The "Portals Series" represents the synthesis of an ongoing journey to unravel the very essence of the landscape. At its core, this series delves into the profound concept of the wavy line, a recurring element found throughout the natural world. This sinuous line manifests itself in various forms of nature, from the undulating contours of majestic mountains to the intricate cracks in rocks, the meandering paths of rivers, and the electrifying arcs of lightning. It is a symbol that simultaneously separates and connects the ethereal from the material.
These fissures are not mere symbols of rupture and division; they are also beckoning doorways to the unknown and the void. They represent the chasms that allow for detachment and evolution, much like the human condition itself. The crack becomes a symbol of the internal wounds we all carry—a shadow that, when illuminated by consciousness, can undergo a profound transformation, emerging as a beacon of light. This alchemical process serves as our healing portal.
In the "Portals Series," I aim to capture the intricate dance between these ideas—the interplay between the wavy line's presence in the natural world and its symbolic resonance in the human experience. Through various artistic mediums, including painting, sculpture, and mixed media, I seek to convey the dual nature of these cracks, simultaneously representing both division and unity, wound and healing.
Each piece within this series is a visual exploration of these themes, inviting viewers to contemplate the dualities within themselves and the world around them. By harnessing the power of art, I aspire to shed light on the shadows within, facilitating a journey of self-discovery and transformation.
Through the "Portals Series," I hope to offer viewers a glimpse into the profound connection between nature and the human spirit, inviting them to embark on their own journey of self-discovery and healing.
My art is an homage to nature, a fusion of landscape abstraction and spiritual exploration, encapsulating the dichotomy between "Matter" in the physical realm and "Light" in the quest for the ethereal and sacred
Barcelona-based artist Mareo Rodriguez uses installation as a medium to express his views on the world. The dual background of architecture and art endows him with a unique creative perspective, and ultimately reflects this avant-garde thinking in his works. The dark material concept is contained in nature and coexists with light. This artistic language full of oppression and impact is becoming a new force that dominates people's senses.
Influenced by architectural concepts, Mareo Rodriguez's works have a mixed and pure contradictory beauty. The vast nature and rational space form a strong collision. The geometric language has become a tool for him to explore the concept and essence, while elements such as landscape and minerals actively complement the natural emotion and material spirit in his works.
The crack is the most powerful attraction in Mareo Rodriguez's work. This element of nature contains multiple hints and meanings. It is not only a symbol of rupture and separation, but also a door to the unknown and the void. The crack The presence of light often heralds the appearance of light. As Leonard Cohen said - there are cracks in everything, that's where the light comes in.
In addition to fractures, abstract or figurative geological elements such as expansion, frequency, gravity, mantle and undulating waves are also present in Mareo Rodriguez's work. During his journey to explore Malta, the scenes of salt quarries and deserts brought him into contact with different topography, geology and land conditions, which also brought new materials and inspiration to his creations.
In terms of color expression, Mareo Rodriguez was deeply influenced by the French artist Pierre Soulages. In order to reveal and emphasize the essence of things, he usually only uses monochrome to express in his creation. In addition to the most basic black and white, he also uses gold, silver, copper and other mineral materials as the medium of color expression. For him, color is not a surface decoration, but a means and a way of reinforcing a concept.
Mareo Rodriguez's black art is the product of his confrontation with the world. Although human beings are in the process of continuous development and change, there is no doubt that the earth's resources and ecological environment are facing unprecedented difficulties due to the excessive exploitation of human beings. Mareo Rodriguez tries to use his works to alert people to the natural law of causal backlash, and to use the carrier of art to convey his grand emotional narrative.
S T I R Magazine
The tectonic movement opens a void at one place to initiate the process of convergence at another. The constant reconfiguration of the earthly matter, even if invisible to the naked eye, casts an experiential effect on the human body. The imperceptibility of these travel paths for the Mexico-born multimedia artist, Mareo Rodriguez, currently residing in Barcelona, is a point of entry to underline the unknown in the face of the human tendency to overpower the things of matter. The natural territory with its distinctive topography is galvanised with the tactile quality with Rodriguez’s works – be it paintings and sculptural installations – to acquaint the viewers with a variety of tension punctuating the planetary motions. The spectrum of works from the dimension of a mountain and rock to a fragmented piece of rock is a language of art which is, in the words of Rodriguez, "a direct line of communication with an upper source; the artist then is nothing but a channel to materialise and convey that message."
THE FOUND Magazine
1. You are good at using complex and changeable light to combine materials, nature and space to create a dynamic installation art. The rock surface of your work fluctuates and layers with the passage of time, showing a dreamy tension in the narrative visual language. Your artistic style is unique and has a great influence in the art world. How did you decide to use minerals and rocks as the main elements of your creation? How did this inspiration come about?
