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Albert Madaula (Barcelona, ​​1986) is a painter and film director based in Poble Nou, Barcelona. He is self-taught and positive, but not naive. His paintings are full of colour, and look unapologetically at the darkness and contradictions inherent in life. He is fascinated by Mexican, African and Mediterranean culture. He is convinced that he will never paint in black and white.

ALBERT MADAULA

AFRICA | COLOR | PAINTING | WILD ANIMALS
2021 / 06 / 15

So let’s start with the interview. Well, rather than an interview, it’s more a chat about who is behind each label. 

Ok. First let me ask you why you decided to put art on the labels, hahaha. It feels like I’m the one doing the interview … 

No, no, no problem. Let me tell you: basically, we love it. It is a premise that I follow. Like acting: I try to do the things that I myself would like to see in the theatre or in the movies. As fans, we wanted to see the things we love on our labels. And to be able to talk to the creators, to you people. This is the project of our ratafia. 

Cool, great! I also really enjoy mixing up things and concepts, so great. 

"Tigresa y León", 2020

Tigress and Lion. Why? 

I really enjoy painting wild animals. They symbolize the animal instinct we all have, and wild animals shape it in a very visceral way. Humans, on the other hand, are constantly repressing this instinct, whether through social codes, employment contracts, business … Not just sexual instincts. It’s not that we all just want to fuck each other, but more that there is a hidden instinct that brings us closer to one another. This instinct for attraction is very instinctive, which is why I love painting wild animals. They represent this instinct. I humanize the genitals of these animals. As you can see, the breasts or cock are human. It is also a feminist painting. I don’t want to be a flag bearer of the movement, but I did want to point out the fact that many painters always paint the lion as a male animal that always wins and is above the others. 

The Lion King

The Lion King, exactly. And this patriarchal lion king always beat the tiger. I wanted to turn it around and let the tiger win. And on top of that – this tiger is a tigress. The big lion submits to a tigress. 

A fight but a 69…

Yes, there is a fight, but they also have a good time … he is submissive but it is a sexual fight. 

So this is the animal instinct that Freud says we repress, because otherwise we can’t live in society. The ego that preserves us. Otherwise we become psychotic. 

Yes, sure. We must restrain ourselves. It is sometimes necessary to live together, but it also makes us lose a lot of things.

What does Africa tell you? 

I identify a lot with African and Mexican culture. And in general with Mediterranean cultures. I think they share a simplicity and a use of color that influences me. Simple, basic figures, with a lot of color.

Could you paint in black and white? 

No. 

Absolutely? 

Yes, definitely. At first I tried. Some people told me to do something with more earthy tones or black and white. I tried, but it didn’t feel right. Colour is much more dangerous because you can cross over to being tacky and psychedelic or being naive. But I try to look for work with character, that have a certain darkness. 

Yes, I notice that it is not “sunshine and rainbows”… 

Yes, there is always a dark side, even if there are a lot of colors. There is aggression, there are deep looks. I’m a naturally positive person but the truth is I hate “Mr Wonderful” and all that. There is a dark side of life that we have to live and we can learn a lot from it. 

I think that wouldn’t be honest. 

Yes, it wouldn’t be honest and it would be horrible to neglect this dark side. A world of plastic and coloring is not real. 

I compare you – in the formal sense and relatively speaking – with Andy Warhol. He also painted using a lot of colours and male models and was a filmmaker. Do you feel any connection there? 

In the formal sense, yes, but as an artist he doesn’t call out to me. He exploded into the pop world, but I don’t like his principles. I don’t like his energy. I always separate the artist and his or her work; but in Warhol’s case, I don’t. He went into a deterioration of fundamental principles, which I don’t like so much. I feel a much stronger connection to David Lynch, for example; he’s also a painter and filmmaker. He does very dark things and in his book “Catching the Big Fish” (Reservoir Books, second edition 2021) he says that art should not be sought from the decaying place of people. Decay does not automatically identify with artistic darkness. I think so too; you don’t have to be a debauchee to be a genius. From serenity and light there can be more vision of humanity. Instead, from self-destruction and decay, you look at yourself more selfishly. I like this point of view more.

“ I don’t like either the principles or the energy of Andy Warhol.”

Yes, it happens to me as an actor. If I have to look for madness, I know I have to be very healthy. My own madness would be very uninteresting. 

Human connections, when coming from a place of health, are better. When I don’t respect myself I get stuck and I’m not creative. There are a thousand ways to work but this is not mine, that of decay. 

Is your partner, Carlos, your fetish model? 

Yes. My partner, the person I sleep with, has to inspire me to create. I like to have someone by my side who motivates me; who I can portray, paint, film. 

"Amantes", 2020

Muse… 

Yes, I like the term “muse”.

I know your journey began with architecture. 

Yes, I started studying architecture. I’ve studied a lot of things and I haven’t finished anything. Also interior design, graphic design, photography and fine arts. This is the route. Everything happens in the art world, but I start with the most technical and I go to the most sensory. I really like the jumps I made. All my paintings always have an architectural sense. And in cinema, I like to consider space as another character that generates emotions. The last space was some dunes in the Canary Islands, you’ll see soon. 

What is Palmera Estudio? 

It is my home and my studio. It’s my pirate ship. I sail the world turbulence and I fight against the waves. I’ve brought a team of sailors and pirates to accompany me on this adventure. The Palmera family has been growing.

“I have always expressed myself better through drawing than with words.”

When did painting stop being a hobby? 

More than a hobby, for me it is a necessity. When I don’t pick up pencils, I’m not myself. Even though I’m going in the direction of cinematography, I’ll never stop painting. I will never leave the world of ideas and 2D. I have always expressed myself better through drawing than with words. 

Maybe that ties in to what we said about instinct in the first part of the interview … 

Yes, totally. I did the same before selling. It was lucky. People asked me for paintings before I intended to be a painter. 

Who would you like to see on a MAUS® label? 

Let’s see… There are so many options, hehehe. Okay, I’ll tell you two people. The first is my God, Sorrentino. I’d like to see him put on a label on your ratafia. And the second, to go more to local surroundings – which have to be defended – I’ll say Sara Andújar. She is an affiliate of the studio and creates on a very dreamlike and sensory level. 

What book, series and movie do you recommend while having MAUS®? 

Well, as I told you before, for me David Lynch’s book “Catching the Big Fish” is a great fundamental reference. I’m not saying it in a new age sense; it’s something more about how we live in this fucking world we’ve been given. It makes me connect with myself. For film, I’ll say La grande bellezza by Sorrentino; and also La luna by Bertolucci, which is darker, slower and more introspective. I love Italian cinema.

INTERVIEW: POL FERNÁNDEZ
JUNE 2021
MAUS®

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