José Lerma & Héctor Madera

Selected works by José Lerma & Héctor Madera

José Lerma & Héctor Madera
Bust of Emanuel Augustus

2012

Paper bust

Dimensions variable

Lerma and Madera, Spanish- born artists who live and work in the USA, are interested in “the minor histories, the B-sides”. On discovering the work of Emanuel Augustus – the recently retired American journeyman boxer, known for his clowning about in the ring – Lerma and Madera decided to honour him with a portrait bust appropriate to such an overlooked yet fascinating figure.
Their initial interest was sparked by his evocative and imperial-sounding name, which made him seem a worthy figure for "a marble bust"; such formalities seemed inappropriate, though, for a man nicknamed The Drunken Master. The work is, instead, composed of coloured paper crumpled around hidden supports, and is comically outsized for a portrait bust, awkwardly dominating the gallery space. Abstracted to the point of near unrecognizability, Emanuel’s face is no likeness; rather, it’s an attempt to capture the chaotic heroism of the man himself.
The paper seems to mimic the swollen forms of punchbags, the head to sway as though reeling from an uppercut. But it’s also a homage to Emanuel himself, not merely a satire. Lerma and Madera have described Emanuel’s unpredictable boxing style as “an aesthetic endeavor, quirkiness and humour over the ‘I’m all business’ attitude of most athletes”. Ultimately, the work is a tribute from two artists to another, a nod to a kindred spirit.

Text by Ben Street


Other Resources

artfacts.net
Additional information – José Lerma

artnet.com
Additional information –José Lerma

joselerma.com
Artist’s website- José Lerma

xavierhufkens.com
Additional images and information- José Lerma

thegreengallery.biz
Additional images and information- José Lerma

loock.info
Additional images and information- José Lerma

camraleigh.org
Additional images and information- José Lerma

momaps1.org
Studio Visit- José Lerma

tandernpress.wisc.edu
Additional images and information- José Lerma

centrefortheaestheticrevolution
Exhibition information and images- José Lerma