist living in the Netherlands?
I’d been living in Spain since I was born, and at the age of 19 I was absolutely convinced that the Rietvield Academy in Amsterdam had to be my new starting point. Contrary to what was expected of me, I went to the Netherlands, where what I found was a society totally opposite to the place I came from. The freedom and multi-culturalism that I encountered completely captivated and stimulated me. Life sometimes gives you a choice on the road without realizing it.
Is the myth of Dutch light true, is this reflective in the creation ofyour paintings?
Yes that’s correct. The Netherlands is floating land on water, it is impossible not to perceive the presence and reflection of light in everything that surrounds us. It’s the same light with which I paint and the one that invades my studio. In fact, it is most likely for it to be reflected in my work without me being absolutely aware of it.
How does working in the Hague differ to living in Spain? Has this affected your work in any way?
In Dutch society, social activity and engagements are less demanding than in Spain, where social obligations are part of your life. The Netherlands allow me a lot of space to concentrate and work.
Who are your artistic influences?
Goya, for his social involvement, for reporting the unacceptable and the repetitiveness in the grotesque that the human being represents in extreme occasions. Velázquez, for his tireless search for beauty, and for his aesthetics above all. El Greco, for portraying that madness that so many human beings have as something divine and full of tenderness, with his mystical expressions. Rothko, for teaching us through his colours the vibrations of feeling.
Francis Bacon dares to teach the prisons of the intellectand the mistreated meat, the disfigurement of reality when we lose the thread between the soul and reason. Kiefer, who uses materials as we use ethics in our society, intertwined, pasty, unrecognizable and always with an escapist perspective to the eye, to the soul… There are many artists who influence me and not only from the field of painting.
Can you talk about the process of your work in relation to aparticular piece?
It is difficult to define a single work. In my case, a piece is an extension of something that I may have started years ago and that is still in the process of being developed. It’s something like a biography: if we rip two pages out of that book, the context of the story is lost.
How do you choose your models?
I always first choose the theme I want to work on, the concept, and then Ineed the flesh, the spirit to be able to give matter to what I want to express. Models vary by project. My mind works on the concept first, and many times I find the models on the street, with the person or face that I exactly need appearing all of a sudden. Other times it is in specialized agencies, among my close friends or relatives.
Can you talk about what will be the focus of your art pieces at your new exhibition Fur & Feathers at Opera Gallery’s pop-up space in London?
The message of this exhibition is the demand and the urgent need that our new generation has to reconcile with the planet, to protect it, to become part of it, in a deeper symbiosis. The animal is the common thread that I have chosen to express this message. The human being before the gods began to draw animals in the caves, with that need to want to understand them in order to survive together.
What do you hope the audience will take away from your exhibition?
A moment of reflection, a poetic memory, a colour that stirs up an emotion in you. Some lines that draw in your imagination feathers and skins.
Do you have any upcoming projects or aspirations for after this exhibition?
My life is a constant chain of projects and inspirations. After this exhibition I will give priority to the most relevant, which is the documentary Charlie Chaplin. A Man of The World where I am the artistic director and I make aseries of animations investigating different periods of the life of Hanna Chaplin, Chaplin’s mother, who was his nest and creative inspiration.
Lita Cabellut’s exhibition Fur & Feathers runs at Opera Gallery until 4th December, and it’s free to visit.
Feature image credit: Carlos Manuel Sanches