My first approach to art was through the appreciation of the sublime of the landscape, I was always surrounded by the Andes mountain range, which is the mountain range that gives axis to the South American continent, I grew up in Medellin, a city built in a valley surrounded by these majestic mountains ; Then I went deeper and took more aspects of the landscape that fascinated me and there on the closest scale I found textures, lavas, natural phenomena inherent to the mineral kingdom and of course the stone as a fractal unit and memory of the earth.
2. Your creation is out of respect for nature. You abstract the natural landscape and explore the concepts of light, matter, frequency and gravity in physics to explain your understanding of the relationship between minerals and the universe, man and nature, man and spatial structure. What kind of relationship do you want your visitors to build with your artworks?
As you say, my work is a tribute to nature and with it many questions arise, concerns about physical phenomena, geological formations, the physical laws that govern it, the states of matter and their transformation.
There is a component that interests me that the spectators feel and it is the divine presence, and the connections and memories of the soul through that sublime that is felt in the contact of nature; I am interested in a relationship of recollection, introspection, immersion, I am interested in touching the soul of people through my art and transmitting light to them.
3. You said "matter is the condensation of light", which is a very interesting point of view. Can you explain how you understand the relationship between "matter" and "light"?
I consider the existence of this material plane as a cluster of vibrations, of frequencies, that are densified and materialized, we are light, energy, condensed in a body to experience the physical world through matter and thus evolve in our consciousness.
4. "Everything has cracks". This concept is expressed in many places in your works. Can you tell us the meaning of these cracks you call "Portals"?
The crack arises in a very natural way in my work, since it is a line that was unconsciously repeated in several series, and what interests me the most is that it synthesizes in a very subtle way the essence of my work; although the fissure is found on many surfaces, in my case the crack of the rock formations; It is also connected with the wound, with that fissure that we all carry inside, what is interesting is the possibility that that wound, that fissure becomes through vulnerability, its recognition in the door of healing, filling it with light. "Your wound is the door to your healing"
5. You are good at describing the reconstruction of nature by time in earth artlanguage, and are good at using the relationship between light and space to establish the structure of light and darkness. The magnificence and awe of nature are reflected in your works. How do you think your early architectural education influenced your creation? Can you share with us who is your art enlightener?
Although I have had the influence of different artists, my greatest influence will always be and will be Nature and my spiritual experience; everything I need is there, it's just a matter of being attentive to details and signs.
On the other hand, the influence of architecture is also very present, using in some cases geometry as a tool to understand space, section the territory, the ability to abstract and minimize the essence of the concept I want to explore, the choice of materials , and the subtlety of how they are used, constructive systems for the installations –all this mental aspect is undoubtedly marked by 15 years of experience in architecture. It is also complemented by the organicism of my relationship with nature - that is the emotional, visceral and spiritual part.
6. Your work is full of natural features: mountains, rocks, lava... What interesting things and difficulties did you encounter in exploring and studying these natural landforms and types?
My work, as I mentioned before, starts from direct contact through the senses with nature and the mineral kingdom; I always discover new things, the amount of information there is infinite, and in each trip, each country and landscape that I travel I find wonders that surprise me and in that dialogue the new series are born.
7. The world of metauniverse has arrived, and your CryptoArtworks are on the "superrare".What do you think of encryption art、virtual world and NFT? How does it affect your creation?
My approach to the world of digital art began a few years ago with the renderings that I use to conceive the installations, then I had the opportunity to do video mapping collaborations at the Islamic art festival in the United Arab Emirates, I think the use of technology for immersive experiences and energize the art market is great.
On the other hand despite technology gives us the possibility of expanding our physical limits and connecting in an incredible, almost telepathic way, I also believe that a real connection with our nature is necessary and not get caught up in the virtual network all the time, the film “Matrix” seems almost prophetic. ; A balance will always be necessary so as not to forget our human condition.
Stand in front of an abyss
By Elisa Massardo.
Along with vertigo, under your feet, you will find an eternal space, vast, difficult to access but real ... something exists at the bottom of this place. Nature always surprises and these cracks that seem to abound in the desert and in the mountains, how can they have a place in a world as saturated, rational and concrete as ours?
The cracks are not, only, of earthly domain, also in the immensity of the sea they appear in the form of infinite abysses, and demonstrate -as in romanticism-, the impotence of the human being in the face of the immensity of nature. And it is these places, to which the human being has never arrived, those that appear as metaphors of our unconscious, that unexplored space of the mind that has cracks, or rather, fractures that are forming the personality of the individual and that appear in the most complex moments of life, as defense mechanisms or as an invitation to madness, how much do we know about our internal world? How much of what surrounds us?
