Unfinished, 2017 (Mixed media)
A Short Film by Rafael Salazar
2017, 16 min
Just as she is completing her latest work of art, Elena is alerted by her landlord that she must stop living illegally in her studio. This will trigger bitter conversations with her boyfriend, confronting her to a reality she has been trying to ignore: it’s impossible to be an artist in New York without selling any work. In her search to find a place in the city and the world, Elena will face one of the greatest fears of all artists: to stop being an artist.
DIRECTOR, WRITER, EDITOR Rafael Salazar Moreno
ARTWORK BY Mary Mattingly
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER Ava Wiland
PRODUCER Rafael Salazar Moreno
CINEMATOGRAPHY Brian Mccann
PRODUCTION DESIGNERS Maite Perez-Nievas
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR Ivan Cordoba
SOUND RECORDIST Merche Blasco
SOUND DESIGN AND RE-RECORDING MIXER Ramon Rico
MUSIC Merche Blasco
DIGITAL COMPOSER Luis M Pla
Paul Ramirez Jonas
I started writing this short in the midst of my own vocation crisis, so for me was an exploration of my future as an artist/filmmaker.
After spending the past six years creating short documentaries about art and the artistic process for leading art institutions – including Art21, the Whitney Museum, A Blade of Grass, and TATE – my work has captured diverse stories about the motivations, challenges and struggles of artists today. I’ve been in awe at the drive and determination of the artists that I have worked with and have sought with this film to expose the often invisible and hidden fragility and disappointment that young artists experience. This film, I hope, goes behind the scenes of many of the films that I’ve created so far, and brings to the screen the personal struggles of an artist in a moment of vulnerability, when drive becomes obsession and selfishness.
I chose to feature the real artwork of Mary Mattingly to point to how we are all, consciously or not, implicated in a mass production system that is harmful to people and to the environment, and yet feels inescapable. I wanted to depict an artist torn between her political ideals and her desire to belong to an art world and participate in an art market that is inevitably entrenched in the global supply chain system her work critiques.