What are some of the things that come to mind when you think “Mexico”?
If it’s Tacos and Tequila, then you and I are both uncultured swine (kidding) (not kidding).
Last month, September to be exact, I crossed a destination off of my Wishlist as I travelled to the Frida Haven that is Mexico City.
Apart from my knowledge of Frida and Diego, I knew absolutely nothing about Mexican art or the ‘art scene.’ As I look back on my trip, I am happy to say that they both exceeded my expectations, especially as a non-spanish speaking tourist (yeah I know, I’m working on it).
Though I could write a 10,000 word essay on all the ways Mexico City impressed me, this post in particular highlights the gemmiest of contemporary-art-gems that I stumbled upon in my gallery hopping.
Behold, the fascinating, Martín Soto Climent.
Born in Mexico City, Mexico, Climent’s work explores both physical and theoretical dimensions. Though I’ve only seen the Everything Begins Somewhere Else exhibition in person, I think he has become a favourite of mine, and is one to look out for!
Everything Begins Somewhere Else takes a strong command of your attention the moment you enter the room. I was enthralled by these monotoned, immersive structures.
Now and again I glaze over Climent’s pieces and find that each time conjures new meaning for me. In my opinion, they are connotative of human anatomy; the universe and astronomy; nature; sexuality; symmetry… I can go on. But what stands out most of all, is his choice of material: your average pantyhose and linen canvas.
Now, I can see how abstract art can often pose many questions to the viewer (the most common being “why?”). Admittedly, I don’t often have an immediate opinion either. This body of work, however, expresses different thematic worlds within the exhibition space, as each piece alludes to existing objects that do not (physically) appear before us. Even its two-dimensionality is challenged by its conceptual and physical components, allowing it to embody a more sculptural composition.
In his write up, Climent states, “the objects that I manipulate to compose my work reveal themselves as gently altered objects. And I have to accept that they are. But rather than simply seeking an alternation, what I really try to generate with my subtle modifications, is an alterity that duplicates the reality of the object. An alterity that allows us to feel that the object is here and somewhere else, that it comes from another reality where senses originate, complementing our own.”
Reading this really made me think about the way people receive art (and maybe even design). I wonder if going to art galleries or museums help to condition the mind to analyse and deliberate the messages channeled through the artwork. Even if we do not receive the same message, is it not the tapping into our consciousness that makes us more expansive? On the flip-side, with an already heavy shadow cast upon the creative industry- how do we influence the general public to appreciate craftsmanship or acknowledge that ART IS WORK, when there is an eminent barrier?
Which brings me to my favourite part of Climent’s reflection: “the only tangible thing in art is the emotional experience it provokes, which is neither measurable nor objective. Art is as subjective as life whose only purpose is to consume itself in order to recreate itself. And this is exactly where mankind is currently caught at: we consume for the mere sake of consumption, we produce for the sake of production and we have entirely forgotten about our purpose of regeneration.”
* The images in this post were taken by yours truly at the Proyecto Monclova Gallery in Mexico City (2018). To view more images from this exhibition, please click here. To see more of Martín Soto Climent’s work, click here. *