Magical Minutae - an interview with Pedro Ruiz

Part of the presidential state visit was s atop at Pedro Ruiz's (Colombian painter, Bogota.1957) exquisite show "Oro, Spirit and Nature of a Territory", a travelling exhibition of 33 miniature works, where spectators are challenged to look through multifaceted layers that unveil a rich and complex nation. Ruiz's love of nature and of his country is captured though his precise miniature paintings, mounted on large gold frames. Having studied at National School of Fine Arts in Paris, his work is imbuded subtley with the social and political fabric of Colombia. We managed to catch up with this worldwide exhibitor, including Museums in Mexico, Colombia and Spain, as well as prestigious galleries worldwide, during his exhibition this week.
Sonia Ciruelo

Latino Life: Your exhibition obviously reflects your love for your country ( it is a three years project where children have a voice and focus in their every day life's positive experiences) How was your own childhood growing up in Colombia. What was your earliest memory?

Pedro Ruiz: My life was normal and happy most of the time. When I was a child, I used to be by myself so I could draw without interruptions. I was also surrounded by books from my father’s library and even though I’m not a great reader, books are part of my life.  Regarding my earliest memory, I just remember a big green field with pines and tall buildings. Perhaps it was London but also it could have been Bogotá. But it could have been my imagination, like many of my memories.
LL: Please tell us about your new exhibition "Oro Spirit and Nature of a Territory". Is there anything in particular that drew you to the project?

PR: Many ideas took me to ORO. First it was an idea that runs in all my work permanently, and it’s that I have a duty with the land where I was born. I have a duty of respecting my motherland and to feel all the love that she gives me. Then I choose not to talk about violence because everybody has that stereotype about Colombia. I decided to talk about the innocence of my country. I think innocence is a force that can change our way of thinking and bring solutions if we allow her to be part of the discussion if we give her a voice.

LL: You have conceived for this exhibition 33 miniature works, how long does one painting take you and what is your artistic process?

PR: It took me almost three years to complete this project. At the beginning it was just an idea. I wanted to do a work that would help me to understand why I had chosen to continue painting in a moment that everybody, artists, curators and public were finding other ways of doing art.  At first they were only five paintings. They were small so I could carry them everywhere I went. But people who started to see those works they began to give ideas and people’s opinion matters to me. So, it’s a collective world in a way because many of the paintings were ordered. Sometimes in a kind way sometimes not but if the idea was good it didn’t matter to me. When it comes to create, everything works for me.
LL: Can you tell us about the book "ORO VITAL" Spirit and nature of a territory.

PR: -The book that comes with the exhibition is a memory of all those workshops called ORO VITAL which are a very important part of this work.  It’s an experiment that wants to lead the children to find what is valuable in their surroundings. The final objective is to make them conscious of the good things that the everyday life has to offer. No matter what kind of terrible problems they have had in the past. We have been blessed with the collaboration of many great people that think that ORO VITAL is good way.
LL: The works are beautifully displayed highlighting the gold used in the image, why using this colour, does it has any meaning to you?

PR: is very important for native people in my country. It has an energy that has to be treated with respect, is sacred. That’s the meaning that I want to communicate and to use to make each image an icon of what we have to preserve. Like in the medieval or renascent times I use gold to communicate how valuable is for me my country and the people who lives with me.

LL:Your work is incredibly precise with vibrant colour palette, it's clear you have a strong interest and fascination with regional ecology and biodiversity, can you tell us a bit more about your interest?

PR: I think caring about nature is no longer a choice it’s a matter of survival. We have to work together to find different ways of living in this world. I try to be precise so everybody can recognise what I am talking about. It’s not about a country or a region, not even about ecology or biodiversity. I am working to find a proper manner of being human.

LL: Do you feel you see life in a slightly different way to others or do you observe people to reach your perspectives?

PR: I do both

The exhibition "Oro , Spirit and Nature of a Territory" by Pedro Ruiz runs until 6 November 2016, Maddox Gallery, Maddox Street London W1S 2QE