There is something beautifully-captivating about the work of Juan Rutina. While the abrasive collages he creates hold a forceful power, projecting severe and often morbid images, his delicate arrangement and sometimes cheeky composition, construct an oddly delightful world. For Rutina, the work stems from a basic need to create. And without a political agenda, the work seems to jab at a more humanistic nerve, something beyond categories such as ‘capitalism’ or ‘art.’ Madre has been obsessed with his work for a long time, and while we were convinced that he was a wild anarchist, this interview proved otherwise…kind of.
– What’s your name and where are you from?
My name is Juan Rutina. I’m from Caracas, Venezuela, and am currently based in Barcelona, Spain.
– Why do you make art?
Back when I was living in Caracas it was insanely difficult to physically get the stuff I liked (zines, books, etc) so most of the content I consumed was through the internet, which being a kid from the 80´s, was very frustrating. This frustration combined with the shear boredom and numbness of having a “real job” led me to make my own zines. So my first collages were really just an excuse to create content for a zine.
– Why do you work with collage?
I really don’t know how to draw or write so collage seemed like the best way for me to create content. Also, I really like stealing. So stealing images made sense to me.
– Are you trying to communicate something with the viewer?
Not really. My whole approach to doing what I do, is that by today’s social standards it really doesn’t make any sense to do it. I spend a lot of time and money doing it and don’t make any of it back. I like that. It has become the sole purpose of doing it. If I communicate anything it to be that making things that don’t really make “sense” in a capitalist society is how the best things get done.
Would you consider yourself an anarchist?
I believe that the world in general should function a lot more in solidarity, and in relying in one another for support. I don’t think humans naturally need a set of fixed systems (be it a state or a capitalist system) in order to live together. But I don’t think I’m an anarchist, thats just another political party.
– A punk?
I appreciate the sense of community and solidarity but there are way too many rules for me.
Do you consider your work to be political?
I think it is, but not intentionally. Maybe it has something to do with what I was saying before, the way that the work is conceived, as a reaction to what would be expected of me. There is no “logical” reason for me to do it, i think that’s what makes it political.
If you could share a glass of mezcal with anyone, living or dead, who would it be and why?
I’m going to cheat on this one and give a few answers. From an idealistic point of view it’s a tie between Young Thug and Richard Serra. But as I write this what id really like is to be back in NYC sharing a drink with my girl and my brother whom i miss a lot.