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Conferencia TEDxIndigo Felipe Giménez

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Good evening, and thanks for the invitation. Thank you for coming, and I hope that something intertesting will arise from here, that remains in you and remains also in me. One organizes ideas when this conferences are proposed. I just been told that this is the first TEDx experience in the country and this is something to remark. I felt a little like you when I was asked to participate: until today I didn´t fully understand what TEDx is, which is interesting too, because is like leaping into something that is about to be deciphered. Well, the issue that tempted me to come here, because is an issue, not that worries me, but that occupies me, is this theme about the creative spirit. Something very difficult to speak about, because actually, if there is something that the creative spirit has, is a practical sense about things, an abstract sense of the questions. So, what I chose, regarding the requirements that came with the invitation to the event, which is about choosing some questions that impact on the personal life, that could illustrate the meaning that has the creative spirit to me. When preparing my notes, I realized that I’m a survivor thanks to the creative spirit; it is what saved me from not having a good time. I mean, since I was a kid, like Rodrigo said, things didn´t came out like they were supposed to. I had to be always looking to the kid next to me, because, if I did things naturally, they were never like the teacher said they had to be, or when I did things at home, so the most of the times I had to make some creative accomodations in order not to be left out. I had always a difficult time to be inside the acceptable limits of, I don´t know if the word is “normal”, but the acceptable canons of how the copy should be made, I mean, I started being a lefthanded, I wrote with my left hand. Not only I wrote with my left hand, but I mistakenly used to write to the other side because I thought that way was the right way, because my sister wrote with her right hand so I copied her, generating a series of confusions that later was corrected, so I started writing with the left hand and deleting everything I wrote before. So I had to invent a method, which was a struggle that generated serious trouble to me that I had never overcome, like the untidiness issue. So I was writing and I started having trouble with my teachers because if there is something that you should be careful about is tidiness more than any other issues, at least when I went to school. So I begun to realize that I wasn´t natural for things. The things that came out naturally from me went in a different direction. So I had difficulties in understanding this school thing. I pause here because I wanted to define this thing that I’m talking about, the creative spirit, (I insist with the black one that doesn´t work), the creative spirit that I think is interesting, that is this, like an addition, I mean, the spirit has to do with, and I searched for it on the dictionary, because I’m a better student now than before, and I wanted to confirm an idea that I had, that is “an inmaterial being gifted with reason”. The reason issue, the spirit and the reason, this question that there is someting about rationality in that spirit. And that is a force of nature that gives you some strenght, that leads you to materialize things. So, this creativity that has to do with generating something from emptiness, has to do with something about reason and with action, not only with imaginative creativity. So, I think is an impulse that doesn’t go anywhere but tends to try to overcome, let’s say, a state. And I agree with what Rodrigo said: this is an issue that has a lot to do with personal issues: with the creative spirit thing, one realizes that they did something creative when one reads it as creative. Sometimes you do something, especially in my case which is art, that you do something automatically but people say “Wooow!”. And for me that is not creative at all. Maybe sometimes to organize my atelier is much more creative than those questions. The sense in creativity has to do with taking a leap in solving a state of things. And I also thought about the creative spirit as a natural weapon, as a mechanism, as a weapon that sometimes is useful to defend ourselves against life situations: a creative response; or sometimes to attack situations where we are in a passivity state and we want, I mean, this situation when life bores me, my job bores me, or the relationship with someone, sometimes the creative spirit leads you to attack that situation and allows you to take an action that modifies something. So I think it’s important to know that we have a natural weapon that goes beyond violence, beyond this questions about weapons that attack the physical, but a natural weapon to cope with a situation. When I say this about the creative spirit that was useful to me in a lot of situations and every time was reaffirmed like the best way. Some people pray to God, others to dead people, others to their own religions, others curse. I trust so much on the creative spirit. I mean, it has given me, it is like an action that has taken me to states that have relieved situations, so to say. Maybe something that could be useful to you, I remember in my job history, I worked for many years, I studied and worked as a psychologist. I studied, I learned, I worked, I had many patients, I enjoyed it, but there was a moment when, in parallel with psychology, I painted. But, being born in Mar del Plata, I never, ever thought that someone could make a living from painting. I had this as an issue, not romantic, because the painting thing helped me in a lot of questions, but I never thought that I could make a living from painting or leaving the other job. So I did the psychology thing