The world of Alicia Framis: Interview with the Spanish Artist

Following the opening of "Llega un grito a través del cielo", we interview one of the artists participating in the exhibition: The Spanish Alicia Framis (Barcelona, 1967).

Published: Oct 14, 2014
The world of Alicia Framis: Interview with the Spanish Artist

Alicia Framis

By Naiara Valdano, Art Gossips, @art_gossips.

LABoral Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial opened a new exhibition called Llega un grito a través del cielo. Curated by Juha van ´t Zelfde (artistic director of Lighthouse), this show explores the impact of drone technology on now-a-days wars. With the works of 12 contemporary artists, the purpose is to reflect upon the impact, threat, terror and fear resulting from armed conflicts and a military technology that affects our life.

James Bridle, Laurent Grasso, Roger Hiorns, Silvia Maglioni, Martha Rosler or Roman Signer are some of the participating artists. But, especially, we must mention the Spanish Alicia Framis, a multidisciplinary artist whose work combines architecture, design, fashion and performance.

Born in Barcelona in 1967, Framis graduated in Fine Arts at the Universidad de Barcelona and the School of Fine Arts of Paris. She then completed postgraduate studies at the Institut d´Hautes Etudes de Paris and the Rijiksakademia van beelde Kunstende in Amsterdam. Since then she has been always travelling, spending long periods in different European cities. As an artist she has developed several works with a clear social component that reflect upon different aspects of the human existence in the contemporary urban world. While some experts define her work as “social art” or "new performance art", she emphasises the need to create with a stunning phrase: “Creating makes me want to keep on living” (1).

With the aim of learning more about her work, I want to present this interview with Framis on the occasion of her participation in the exhibition at LABoral. I hope you like it and it brings deeper knowledge about this artist. Enjoy!

Your work focuses on performances and public interventions that get viewers involved in one way or another: Why do you think the active relationship of viewers with art is so important?

Because art is for the people. I belong to a generation of people that used to believe (and we still do) that art is not only an object of value, but rather a tool for the people to get together, talk, get informed, exchange ideas, etc… It is also a means to resist what is happening today and, especially, to create new possibilities to live together.

Moreover, the art experience does not have to be only visual and it can include all our senses, as it happens in life itself. In our daily life we not only see, we also live…and living, like art, is a total experience.

Many of your works offer solutions to social issues. An example is La habitación del grito where you were trying to relieve viewers’ anxiety and frustration. Do you think that art is effective to channel and solve the current problems?

Yes, I do… and I also think that changing the life of one single individual is already a success.

I really think that art is an advance way of thinking of society, is talking about the invisible, is talking about freedom. That is why I think that art, like cinema, literature, dance or architecture changes societies and human relationships.

In 2008 you presented a work called Guatanamo Museum, a hypothetical museum in the location of the current American base to commemorate the horror of a chapter of history that is currently to present. What is the origin of the idea for this work?

Elmgreen & Dragset commissioned several artists to work on the concept of Guantánamo. I proposed this work because I think that we must always create spaces that remind us of horror. If we exterminate all memories of horror, we will repeat our history.

Even if we dislike the Holocaust museum, I think it is good that there are spaces for our own mistakes, massacres or fiascos. If we should not remember this past, we would be moving towards a perfectionist society where any disabled, sick or old person would be abolished…

Based on all this I decided to make a hypothetical museum of Guantanamo. Although it could not be visited, I think we must leave room for memory.

You take part in the exhibition Llega un grito a través del cielo, which opened a few days ago. How do you define this show?

I think this exhibition is the first one of this Dutch-Finnish curator, Juha van ´t Zelfte, in Spain. He specialises in new technologies, art, future and music, and he is currently one of the leading curators in Europe.

This exhibition is addressed for Young people in particular and I think it will receive wide coverage. Juha and Oscar Abril can make an incredible duet. Don’t miss this show!

This exhibition project mainly focuses on the impact and terror generated by armed conflicts were drones are being used. How do all the fears, suspictions, threats and distrusts of the current society influence your artistic activity?

Well… I think that all this that you mention has always existed. That is why I consider the work that I present here an archaelogical work.

I think that fear is lack of faith and the lack of trust on society, and I know that these days it is hard to be confident. Nevertheless we must try and trust our contemporaries every day because we ourselves are this trust.

What work are you presenting in this exhibition?

I have reproduced the first drone in history that was a pigeon with to photo cameras that was used in World War I.

History of Drones

History of Drones, 2014. Work by Alicia Framis

What other artistic project do you have in mind?

I am preparing habitaciones prohibidas. Next November I present at the gallery Annet Gelink in Amsterdam a work called Habitación de libros prohibidos, a small room where you can read and discuss books that have been banned. In addition you may learn when and how they were censored.

And last, What would be your piece of advice to those recently graduated young artists who want to develop a career in the creative industry?

They should leave Spain. It is good to look for the uncomfortable, go out and learn about the world. I would also recommend that they challenge themselves every day and that they unite with other artists and professionals more than ever to create thought and action collectives.

I will finish by presenting the edition of Metrópolis on Alicia Framis broadcasted by TVE on May 18, where you can learn more about this artist and her philosophy.


(1) Lidia Martín Arauja, "Vendedores de ideas", S Moda de El País, April first, 2012. Article available at

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