As Mareo says, a crack can also be: "that fracture that creates a tension between two sides that seem to approach and move away at the same time", can be understood as a constant force of repulsion and attraction, as an uninhabitable, endless space, so natural in the battle of opposites that it can be understood as a space defined by the denial of its existence, to the point that it can be a reflection of nothing. As if it were a tribute by opposition, Mareo's works recall that need to fill that Void, which at some point terrified the world, the horror vacui, which shaped the Baroque and the saturation of images.
It is that these cracks can be an invitation to constant reflection, they can invite us to discover possible worlds, as Baumgarten pointed out about art in general. They are an invitation to live sublime experiences, both from the natural and from the being.
Nature is the main motivation for Mareo's work, probably this is the reason for the intense light work, whose technique is reminiscent of chiaroscuro, but this time with monochrome and without images, with a strong contrast constantly highlighting white on black.
Regardless of the technique, be it sculpture or painting, his work is located on the space, appropriating every inch and impacting through the reduction of color. In this way he manages to focus attention, without distraction, on this invitation to imagine what the abyss brings before us.
"Portals" is presented as a reflection on space, on the possibility of knowing new worlds in the face of that feeling of eternal emptiness, that feeling of uncertainty that, among other things, the pandemic brought to the collective memory in a fresh way and that it is present in our daily events. It is a way of standing in front of the abyss; before infinite possibilities.
The secret of life is learning how to die
by Natalia Castillo Verdugo
When we look at the sky, we are contemplating the past of the cosmos: millions of years contained in celestial bodies that shine at night with their own light and that little by little are fading. This transition between darkness and light, that center -invisible to the eyes but latent in the nucleus of the universe- is the main theme that Mareo Rodriguez (México City, 1981) proposes in Portals.
Mareo has appropriated the light and has taken charge of turning it into matter through his work to take us on a journey that begins in the stars and transports us to the center of the Earth. He is an artist who observes the world with the eyes of a geologist and who has found in the cracks of the Earth his way of transmitting his sensitivity. His work is a tribute to nature itself.
Looking at the stars is a practice that, beyond being a biological process, is a spiritual process, and it is here that the meaning of this artist's work, which has more than 10 years of experience, is illuminated.
Portals is also a wound, and the transition that he proposes in each of the paintings, installations, interventions and the audiovisual piece that make up the exhibition have a healing purpose. Mareo found in Malta a geological richness that was latent in the structure of the Valleta Contemporary building, a rocky space with multiple holes that he unmasked, to make visible a wound, but also to mark a path, and an exit: a portal.
When we think of the exercise of opening and closing cracks or opening and closing wounds, and we apply them to this exhibition, all metaphors are possible. Mareo mixes the architecture of the space with his work and stops us at a point, in a center, from where we can see the essence that he has extracted from the landscapes that he has traveled and where he presents the sublime and the magnificence of nature. The fragmentation of the territory, the spirit and the body become zenith lights that find the viewers as they walk through Portals, a show that condenses the essence of Mareo Rodriguez and becomes a synaesthetic experience.
Although each piece in the exhibition is unique, Portals is a spatial experience that manages to activate relationships, associations, and resonances between each of them, free from a predominant historical perspective and, instead, giving prominence to the creative process and the materiality of each one of them.
In his paintings, he experiments on fabrics such as canvas and raw linen that resembles the limestone very present in the architecture of the gallery; He works with different mediums such as acrylic, layers of enamel, copper and gold leaf, with which he gives a semblance to the palette that defines his brand and style as an artist: a monochrome universe that lights up with bright rays.
Likewise, large-scale installations as the line of led light that draws a crack in the entrance whose shape pays tribute to the contour of the Andes mountain ranges; closer to the interior of the space we find a monumental black canvas hanging from the ceiling in the main hall, it contains a white fissure that comes out and opens a black crack in the ground pointing to the next installation in the stone vault where he highlight with a led rope an existing crack, a wound that Mareo subtly illuminates as paying tribute to the history of the building; If we go further we will find the main installation in the dark room, where he used a technique thermoforming black glossy polystyrene opening a threshold powerfully illuminated from inside, creating a gate to the unknown.
Through the fissures, voids and bricks of the building, are found to be a large crack that extends into the Valletta Contemporary space.
Infinite: like the stars, like the relation between light or darkness, like the immensity of the unknown -which is nothing more than life itself-, this is how this portal that Mareo Rodríguez has built-in a minimalist way in the shape of an ellipse is presented and crossed. and it represents the beginning and the end of something. Portals is an invitation to see the life from the other side, a necessary vision in times like this when much of the world is plunged into darkness and chaos.