where the creative spirit helped me in a lot of questions too because there were things that, despite psychology had helped me a lot in ordering myself, because, like anyone that has an experience in psychology knows that if there’s anything important, it is time: is not the same five minutes earlier than five minutes later, there’s a lot of emphasis on framing, and a lot of things that gave me order. There was a time when I was already ordered, and I was starting to... not getting bored, but there was this thing that you see when you have those dreams and say “how great it would be to dedicate myself to painting”. In the meantime I was studying painting with Alberto Bruzzone, so I had a direct relationship with a real painter. I saw, like people who likes music and have their idols, I remember when I knew him... When I was a kid, that I didn´t paint much better than now, luckily... practically, when the passage from kindergarden to elementary school is made, and the person goes from the stain to the cover, ok, in my case, my cover was very much of a stain. So I painted as it occured to me: if I had to draw General San Martín, I did him like this, and I remember these other kids, two or three of them, who drew very well, and they were the first ones being asked to draw something like a strong man or this or that, the other kids asked them to draw the great cartoon. I was never asked anything of this, so, for me, drawing and painting were always in a clandestine place, I mean, I never had to use it, it never was a pretty thing that I did, it was never something made in exchange for anything else. This was good to me, because I never had to change it so much, because of this ambition that we have to please the others, so every time you make it nicer, and each time, sometimes your part in the drawing or in the painting disappears. So, I remember that in my family there weren't painters who supported me. No one supported me, I mean, that part wasn’t supported at all. And I sent it to the basement, and I always remember a teacher who, with this writing that I’m telling you, made me copy things to improve my writing. I remember being left in one of the schools that I went, to copy, and when the teacher came back I had made little drawings around the paper. So, the drawing issue and the necessity of having a hard time, because it probably was a hard time, being separated and forced to copy things, I escaped by the little drawing, which at that moment wasn’t a little drawing but a severe lack of attention. I remember at age 18, a friend who came from a trip to Spain, brought t-shirts of Miró. I looked at them and said “What is this?”, I mean, I had never seen anything like that before. I had only seen the classical art. In 1982 I finished high school. So it was a very limited high school, regarding art. When I saw that, I said “this is art too? This stain?” That opened my mind and I said “I can be an artist too”, “This is what I like”, I mean, it was like waking up, my horizon moved a lot farther, and since that moment I started having idols like Picasso, Miró, and I looked at them in books, and I checked out their photos at the beach, painting, and those guys, with this thing that photos have, that they are beyond time and space, with their families, or at their ateliers... There was this other thing that anguished me, on Sunday afternoons, because I didn’t want to make homework, and then I realized that what anguished me were Mondays instead of Sunday afternoons. So the first thing that I solved when I started working, when I graduate as a psychologist, I mean, I started painting with Bruzzone, and I graduated at the same time, as a psychologist. And I realize that in psychology you can choose your working days. And that was one of my first job leaps when I say “I won’t work on Mondays so I can solve the Sunday afternoon thing”. Said and done, I stopped working on Mondays, and obviously, this creative spirit wasn’t creative insanity, and I had to work harder on Fridays, because it wasn’t like “I don’t care about anything”, but to compensate. I begun to have an interesting job as a psychologist, I work with children clinic, which is exciting, I recover the issue of the drawing, of the graphism, I worked at kindergardens, I stole drawings every time I could because it was incredible to reconnect with that freedom of the children, so, while I painted with Bruzzone, I also worked with free spirits, with pure artists, which is incredible. But I started thinking “Man, what if sometimes...” because the psychology had already ordered me, I worked a lot with institutional psychology, this was at the end of the nineties, beginnings of the 2000’s, when institutions in Argentina were really crazy, and I had studied to fix the institutional neurosis, but the institutions were psychotic, I mean, there was no project, no possibilities, I went to work with the drama, and the guys didn´t get paid, so I said “from where am I analyzing anything?", “For this to be an operation, first there has to be a payment”, Because if there isn't the minimum required for a frame, we are talking nonsense. Really hard. And me, with a creative sensation, because I was into a theme that had to do with the reframe of time and space within the institution, and the subjectivity issue: how the subject loses themselves and then regains themselves, in a time when priorities were obviously others, so the necessities. I mean, I didn’t feel like I was crazy because I really had a lot of work, but it was really hard to want to work from the creativity perspective, where an institution could give creative answers to the problems. All that Bill Gates talked about. He talked about a creative perspective, he said “we have these troubles, we have to search these solutions”. But what happens when it is all so clear, and then some bureaucracies, some neuroses, some power issues, or miseries, or pettinesses, make something as important, that has to do with "this is the problem, we have the people, let’s find the alternatives”, deviates so much, so much. Then it was like the question “what if I leave?”