Even if her name doesn’t ring a bell, the words of Coco Capitán’s handwritten aphorisms (“Common sense is not that common”, or “I want to go back to beliving [sic] a story”) certainly will. In offbeat lettering, those words were inscribed onto a range of tank tops, tees and hoodies for Gucci’s Fall/Winter 2017 collection, before adorning the walls of buildings in New York and Milan.
After such a high-profile collaboration with the Italian fashion house, it would be natural for most of us to assume that we are already well-acquainted with Capitán’s work. However, as her new solo exhibition, “Is It Tomorrow Yet?” shows us, we’ve barely scratched the surface.
Held at the Daelim Museum in Seoul, the exhibition is composed of 150 works by the Spanish artist, both old and new, unseen and countlessly Instagrammed. There are paintings, photographs and videos, as well as the remarkable results of Capitán’s experiments with ceramics, sculptures and installations that were created especially for the exhibition.
Regardless of when they were made, the artworks presented at Is It Tomorrow Yet? are tied together by a single idea: time. That is, the present moment, which Capitán seems to have a better grasp on than most of us. Take her aforementioned Gucci collaboration, for example, in which she posed the question, “What are we going to do with all this future?” The answer is nothing; all we truly have is the present, as Capitán’s work reminds us.
With such an impressive scope of artworks and the depth of the ideas behind them, it can be hard to bear in mind that Capitán is only 26 years old. But all other details about her are unimportant, distracting us from what she is, first and foremost: an artist.
Below, Capitán tells us more about her art, what drives their creation and what they might look like in the future.
How did your new exhibition, Is It Tomorrow Yet?, come about?
It was an exciting collaboration with Daelim Museum, whom I respect for their forward-thinking approach to curation and artist selection. I wanted to show a broad overview of my most prized work (not a retrospective, as I am not old enough for that yet!), which you will see in the museum.
You explored new mediums for the pieces that you created especially for the exhibition. What drew you to them and what was the experience like?
Each discipline and medium offers the opportunity to create something different. This exhibition allowed me to try new mediums such as ceramics, sculpture, and installation. Installation particularly intrigued me; you think up an idea, and then bring it into life with the help of many collaborators. It is very rewarding.
Do you see yourself working more with sculpture in future?
I would love to. Sculpture, across scales and materials, offers very exciting opportunities.
Text plays a significant role in your works. Is there a reason behind this? Is it a sort of rebellion against a world so oversaturated with images?
It's not a rebellion as such. I see text as another medium. It's the most widely used and therefore accessible art medium, and I think it can transmit powerful messages.
Your collaboration with Gucci was also centered on words. What was the experience of working with Alessandro Michele like?
I was very honoured to work with Alessandro and the house for this collaboration. After several years of working with Gucci on interesting projects, it was a great opportunity and I am very proud of what we created.
How did it feel to see your work being worn or on murals?
It's certainly a thrill to see your work adorning a person or a building.
Is there anybody that you'd love to collaborate with?
The greatest: Maurizio Cattelan.
Your work is very much grounded in the present, but does the past influence them in any way?
Absolutely! My early life in Southern Spain was very formative to my ideas about culture and our place in the world. It's an area I revisit frequently.
What would you do if you had the power to bend time at your will?
I would revisit my childhood, and take more pictures.
You’ve stated before that becoming a celebrity is not your goal. What do you hope to achieve in future then?
I am an artist, and I would like to be an artist as long as I can.
“Is It Tomorrow Yet?” by Coco Capitán will run until 27 January 2019 at the Daelim Museum, Seoul.
All images © Daelim Museum Korea