José García Oliva
Jose Garcia Oliva is a Venezuelan-Spanish artist based in London. Before the RCA, he received a BA (Hons) in Fine Art from Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Madrid. His practice navigates the collision of identity, place and labour — the state of in-between-ness (nepantla). These interrelationships are explored by their social and political context; the living colony’s ashes — and its echo embedded in our contemporary society. His practice is research-led and situated, taking the form of participatory performance, installation and drawing.
He founded the Window Cleaner Society (2019) during his studies at the RCA. He has worked in an interdisciplinary and collaborative scheme for participatory art projects, public interventions, teaching and organising workshops, working alongside with Fussée de détresse, Brussels; Arlington House, London; RCA Summer Courses; Seven Sister Market; Justice4Grenfell and The Rightshirt. He is currently working on two ongoing projects, one commissioned by The Cleaners & Allied Independent Workers Union (CAIWU), and the other by Lancaster Arts, and Live Art Development Agency (LADA)
He has been awarded with his drawing “out-of-date” as the image of the year 2020 by Next Generation, Please, Brussels and won People’s Choice Award 2019 by Via Art Prize. His work has been exhibited internationally at Centro Cultural Isabel de Farnesio, Madrid; Embassy of Brazil, London; Bozar, Brussels; Typography Singularity, Online; Dyson Gallery, London; Walmer Yard Cultural Centre; and other independent settings. His work is planned to be exhibited this year at Lancaster Arts and The Design Museum, London.
My practice aspires to create awareness through visual confrontations and site-specific interactive platform where participation and collective antagonism activate the public sphere. The plan is to stimulate non-existence conversations and evoke empathic actions that amplify marginalised voices, reveal invisible labour and unveil stories hidden in the backstage of social constructions (society of the spectacle).
My final piece wasn’t meant to be online, but due to the current circumstances, an online platform was the frame we had. This digital format re-shaped my intention, resources and intended audience – the visitor is now a user, and the gallery is now a device. This site-specificity and its context redirect my final project into new roots to explore identity, online interactivity, globalisation, invisibility and outsourcing on the internet.
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Screenshots – Documentation
When I came to the Royal College of Art, I realised that the first contact I had with people from South America in London were the cleaners working at the College (Julian, Jorge and Diego from Colombia; and Javier from Bolivia). The first thing I thought was, why are they all South American? Isn't this another portrait of post-colonialism in front of us? South Americans cleaning, Africans guarding, Europeans teaching.