As Leonard Cohen said “There is a crack in everything, that´s how the light gets in”.
By Ann Dingli
Your practice is influenced strongly by nature, but your work also appears to be very orderly, systemised, and intentional. Is this coming from your background in architecture?
Yes, my greatest influence is undoubtedly nature, contact with the landscape, natural forces, and the mineral kingdom; everything I need to learn is there.
On the other hand, the influence of architecture is also very present, using in some cases geometry as a tool to understand space, section the territory, the ability to abstract and minimise the essence of the concept I want to explore, the choice of materials, and the subtlety of how they are used, constructive systems for the installations –all this mental aspect is undoubtedly marked by 15 years of experience in architecture. It is also complemented by the organicism of my relationship with nature – that is the emotional, visceral and spiritual part.
Aside from form, your work seems to have a strong focus on monochromatism. Your palette is clean and often metallic, with light seemingly also being used as a colour. Can you comment on your use of colour?
My colour palette is reduced and, as you mention, mostly monochromatic, the elimination of colour is based on the idea of extracting the essence of the work, without distractions; when I use colour it is to emphasise a concept and not as a decorative aspect. I sometimes use gold, silver, and copper as symbols of light and alchemy.
Can you talk more about the materials you use in your works for VC? What are the major pieces made from and what’s your construction process?
Most of the pieces of this exhibition are paintings – the mediums used are acrylic, enamel copper leaf, gold leaf on canvas or linen as base.
Let's talk about your work for VC, which centres on the idea of a fissure or crack in these symbolic landscapes. What is the significance of these cracks, which you call 'Portals'?
The crack is a very profound concept that several artists have used, and the interesting thing is that it has multiple meanings and interpretation.In my case the crack is born as a natural process and a constant outline in all my works. The crack is a symbol of fracture and separation that opens a portal of invitation to the void and the unknown, essential for transformation and evolution. Sometimes a crack means absence, emptiness, darkness, then its line and fissure is transformed, opening up a gate with light.
Some of the shapes of the cracks on display come from my mind and previous sketches, some of them are real fissures found in different walls, ground or surfaces.As Leonard Cohen said, “There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in”.
I am also exhibiting two sculptures – two pyramids in the entrance of the gallery, facing each other horizontally, ground to ceiling. The base pyramid is made of stainless steel and the top is made of Plexiglas in opal-white to refract the light inside. This piece was presented in 2019 in an important art festival in Sharjah, Emirates, called SIAF, in collaboration with Diana Rodriguez.
I also have another sculpture made of two parts on show, symbolising matter and light, which are recurrent themes in my work. The light part is made in plexiglas and LED light, the bottom part is made of foam, resins, fiberglass and painting.
Three other installations will also be presented, two of them making the outline of the crack in LED strip. The main one is in a dark room, where a profound crack is presented on a black drywall and a thermoformed polystyrene sheet is used to create the relief and texture.
You talk about the ‘crack’ as referring to absence or emptiness elsewhere in the history of art. Perhaps the most ubiquitous puncture artist is Lucio Fontana – his tears breaking otherwise concluded ideas of dimension in art. His work also alludes to other worlds – spiritual or cosmic transference. Is there a 'place' that you envision beyond the crack in your work?
Exactly, although the crack has been used in different ways, I believe Lucio Fontana's vision may be the one that is closest to my perception of emptiness, which opens the doors to an infinite world of possibilities – the idea of separation, of detachment. That makes evolution possible.Tao also speaks a lot about that emptiness, which makes existence possible, and gives shape to everything that surrounds us.
In the words of Lao Tse: “we put thirty spokes together and call it a wheel; but it is in the empty space that the usefulness of the wheel resides. We mold clay to make a jug; but it is in the empty space where the usefulness of the jug resides. We open doors and windows when we build a house: it is these empty spaces that make the house useful. Therefore, just as we learn what it is, we should recognize the usefulness of what it is not."
Your work for the show engages directly with the architecture of the gallery. Does this engagement enhance the wider themes connected with nature and landscape that you are looking to evoke? That is, are you looking to comment on the universal by engaging with the specific?
Exactly, for me the dialogue and relationship between the space and the work is fundamental. In this particular case, the gallery’s architecture it could not have been a better canvas, I think that having historical stone elements within it, in contrast to more contemporary architectural elements, makes it perfectly integrate with and complement my work.
Your work "explores the strength of the topography and natural territory". How has this been impacted in an age of a rapidly changing climate? Does your practice specifically respond to this condition?
