Jose Carlos Martinat’s art is at the interface of real and virtual worlds; his sources of inspiration are architecture and the urban milieu, human and cyberspace memories. His multimedia installations and sculptural assemblages incorporate a diversity of materials and strategies to alter preconceptions in regards to where things belong, he brings imprints meant for the street to the gallery, as an archeologist of sorts. This offhand methodology manifests in a number of manners.
Banner-like objects are made from transfers of political parties’ logos found in the city walls by means of lifting off the texture of the paint in resin. These Pintas are unmediated appropriations of political slogans fragments that end up pasted onto gallery walls.
The fascination with architectural modernism is matched in Martinat’s case by a penchant for a certain kitsch aesthetic that he articulates with the inclusion of tagging, strident colour and street art strategies. His Ejercicios Superficiales series encompasses a number of bodies of work in different mediums that generally evoke the idea of superficiality in the use of readymade surfaces covered in graffiti.
The superficiality of his intention – or rather his love of the surface – is also present in the sculptural composition Monumentos Vandalizables – Abstracción del Poder presented in the Mercosul Biennale of 2009, where fragments of emblematic buildings designed by Oscar Niemeyer for the futuristic Brasilia are built in white coated wood, and subsequently offered to the exhibition visitors to spray paint over them with slogans, graffiti and other intervention techniques. The dirtying of the icon could appear like a rebel boutade that conversely serves to perpetuate the iconography of modernism. It could also be a liberating force in the face of the widespread abuse of power.

Text © Gabriela Salgado

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