Gastón Ugalde, born in La Paz, Bolivia, is considered a visual arts leader in the region and is often referred to as the “Andean Warhol” by art critics. Ugalde was the recipient of the prestigious Konex award for creativity along with noted Brazilian architect, Oscar Niemayer in 2002. His studies and previous experience includes Architecture at the Universidad Mayor de San Andrés, La Paz, Bolivia; and Economics and Political Science studies at Simon Fraser University, British Columbia in Canada, and studies at the Vancouver School of Art, Vancouver in Canada. Since 1972, Ugalde has had 81 solo shows and over 180 collective exhibitions. He is considered the most important contemporary artist from Bolivia with a career spanning fifty years.
If there was one piece of art you could feature in, which would it be and why?
Any Rauschenberg. He puts an intriguing language in each piece of work…and it represents freedom.
Who inspires you and why? an artist, a family member, someone current or historical?
My mother…she is a true artist.
What are your cultural aspirations? what do you still want to see, do and achieve?
In my next life, I would like to travel and create an out-of-earth piece of art.
What are your favourite cultural cities in the world and why?
New York, London and Sao Paulo. I love all of these cities because they are incredibly dynamic and vibrant, multicultural places.
What are you up to at the moment and where can we find it?
I am currently working on two large-scale murals and site-specific installations, as well as photographing at my studio in Bolivia. I’m most excited, however, about a recent trip across Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia - a beautiful region with the world’s largest salt plains, where I explored one of the world’s biggest copper mines, Mina Escondida, with Absolut Elyx. I was inspired by the connection between the raw energy of the copper and the rich minerals in the earth, and the unique single-estate wheat copper distillation process, which Absolut Elyx uses to make the pure and rich vodka, and how this is transfused through the spirit and the idea of the bottle as a connection point between the original elements and the finished product. I created a series of works in response, which will be showcased during Art Basel Miami Beach at Casa Elyx - a private pop-up club Absolut Elyx has created on the roof of The Edition Hotel. www.gastonugalde.com www.absolutelyx.com November 2014.