New Exhibitions at the MAVI: 'The Return' and 'Dry Interior Garden'

The Museum of Visual Arts in Santiago, is currently exhibiting two installations, El Retorno (The Return) and Jardin Interior Seco (Dry Interior Garden), by the Chilean artists Raimundo Edwards and Martin La Roche respectively. Here is a profile of their professional characteristics and upcoming exhibitions.

 Raimundo Edwards within his installation <em>Muño</em> (courtesy of Raimundo Edwards)
Raimundo Edwards within his installation Muño (courtesy of Raimundo Edwards)

Raimundo Edwards - El Retorno

1. How did he become an artist?

Raimundo's artistic path started in an assertive random journey, interpreted through his art. When he was 16 years old and in school, two replacement art teachers once told him that something that for him may not contain any sense or value, such as a doodle, could embed a code, and this meant that certain codes could be used to say certain things. Understanding this in the realms of art, things could be expressed through visual parameters, such as paintings, sculpture, drawings amongst others.

2. Art characteristics

Much of the artist's work comes from recycled materials, often things that have been found along highways and roads. These can include industrial elements, rubbish and even bones or carcasses of animal roadkill victims.

<em>Vial sector diesel consumption per cápita</em>
Vial sector diesel consumption per cápita

Raimundo also uses statistics in some of his work. He has collected statistical graphs of current issues, all connected to transport themes, such as the quantity of petrol used in a particular year. In addition, he creates graphs by using projected transport elements, such as test tubes filled with petrol, to represent a chart that exists in the real life.

3. Artist Profile: The Highway or Transport Artist

Raimundo is a nomadic artist, and when it is mentioned that he could be considered as a “highway artist” or a “transport artist” he does not disagree, as his materials are collected when he is on his bike travelling around the city, or catching a lift in a friend's car. He has an eye for finding interesting things along the way of routes, roads and highways.

4. The Return Exhibition

His new exhibition, El Retorno, is based in his experiences of a Chilean/Argentinian workshop in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The title of this installation talks about the transport sign of Return that exists on Highways, where its magic lies in the fact that even though this sign is called the Return, it does not tell you where you will return to, but only implies the fact of going back to something, somewhere. You can interpret it as you wish, as you experience the installation, of what it provokes within you by looking at a series of spaced objects, and where these objects are located. The artist has a logic, or a rhythm of space perhaps, where something depends on the angle of its position, and which can drive you to somewhere else along the projection of the installation, on a random but assertive journey.

Another of the characteristics of this installation is that the artist likes to present high-tech objects with low-tech material. An example is seen in low resolution video recorders with GPS incorporated into them, the duality, again, of the precarious and high technology.

Raimundo plays with an open spectrum, and retreats from absolute concepts, since these encapsulate meanings and restricts the artist's creativity, and that of the observer as well. He questions himself from what he sees, producing more questions than answers. These are projected through personal codes, a personal alphabet, which is based on the artist's own experience.

You can see Raimundo Edwards' art at his webpage.

Martin La Roche (courtesy of Martin La Roche)
Martin La Roche (courtesy of Martin La Roche)

Martin La Roche - Jardin Interior Seco

1. How did he become an artist?

As a child submerged in a world of puzzles and observation, Martin enjoyed distributing things in space and colors. He would sit in solitude contemplating his garden for hours and, not only satisfied with putting puzzles together, he would turn them over and get the shapes ordered without the colors. He enjoyed geometry, since he could be lost in the “pieces”, as well as in the “groups of pieces”, as both offered a world in themselves with numberless fantasies. He found in art the liberty of time and leisure, as well as of freedom of exploration.

2. Art Characteristics

Most of the materials used in Martin's installations, are cardboard (recycled paint samples), paintings and ceramic.

His work is characterized by an anti-disciplinary touch, since he paints, creates ceramic and cardboard pieces, and he mixes them all, not allowign the “school classic classification” to limit him to only one type of art. He believes that the classification of art or music does not help understand a situation since it is not a world that only opens itself in museums or exhibition. These “art situations” seek to express human inter-relations and many other subjects, which cannot be ordered as such. Hence his anti-disciplinary approach.

3. Artistic profile

Martin has a recurrent “fetish” for miniatures. For him, small things generate great pleasure. The synecdoche (Collins Dictionary: a figure of speech in which a part is substituted for a whole or a whole for a part), the piece for everything, takes him to a miniature world, entering a whole universe, in this small scale observatory. All pieces are fragmented, and each fragment is a universe.

<em>De cara a la pared</em> by Martin La Roche
De cara a la pared by Martin La Roche

Women are very important in Martin's works, and their particular formal freedom with regards to dress codes and hair style gives the artist an ease with which to experiment with such things. Cities also appear regularly in Martin's installations due to their female representation. Certain psychoanalytical studies reveal that old texts mention cities as women: Alexandria, Rome, they referred their living grounds as a woman.

In his piece, he portrays this with women taking ownership of a city. The story behind this agitated city is the Santiago street Angamus, where he used to have his workshop, a place revolutionized by construction works, workers and activities that influenced him when creating the piece mentioned above video.

4. Dry Interior Garden

The Dry Interior Garden exhibition of Martin La Roche, is a Japanese wink so to speak, that invites you into a contemplative attitude of Japan and the idea of Japan. Recently Martin traveled through Europe for three months, where he acquired the taste to visit every botanical garden as he went from country to country. One of these gardens, the Botanical Garden in Lisbon, had a particular story about a special tree, called Ginko Biloba, a very important tree and symbol in oriental culture, since the Japanese used to allocate this tree to their temples and important palaces. The Ginko Biloba tree is a sort of living fossil, the last species of its family. After the Hiroshima nuclear bombing, among the few living things that remained in the city were 6 Ginkos, and they are considered as International Heritage symbols of Humanity.

Martin sees them as the last hope after devastating destruction has overcome almost everything. This hope could be expressed metaphorically as a small intimacy, a small shelter, an intimacy such as this story that is being passed to you as you read, a small light in an unbearable darkness.

The fragility of this exhibition takes you from one point to another, from one experience to another, inviting you to discover the present and your own intimacy. Its fragility is its strongest characteristic.

You can see the work of Martin La Roche on his webpage.

Museo de Artes Visuales (MAVI)
Fundación Cultural Plaza Mulato Gil de Castro
José Victorino Lastarria 307, Santiago
Metro Universidad de Católica (Line 1)
Entrance is $1000

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