Although my practice is based on topography, territory, and landscape abstraction, it has never been directly linked to a specific real space-time, but rather from an imaginary condition. On the other hand, my work is a tribute to nature and its close relationship and connection with the human species, which since the Anthropocene is considered one more force of nature, therefore there is a direct degree of responsibility, respect, and care for Mother Earth; everything that happens to her affects us and vice versa. We are one with nature.
What other artists – visual or non-visual – influence your practice?
Anish Kapoor is another big reference, since in most of his series is talking about scape portals in different ways.The cracks of Alberto Burri, the use of black of Pierre Soulages, and Japanese calligraphic minimalism are also big influences in this recent series.
You are interested in the epidermal status of territory, the topography, and the idea of difference in scale. Have you explored the earth, land, and natural composition of Malta? Has this had any bearing on your work at VC?
One of the aspects that most caught my attention when I visited Malta is its desert appearance and that almost everything is built with limestone and on limestone. I also had the opportunity to visit some salt quarries with Norbert that caught my attention, as well as the different cracks that exist in the old stone walls in Valletta.
A curious fact is that the shape of the crack in the black painting in the gallery's main hall is inspired by a crack that I saw in a column at the Malta airport, just before returning to Barcelona.
Had you been to the VC gallery physically before you designed these works, or did you organise the interventions from afar? If the latter, did the two-dimensionality of designing from imagery help or hinder your creation process?
Yes, I’dvisited the VC gallery in person, and that was undoubtedly vital to understanding the space, different scales and proportions. A lot of ideas came to my mind immediately while I was walking the space and talking with Norbert.
Can you talk more about your views on the Anthropocene? Is this show a form of protest for the way humanity has allowed itself to negatively impact nature?
I do not know whether to call it a protest, I do believe that we are in a process of evolution and everything that happens is to achieve that purpose; without a doubt we are rapidly destroying and exploiting our resources, but surely we have to live this experience to hit rock bottom and become aware that we are one with nature, and what happens to her will affect us sooner or later.
BALANCE AND DUALITY
In conversation with Maria Abramenko for Nasty Magazine
I have read that your work is about matter and light, what else is there?
All my artwork is a tribute to nature, expressed in the abstraction and synthesis of the landscape; there is also a spiritual search, constant aspects like “Matter” related to this material and physical plane and “Light” related to the ethereal and search for the sacred. Concepts such as expansion, frequencies, gravity, the movements of the mantles and waves, all this is part of my understanding of the mineral kingdom and the connection with the cosmos. My installations complete my body of work and were born as a necessity to express and potentiate concepts and thoughts beyond of the pictorial, of immersing the spectator in an experience spatial and sensory where they prevail volume insertion geometric clearly defined in contrast with organic forms; the concepts of balance and duality between light and matter, contrasts of different materials and scales as well as recurring concepts throughout the work. Some of these installations are physically made, others remain in the conceptual project phase waiting to be materialized and experienced. I conceive my work as a laboratory in constant exploration, in which the different languages and techniques seek to communicate the strength, energy and vitality of the natural territory.
In one of your installations I have also found some references of Joy Division’s (Unknown Pleasures) masterpiece album cover? Am I right? How much does your musical background influence your art?
Yes, one of my series of sculptures called “Frequencies” started with a tribute piece to Joy Division’s cover album.
The frequency series is also the result of an investigation about the earth’s telluric language caused by the movements and shocks of energy in the tectonic plates; drawing a sound spectrum that could resemble an electrocardiogram with different wavelengths. I am interested in music, as I am interested in sounds, vibrations, frequencies, and the emotions they can generate in people; as Walter Russell said: “The Universe exists solely of waves of motion. There exists nothing other than vibration.”
How and when did you begin your artistic career?
All my life I’ve been surrounded by a studio as my mother had one, so I was raised immersed in spaces of creation, clay, casts, paintings, fabrics. I started to create very early, and was rolled in different academies. Then I got a bachelor degree in Architecture in Colombia. But I could say that professionally I started my career in 2013 when I decided to go to Buenos Aires, Arg to make a master in Fine Arts; afterwards I came to Spain in 2014 and opened my own studio.
Would you describe yourself as a minimalist and who are the artists of your references and inspiration?
I don´t like tags but Yes I could say that I am part of the abstraction and reductive way to take the essence of an idea and materialize it. I have a lot of inspiring artists such as Richard Serra, Olafur Eliasson, Richard Long, Anish Kapoor, Pierre Soulages, Carlos Cruz Diez, Jesus Rafael Soto among others, but definitely in the contact with nature I find my best way to get inspired.
What are you working on at the moment?
