A conversation between Enrique Loewe and Izaskun Chinchilla

A conversation between Enrique Loewe and Izaskun Chinchilla







Last June, in CLUB ALMA SENSAI Madrid, we gathered Enrique Loewe and Izaskun Chinchilla together to talk about beauty… Beauty as an honest way to understand our world. It was a magic and timeless moment. With Adrián Salvador, Creative Director of ONESIXONE, acting as moderator, they talked about art, craftsmanship, leather, sense of touch and how important is to look at the past in order to face the future… “Slices of life” said Enrique… This conversation has been included in the prologue of the book from the new collection ENDLESS, curated by the artist Anna Talens.


Talking about beauty


Enrique Loewe – It is a pleasure to be here with you, Izaskun!  

Izaskun Chinchilla – The pleasure is absolutely mine, Enrique.  

E  – I have devoted many years of my life to working for the pursuit of beauty, to think, somehow, what was beauty and what has it got to do with craftwork. Craftwork is trendy because it exists, because we need it, because, in a situation of losing our ways and our values, in such an ambiguous and terribly anodyne situation as the one we are living nowadays, clinging to tradition, to earth, to history, grasping at all these things, seems to be not only a very good alternative but also, it might be our last resort… I don’t know much about emotional   design, because I believe there is no design without emotion… Art and beauty have both a substantial emotional and cultural component. They bring us closer to our roots, to a different way to see life.    

I  – You have talked about craftwork and, curiously enough, for me, it means both going back and looking ahead. I think many people identify craftsmanship with tradition, but I do it with future, lifestyle, everyday activities, products, materials… Due to its simplicity, it seemed we wouldn’t be given what we were looking for within a contemporary environment and product anymore;yet, suddenly, we can return to a countryside life, we can find a tough willow or, carrying out some improvements, the perfect esparto grass for shoes… It is precisely technology and the way things evolve what is releasing us from modernity’s impositions. I truly like this idea of craftsmanship, in the sense of a synthesis of what we are, even more effective than philosophy itself. It would be very difficult for me to give a conscious description of what Spain is; however, when I am manufacturing, when I am making and touching, I see things clearer, I am able to think better, to synthesise what I have around me and understand it in the most truthful way. This thinking while making is exactly what gives sense to everything.  

E  –    Slices  of  life

I  –    Slices  of  life,  indeed.

E  –   As   Walter   Benjamin   said,   it   is   a   matter   of   leaping   back   to   take   some   bits   from   the   past   and   project   them   into   the   future.   It   is   not   about   looking   for   tradition,   heritage,   different   kinds   of   clay   and   materials;   it   is   about   enlighten,   somehow,   the   present   with   those   bits   of   life.   It   is   like   if   something   happens   that   prompts   us   on   our   way,   on   a   correct   way,   on   a   way   with   the   virtue   to   help   us   know   where   we   are   going,   knowing   well   where   we  come  from….     Bringing   craftsmanship   closer   to   culture,   to   poetry,   to   ballet,   to   music…   I   think   there is  a  sort  of  vibration  in  all  this  that  makes  sense.  It  makes  me  hopeful  to  think  about  ecology   and   sustainability   development;   about,   necessarily,   changing   values   because   the   ones   we   have   believed   in   are   not   possible   anymore,   as   luxury   no   longer   makes   sense   the   way   we   have   perceived   it   up   to   now,   because   there   are   better   options   to   define   human   soul…   a   number   of   hopes   which   are   always   searching   and   finding   within   uncertainty.   We   are  in  a  moment  of  lucidity,  of  truth.    

I  –     You   have   accounted   for   the   slices   of   life   in   the   present,   but   I   would   say   that   they   also  involve  freedom.  Occasionally,  I  listen  to  old  coplas  and  what  they  tell  is  that  the  real   happiness   lies   in   living   along   a   river   while   a   canary   bird   sings   every   morning…   Why   couldn’t   we   be   free   to   live   a   little   how   we   want   to,   coming   back   to   that   longed-­‐for   simplicity?  

E  –     What   is   beauty,   Izaskun?   Not   only   pretty   beauty,   but   desire,   longing,   human   soul   unrest.  I  cannot  help  submitting  you  to  this  question…  

I  –     Beauty  is  a  social  right  to  me.  We  should  struggle  to  think  beauty  is  something  that   has   to   be   at   man’s   reach.   Beauty   is   everything   that   makes   your   daily   life   happen   within   a   much   better   environment,   a   way   to   take   care   of   yourself   as   well   as   others.   It   is   the   aesthetic  ascertainment  of  an  act  of  love.  Love  for  the  rest  of  people  who  surround  you.  

E  –     I   believe   that,   to   understand   beauty,   we   need   opportunities,   formative   exercising   and   aesthetic   training.   An   education   is   needed   to   be   able   to   perceive   those   explosive   moments,   emotionally   important…   Slices   of   life.   Slices   of   beauty.   Beauty   can   also   be   the   unexpected,  one  of  those  great  mysteries  that  accompany  us  through  life.  

I  –     Never,  ever  could  we  separate  the  word  culture  from  the  idea  of  beauty.  Beauty  is   a   level   of   intensity.   That   path   you   mentioned   to   reach   beauty   understanding   is,   necessarily,   culture’s   path.   And   I   think,   not   only   is   it   an   institutional   legacy,   it   is   there:   Harvests,   complete   secrets   of   a   territory,   the   history   of   a   place,   popular   culture…Beauty’s   sublimation  through  the realization  of  the  tremendous,  of  the  intense.     Something   beautiful   makes   life   much   more   powerful,   meaningful,   memorable   and   everlasting.   It   may   anchor   yourself   to   your   memories,   to   that   vital   moment,   and   turn   it   into  a  part  of  what  you  are,  inside  your  personality  and  your  own  nature.  

E  –     I  would  tell  you  that  one  of  the  most  beautiful  experiences  in  my  life  has  been  the   possibility   of   joining   designers   and   craftsmen;   approaching   this   handcraft   work   phenomenon  to  the concept  and  the  idea  of,  suddenly,  producing  beauty  heights.       Touch   understood   as   something   ahead   of   the   feeling   of   touching,   something   that   can   be   sensed   by   other   senses,   that   can   be   seen   and   heard;   as   anticipation,   as   hope.   I   leave   behind   a   well-­‐done   work.   It   is   nice   that   kind   of   collective   pride   of   praising   such   a   material   as   leather,   of   reaching   beauty   with   your own hands, of having discovered a number of possibilities and worlds within a material. Quality must be a living concept. It is not a factor, but a combination of elements that join together for a particular purpose. It is more than that; it is a feeling, an endless road. And now, Izaskun,can I ask you something else?  

I  –     Yes, of course, Enrique!  

E  –     Why are you so smart and so nice?    



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