SOLO SHOW JOSE CARLOS MARTINAT
Nov 2010, Art Nexus
A self-taught vanguardist, Peruvian artist JosÃ© Carlos Martinat (1974) presented the exhibition entitled Ejercicios de AbstracciÃ³n y SubstracciÃ³n para DistracciÃ³n (Exercises of Abstraction and Subtraction for Distraction. Speaking about the name of the exhibition, Matinat had this to say: Â¿I decided to create a series of somewhat basic addition and subtraction exercises, in order to give new meaning to certain things or actions.Â¿1
Concurrently with this exhibition, Martinat also presented an installation at the Museo de Arte in Lima to mark the reopening of the museum. With 10,000 visitors during the first week after the opening, the exhibit broke the museumÂ¿s attendance record.
In the exhibition at the GalerÃa Revolver, Martinat included four kinds of works that are markedly different from each other: an installation; a cement sculpture with broken glass; a megaphone suspended from a pendulum, and graffiti images taken from LimaÂ¿s street walls. This show is by no means homogeneous, as the essence of MartinatÂ¿s work is precisely to surprise and challenge viewers. What is art? Who is the artist? Is the artist the person who envisions the work, or the person who executes it? There is no doubt that the answer is the person who Â¿ like Martinat Â¿ envisions the work.
The installation entitled Ejercicio 1 (Mentir-Verdad) (Exercise 1 [Lie-Truth]) is one of the most interesting pieces I have seen. It reflects real life; its meaning resides in and is built into the installation. Viewers cannot access the exhibition room because the installation occupies the entire space; thus, it can only be viewed from the door. The room is divided into two levels, with a wooden floor raised halfway from the floor to the ceiling that covers the entire room and becomes the division between these two sections. On this second level and at the center of this floor, the upper part of the word Mentir (Lie) protrudes, as if the rest of the word could be hidden underneath it. But the spectatorÂ¿s vantage point reveals that, actually, the bottom half of the word Verdad (Truth) is visible from underneath the division. While the second level with Mentir has been completely painted white and appears to be a finished piece, the lower level containing Verdad seems to be still under construction, with parts of the floor missing and bare walls exposing structural layers, such as the support beams. This mid-floor is supported by unpainted wooden beams. Thus, what does the finished nature of the section with the word Lie versus the unfinished nature of the section with the word Truth mean? Is this a reflection of the society we live in? Of course, but also, it reflects our personal lives, for each thing that we say is part of these two realities. Concerning this installation, Martinat has said that Â¿it is a metaphor that is repeated around the world: the lie as something perfectly pre-constructed, and the truth as not quite finished, but instead, in a constant process of development. In the end, each is fashioned from the other.
JOSE CARLOS MARTINAT
November 2011, by Mario Navarro, Arte Aldia International
By destruction I understand all those processes that show what we call losses. Traumas which in most cases explain a complete deracination of memories, but which inevitably leave a series of flashes of reminiscences along the way; semi invisible landmarks that evidence the idealization of a traveled road.
This was my opening remark for the text that accompanied the exhibition I curated in the Seventh Mercosur Biennial, 2009. On that occasion, the focus of the exhibit was the notion of transformation, both from the visual point of view of the works and from that of their production systems and of all the possible extensions rendering the visibility of the socio-cultural context of the state of RÃo Grande do Sul possible. Thus, all the participating works were altered, modified, manipulated or destroyed over the course of the exhibition. In that framework, which was so visually attractive and so evidently dogmatic (I say this with a certain feeling of shame), JosÃ© Carlos Martinatâ€™s project became a point of attraction which allowed many connections with the rest of the works presented.
Monumentos vandalizables: AbstracciÃ³n de poder 1, AbstracciÃ³n de poder 2 (Vandalizable Monuments: Abstraction of Power 1, Abstraction of Power 2)(2009) consisted of two groups of (monumental) sculptures gathering together models of emblematic buildings, representative of Brazilian political and economic power. Modernity and development are the vectors that outline the first references of this project.
Each of these models, however, had been stripped of its original physical appearance; every trace of ornament had been eliminated, transforming all the surfaces into spaces neutralized by a museum-like white, by an architecture free from any kind of crime âˆ’ as Adolf Loos would put it âˆ’ against the image.