… One, the thing that has with painting, is that reality or art, let’s say reality, is the canvas, I mean, the creative spirit stays there, you don’t need that much to feel that transformation of a white canvas into something that says someting else. In that process of 2000, 2001, I had some personal issues, really though issues. I was already seeing what happened in the history of art. I was looking at the painters that abandoned everything to dedicate to paint. I was 36 then, and I said “I have a few years left”, I mean, I had to take the leap. Because there’s only Dubuffet, Gaugin, but the rest had left before. And at the same time, it was like impossible, because I didn’t want a bohemian leap, I wanted to live well. I always lived very well from psychology, my painting was very protected by my psychology, and I always said “the painter is maintained by the Giménez Foundation”, I mean, the psychologist maintained the painter, and I didn’t want to blind jump, to reunite the family and say “dad is gonna make a move”. No, I really wanted something professional and materially possible. At the same time, I was obviously very psychoanalized, because of my job, and everything was rational, and thought, like “what would it be”, and of course the fear, “what happens if this”, “what happens if that”. Then, something happened, and I really never told it this way, in public, but it’s a fact that determines me a lot. In 2001, my father dies, in a very ugly situation, because of these everyday violences, like robberies, a terrible thing, and I then realize that all of my therapy years didn’t do, that I was left out of words, that I didn’t know how... it was a pain so big, so strong... besides, at the time that this happened, I worked a lot with psychology, I had many patients, many institutions, I liked this working with people, and at that moment I was traveling to a presentation in a very large congress about institution, family and violence, and then the bomb explodes inside, that question of this violence. And actually I remember it was a pain so big, well, people who lost a loved one knows what I’m talking about, that I didn’t know what to do. I remember a situation at my job, when I told a psychiatrist “man, give me something because the pain is so profound”, and I remember that he gives me this medicine for that state of pain. But I said “no, because if there is something that I want to do is to cry”, I mean, that the pain follows its way. And I remember one night, when something really strange happened: I was losing my father’s voice in my head. Because I remember that when all of this happens, sometimes in this duel process one sticks to smells, and the last things that are still there. And I realized that his voice was leaving off my head. I could remember, but the voice was leaving. Then I got up and said “what will I do?” And there was when painting showed up. Or art showed up. And I remember that I started painting chairs, empty chairs, and with my father’s voice, I start to pronounce words that known people said and I heard them from his own voice. Then I started writing all the names, and each name opened me to an experience. I said “I’m going to write it because when this voice disappears at all in my head, I won’t have him anymore”. So I painted all of that canvas, and like I said, the voice left. I mean, I can remember talks and all of that, but I don’t have the voice. The sound of his voice, that I had before, like if I was talking with you, I leave now, even if I don’t know you so well, but your voice will last inside of me for a while. Then I realize that art gives me a possibility, so I started a whole proccess that helped me in a lot of situations. I realize that art offers me a very wide path, and this possibility of a leap using my own weapons: a psychiatrist, a psychologist, etc., or take a leap and see what I could do with a canvas. It could have been a poem, or whatever that is inside anyone of you. Since then, another whole path begins, which has to do with painting, where I leave psychology, but I didn’t leave it for nothing, because I already was doing well with painting, and I begin a whole new path in the world of art, where I start to find a lot of totally new issues, because it was a new world at my 38 years, when I had patients, I was recognized, and I started traveling to Europe with a suitcase and my canvases, and I dropped into someone’s house, and I felt like the guy I was twenty years before. Then creativity and the creative spirit started to make sense again. They gave me weapons again, that as today, and I have now six or seven years dedicated full time to this, travelling a lot with the paintings. The world of art is totally more complex, and you have to give them other answers. So, what I really wanted to leave you is a minimum graphic about the importance of trusting in the creative spirit that, if you look for it, you’ll find it inside. The importance of being able to generate original acts that make us the main actors of, more or less, the life that we want to live. And that in this world of so many determinations, today more than ever, you should try to listen a little to what is that weapon we have inside, which is our creative spirit. In my case, it appeared as a painter. I am really thankful to this religion that has to do with the creative spirit. Well, we’ll keep talking later. Nothing more, that is all.

Video Details

Duration: 24 minutes and 21 seconds
Country: Argentina
Language: English
Views: 80
Posted by: tedxvideo on Nov 26, 2009

Conferencia sobre creatividad brindada por Rodrigo Vives en TEDxIndigo, Universidad CAECE, Mar del Plata, 29 de octubre de 2009.

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