I am always exploring new techniques and changing between sculpture and painting as I get bored doing the same thing for a long period of time, currently I am taking up a painting series started 7 years ago called “Desert Skins”. Explores the vision of the earth´s dermis as a living and latent surface, which folds, expands, wrinkles and erodes; geological stratification wrought by time which layers leave traces, scars and cracks, expressing our connection to earth and evidencing the fragility of that relationship. I am also developing my series “Stones” where it represents the basic unit of the fragmentation of the rocks and mineral kingdom, as a tribute and testimony of its existence, memory and energy content on each stone. The matter in its constant process of transformation. Traces of real rocks found in different locations of the world are taken for the manufacture of this serie, taking out a cast in resins and fiberglass, for their subsequent fabrication and final paint finishes in the studio.
ARTE AL LIMITE
The Earth, a layer of soil that sustains us and binds us as if we were inseparable. It is what gives us life and supports us in our journey, and it is also the basis of Mareo Rodríguez’s work. In his pieces, he thoroughly explores the topography and the natural territory, spaces that are conceived as a mantle of energy that is alive and constantly moving. In Mareo’s own words, it is a “superficial stratification sculpted through time, with a terrestrial language that emerges, beats and creates different tensions revealed in the landscape.” Painting, that old technique that had led men to create since the dawn of time, is also one of the tools Mareo Rodríguez uses to create.
His work brings forwards monochromatic pieces with a roughness so effortless that they resemble landscape photographs. The interplay between light and shadows breathes life to their two-dimensional nature and strengthens the message about the Earth’s surface. Black, gray, gold and white hues fill the space of the canvas in each of his pieces. Perhaps this interplay of the two dimensions is what led the artist to explore with sculpture, recreating the reliefs and depressions in the Earth’s surface with volume. With the same color spectrum as his paintings, Mareo is capable of capturing the shapes in nature, grasping only the projections of height, the geometric shapes and complexity of the surface to create clean, elegant and self-sufficient pieces. As if this were but a small feat, the tribute he pays to the Earth is so lively that his sculptures later became installations. His identity, as if the pieces had his signature visually tattooed, is repeated through his color palette.
Large scale installations complete Mareo’s body of work. Halls are completely filled with elongated sculptures that represent valleys, hills and the real spaces his work undeniable alludes to. Complex sculptures remind us of the environment, of the rocks and spaces were elevations and depressions meet. The vastness of his work is such that it is nod to romanticism in the sense it alludes to the grandeur of nature in comparison to the individual. How could we not remember Caspar Friedrich’s work and the vast sea in front of a single man? How could we not, when we are faced with a large structure as a metaphor to mountains, rocks and all the nature that surrounds us? “I aim to encompass different scales in my artistic proposal, from the massiveness of mountains and rocks, their decantation and fragmentation process until arriving at a single rock as a basic unit,” Mareo explains. He also addresses the condensation of light into matter, as well as its fragmentation process as fundamental elements in his work, especially due to the transformation and expansion of energy in time.
Editor and curator
First of all, how did you become an artist ?
The fascination about creation, and art as a language of communication has always been with me since my early years of life, my mother discover the talent since I was a child and roll me in classes of different techniques as watercolor, oil and sculpture.
I think my first approach with installations comes from my years as an architect and interior designer; I quit my 12 years career of architecture to become what I´ve always been.
You seem very inspired by Minismalism. Don’t you ?
Since I´ve studied Architecture, the minimalism has always been present, I learned in the university to synthetize, to reduce to the minimum aspect of the design, do the more with the less. Is a concept that I ´ve carried all this years in my practice; however I don´t seek to fit in a particular movement of art, or in a trendy style; I rather the timeless and universal language as a testimony of the particular time we live.
In your work, matter is stretched, compressed, creased, suspended…. In one word, tested. What’s the point of that reflexion ?
All my artwork is a tribute to nature, expressed in the abstraction and synthesis of the landscape; there is also a spiritual search, constant aspects like “Matter” related to this material and physical plane and “Light” related to the ethereal and search for the sacred.
Concepts as expansion, frequencies, gravity, the movements of the mantles and waves, all this is part of my understanding of the mineral kingdom and the connection with the cosmos.
This reflexion is even more obvious in your installations. Is it then a way to confront material with space ?
My approach to art has a lot of influence of how I faced an architectural project, I think every project is different and singular, so I try to think about the space where is going to be inserted and how is going to be related with it, so the piece of art can dialogue and communicate. The material is also part of the same process of thinking in the context, the history of the place where is going to be located, and also the resources designated to the project, and every material is a whole universe, so is a combination of many factors that determines the design of the installations.
About the spectator, how should he feel in front of your installations ? What is his role ?
The view and perception of the viewer completes the artwork in the sense that they give a proportion, scale, interacting with piece, and feeling it; the more interpretations and feeling they come up with the installations the better; for me Art doesn´t need to be explained, but it does has to transmit and communicate.
