Artist: Alvaro A.S.F
Exhibition: A Response to Classical Music
Media: Acrylic, Canvass, Clothing, Film, Music, Mixed Media
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Werby Gallery
Website: under construction
About the Artist
Alvaro A.S.F is an undergraduate student at CSULB’s School of Arts program. Alvaro is working towards his BFA degree in the School of Art’s Sculpture program. He is a transfer student from a community college and is excited for his first semester at CSULB and for his first exhibition at the school, ‘A Response to Classical Music’. Alvaro was born in Guatemala and immigrated to the United States at the young age of eight. His passion for art existed from an early age and was manifested throughout his childhood in a variety of ways. Through the difficult transition of cultures and languages, Alvaro put art aside in order to focus more on his academic improvements throughout primary school. His passion for art grew throughout the years and soon enough his focus was aimed towards it once again. Alvaro hopes to one day obtain his teacher certification and teach art, to enable and encourage young children to pursue their own passions and explore the extensive world of art.
Alvaro’s piece ‘A Response to Classical Music’ is a mixed media exhibition which incorporates paint, videography, music and clothing to create an existential experience for the user. As one first enters the Werby Gallery, on the left-hand side is a large white canvas. On this canvas, were white buckets, along with white clothing and white paint. On the opposite end of the gallery was the canvas on which Alvaro responded to Beethoven’s Overture Fidelio. This canvas, contrary to the one on the left, was black and streaked with an array of colors. Alongside the canvas, were Alvaro’s clothing that was used for the response to classical music as well as the buckets of paint. Between both of the unique canvasses, Alvaro’s seven-minute response video was being projected onto the gallery wall, while the overture was also being played for the audience to enjoy.
When speaking to Alvaro regarding his gallery exhibition, he first made really clear that his exhibition was in no way considered a performance in his eyes. According to Alvaro, a performance is associated with expectations and a choreography of some sort. Alvaro explains that his piece is a raw response to classical music that was not premeditated but rather a process of simple reaction. Regarding his song choice, Alvaro knew he wanted to respond to classical music because that is a genre that he is not exposed to on a daily basis. Alvaro states that is constantly responding to music, but not classical music simply because it is not part of his daily soundtrack. He wanted to explore a music genre that he had not yet fully had a response to. When picking Beethoven’s Overture Fidelio, Alvaro made sure to listen to the least amount of it possible before he finalized his decision on the song in order to ensure the sincerity and rawness of his response. While responding to the music, as seen in his seven-minute video, Alvaro takes acrylic paint and uses it to imprint his movements and response to the music straight onto the canvas. After the response to the classical music was finished, he wanted the exhibition to display his journey from beginning to end. The white canvas with the white props portrayed the beginning of the journey, where as the black painted canvas portrayed all of his responses to the overture. Alvaro hopes that when his audience experiences his exhibition and watches his film, that they could enter in a trance like state and like he too, explore their responses to the music.
When watching Alvaro’s response video to Beethoven’s Overture Fidelio, I was quite mesmerized. It was a very interesting experience to see how his body was physically reacting to the music. In my personal experience, sometimes I tend to think of classical music as a more relaxing genre that does not have a lot of climaxes but I was pleasantly surprised to see both Alvaro and the song reach multiple climatic moments. I believe that besides this exhibition to be quite aesthetic and entertaining, it was quite eye opening to pay attention to my own responses to music throughout my daily routine. Interestingly enough, although I do not move as vigorously and as passionately as Alvaro does so in his response, I feel as though my so called soul or mind is constantly having such a response to music on a day to day routine. It was interesting to see all of the emotions that Beethoven’s Overture Fidelio evoked from me, take physical form through Alvaro’s own response.