“My observation is my curiosity”

Artist Francesca Martí on how we communicate

Francesca Martí, award-winning Mallorcan artist, is sat in front of her newest exhibition Energy Ray at the Gerhardt Braun Gallery in Palma. Not one to be swayed by popular opinion, Francesca’s reflections feel entirely her own. “My observation is my curiosity” she tells us, intrigued by how we – as a planet – communicate from both within our societies and ourselves. This is where her artwork the Believers stems from as she points to the army of sculptures around us who line the walls. They are fixed in their positions, but feel as if they are moving forwards, as a collective. It is through this movement – of which Francesca calls “an invisible energy” – that her work examines how we interact.

She is intrigued by the idea of Slow Luxury and it doesn’t take long for our conversation to turn to the role of technology in our lives. The rapid circulation of news and its consistent presence is an area that Francesca likes to observe. She recalls a recent trip to China, where she describes a sea of people connected to their phones – as if the human body and mobile were one. Always communicating to this degree has led to an increase in noise and information, which Francesca remarks is mostly “people talking about nothing.” Through block colours and “soulless” faces, her current exhibition looks at this in further detail, of how – through mass information – our identities merge, blend and think in unison.

She emphasises how language has changed since the pace of technology, which in turn, affects the pace of our thoughts. In preparation for her 2012 collection Planet of Fusions Francesca interviewed people from all walks of life, whether it be politicians, fishermen or artists, to present a multi-media piece involving 150 recycled satellite dishes. On each satellite, video portraits and new broadcasts were projected, calling into question not what we speak but how. “Words are not the same as before, words were shorter, the communication was different. People had more time to think, now everything is just too fast.”

We contemplate a future where this pace reaches breaking point, and Francesca brings her hands together, gesturing a gap between our thinking and emotion. “Mentally we’re connected, but emotionally not. It’s a problem because we need our emotions.” Is this why we feel the need to disconnect? She agrees without hesitation, outlining the importance of finding a moment for ourselves. To fulfil this herself, she cycles every day to the nearby square where she stops for a coffee, observing how the world moves. “It’s a moment I have some space, and say thank you to everything I see around me.”

With over 25 years creating magnetic collections of art, her curiosity for communication continues to span her work. Her Believers are a consistent symbol which call into question how we act, behave and think as a collective. A necessary conversation at a time of mass immigration and rapid political change. “Everything can be difficult or not, it depends how you see it” says Fransesca, excited by how art inspires each of us to question the world around us.

Photos by Sara Savage