How do you comprehend the space of the museum and the gallery ? Does it rather enclose or emphasize your work ?
I try to study well the space before making a project, aspects in the museum or galleries like lighting, materials, proportions are decisive to make a good proposal, so the artwork can breathe and dialogue properly.
Many artists use color as a powerful way of expression. You don’t. Is the light of your artworks used for replacing this lack of color ?
I use color in a very reduced palette, when I use it is because I need to transmit something with it, not just as a decorative aspect, I rather use it as an element to reinforce a concept. Certainly black and white are my favorite colors, you can´t reduce them anymore, they contain the essential.
La Perle deals with french cultural actuality. What is your vision of french art as a spanish artist ?
I am Colombian, based in Barcelona. France has always been one of the places to look for art in many periods of humanity, one of my favorite artist is French, Pierre Soulages, who has one of my favorite quotes: “ Black is a luminous color”.
To you, how does contemporary art look like in people’s mind and public opinion ?
I think more and more the people in general have a better approach to conemporary art, specially with the installations where they can interact; also, the big use of the smarthphone and social media makes the art more democratic and accessible to the public, at least through a screen.
His work is filled with the grittiness of natural territory: mountains, rocks, waveforms and lava. Nature is his biggest inspiration. He says: ’Matter is light condensed.’ Referring to matter as a process of transformation and expansion of energy over time.
His work is constantly moving like a tectonic plate and depicts beautiful earthforces.
Where does your interest for topography come from ?
My firts approach to topography comes from the city I grew up, Medellin, which is a Valley surrounded by mountains, afterwards working as an architect I had to deal with topographic plans.
Your approach conveys a telluric vocabulary, is there a symbolic aspect
behind ? What is your gaze towards this ?
My works is related to nature, and I seek to cover different aspects, from the stone as the basic unit in fractal scale of the universe, untul mountains, rocks, and telluric forces is the language of that mineral reign.
In which way, natural territory occurs as a living entity through your
In Nature everything is related, so I try to express our connection with our mother earth that is not an entity appart from us, is part of us, is also a call to respect and value it more.
Your artistic approach is kind of divided into two axes or two mediums,
paintings and sculputres. What each of them allows you to embody/ state ?
Yes, each technique is a new language and way of expression to talk about the same speech, let’s say my artwork is a laboratory where I am constantly playing and researching with new materials and methods, that allows me to express in different ways and touch different points of sensitivity in the viewer.
Also there is an ambivalence as paintings appear to depict fluid landscapes while sculptures seem more constant/solid in a way. Is that really revelant in your approach or is it something different ?
Let’s say painting is a more organic and emotional proccess , sculpture are more rational and geometric, somehow the architect side speaks in the 3D approach, although I m currently working on a new serie of sculptures very organic and fluid.
However, both axes seem to find a common way through their contrast between light and darkness. Could you describe your process/ vision about it ?
I went through the path of art as a neccesity to heal and to find a spiritual way to connect with myself and the universe; we all have Light and darkness inside, and there is the eternal struggle between them; one exists because the other; I am tryng to find the balance.
Also darknes or matter refers to this material living plane, ligth is related to the eter and spiritual state.
What about the combination of materials within your scuptures ?
Depending on the concept or idea I need to express I look for the elements to materialize it.
We notice a strong interest for materiality in your approach as your work deals with the invasive and huge aspect of elements but also with it's reduced aspect. Could you tell us more about this consideration ?
I am very curious about the elements in nature and how different and complementary they are.
What would be your dream place to exhibit your work (institution,
natural environment, it can be anything) ?
Natural environmet is always a great place to comunicate, is where my art speaks with more freedom I think.
Obviously the intimacy of a museum or institution is something that atracts me aswell.
But in any case in silence is where my art
Can breathe and speaks clearly.
What is your definition of Art ? (starting the sentence by « Art is … »)
Communication, meditation, therapy, legacy of our existence.
Por: Rubén Alves. BENINMADRID
Crítico de Arte
La obra de Mareo Rodríguez es orgánica. Sus tramas evocan paisajes de otros tiempos, tal vez un efecto nostálgico en su pasado entre la memoria y el olvido. La naturaleza, la materia y la inmaterialidad y el paso del tiempo dejan su huella en relieves y volúmenes que el artista utiliza hábilmente para articular el presente.
