Joan Rabascall

Was ‘pop art’ a term used by yourself or colleagues or was there a different terminology that referred to a new figurative art movement in the 1960s and early 1970s?

In France, several movements coexisted around a renewal of realism: pop art, nouveau réalisme, figuration narrative, etc.

Did you ever consider yourself (now or in the past) a pop artist?

During the 1960s everything new was pop, in art, fashion and music of course.

Did your work engage with current events in the 1960s and early 1970s?

Yes, since my inspiration was the mass media of the time.

How did you choose the subject matter for your work included in The World Goes Pop?

Atomic Kiss reflects the year 1968. It was the year of student protests from Berkeley to Berlin, via Paris. The refusal of Vietnam War, the threat of a possible world war …

Where did you get your imagery from (what, if any, sources did you use)?

Newspapers, magazines and advertisements constituted my primary material. By bringing together images taken from various publications, images that should have never have come together, I would get unexpected juxtapositions, new discourses. It was the game of ‘found images’.

Were you aware of pop art in other parts of the world?

Only in Western parts of the world. American pop through magazines and catalogues. British pop directly through trips to London. Some feeble signals sometimes came from Eastern Europe.

Was commercial art an influence on your work or the way in which it was made?

Commercial and non-commercial art, of course.

Was there a feeling at the time that you doing something important and new, making a change…?

No, what was important, I believe, was to get away from abstract art, which was very present in galleries, and do something that was corresponding to the time in which we were living. Move forward and look ahead, not at the rear-view mirror.

Was there an audience for the work at the time – and if so what was their reaction to it?

At the beginning there was a curious audience and an intimate circle who went to the galleries, which were often temporary spaces, sometimes in private places. Then the circle grew and the galleries asserted themselves.

Looking back at these works, what you do think about them now?

I think they correspond to a past moment when the youngest protagonists appropriated the large field of the possible. Laboratory came before market. Today it is the contrary: art is dependent on the globalised market society of spectacle.

September 2015