Cuando uno contempla su trabajo, percibe el poder plástico ejercido por el color negro latente en muchas de sus composiciones. El negro y su poder metafórico asociado con el dolor, la muerte y el duelo adquieren una nueva connotación en su producción. Cuando Kasimir Malevich presentó su Plaza Negra en 1915, afirmó que su trabajo no era una imitación de la realidad sino una realidad en sí misma. Con eso enfatizó la idea de que su trabajo no era una demostración de habilidad, sino la materialización de una idea y que la materialización es lo que busca Mareo. Su negro ilumina, atrae y capta la atención del espectador en un viaje que evoca la introspección personal. Al observar sus obras, nos invitan a reflexionar sobre el componente espiritual que rodea cada una de nuestras acciones diarias. Su determinación de explorar la relación entre la materia y el paso del tiempo se traduce en trazos y trazos sueltos que nos recuerdan a la lava volcánica. Una lava que se nos revela como una fuerza primordial, como creadora y destructora de todo lo que es orgánico y nos anima a reflexionar sobre la fragilidad del ser humano.
Mareo juega con una dicotomía cromática constante en su producción artística. Siempre buscando un equilibrio espiritual, combina, juega y se expresa a través de tonos sólidos y fuertes. Su universo está compuesto de blancos inmaculados, negros puros y reflejos dorados. Luces y sombras como forma de expresión intercaladas con ráfagas doradas que iluminan y completan las obras. El oro es insinuado como una metáfora de la alquimia y el poder de la transmutación de la materia. Su lucha por lograr el equilibrio espiritual se refleja en estas combinaciones: una búsqueda incesante de la representación artística de la naturaleza y, en última instancia, de sí mismo. Las frecuencias y los mantos revelan su ansiedad por estudiar e intentar descifrar la relación entre lo orgánico y la geometría como pilares para comprender la naturaleza. El mareo profundiza en una de las obsesiones de todo ser humano que no es más que el deseo de controlar la naturaleza, el personal y eso, irónicamente, es inalcanzable porque su condición intrínseca es ingobernable. Su trabajo no permanece estático, sino que se percibe como un vínculo adecuado y coherente en su evolución personal y artística.
Mario Rodríguez, Mareo, es un arquitecto y artista visual nacido en la Ciudad de México en 1981; creció en Medellín, Colombia y actualmente radica en Barcelona. Su obra es una mirada a la materia, a la topografía y al territorio natural concebido como un ser vivo, latente y en constante movimiento; construcción epidérmica labrada y desgastada por el tiempo, con un ritmo y un lenguaje telúrico propio, que emerge, pulsa, gravita y genera diferentes tensiones revelándose a través del paisaje.
Respecto al arte, el artista cree que “Es un lenguaje y una vía de comunicación directa con la fuente superior; el artista entonces no es más que un canal para materializar, transmitir ese mensaje y tocar almas”.
Existen dos ejes proyectuales dentro de su proceso de creación: la pintura responde a un método más orgánico, subconsciente y expresivo, donde el acrílico acuoso se desliza rápidamente con la espátula entre veladuras y texturas, revelando paisajes no preconcebidos; como contraparte, sus esculturas responden a un proceso de trabajo más racional y geométrico en el que maderas, metales, poliestireno y resinas sirven como medio para plasmar abstracciones de pliegues, montañas y topografías emergentes.
Por: Anna García
Curadora de Arte
Expansión, del latín expansĭo, es la acción y efecto de extenderse o dilatarse.
Una de sus primeras lecturas, relaciona la expansión con el crecimiento territorial.
En este caso hablamos del crecimiento de Mareo en su estilo pictórico que evoluciona,
materializando espacios calibrados en relación con la expansión de su conciencia,
depurando su técnica, en la que el equilibrio entre el pigmento claro y oscuro,
la luz representada en ocasiones con el dorado en contraposición con la materia, lo efímero y lo eterno, el silencio y el ruido, el movimiento visceral orgánico y la línea racional geométrica están siempre presentes.
Mareo parte de geometrías que le sirven para entender el universo, delimitando así su
territorio natural, su unión entre el cielo y la tierra, en una constate búsqueda de lo sublime
y de lo espiritual como su manera de conectar con el todo.
Por: Andrés Aguilar. LE COOL MAGAZINE
Fotógrafo y crítico de Arte
La conciencia se expande, el equilibrio es una vibración que se desprende del vacío y la materia, lo efímero se equilibra con lo eterno y todo al final es parte de la composición de una obra, de un espacio dedicado a crear un universo.
La obra de Mareo Rodríguez se compone de materia, de un reconocimiento permanente sobre el territorio y el paisaje, con interpretaciones muy espirituales de su visión del mundo.
Por: Andrés Aguilar
Fotógrafo y crítico de Arte
The work of Mareo Rodríguez is silent and with an intense vibration that accompanies his work, in which the balance of his antagonisms beats waves of images, colors and lines, transforming his scenery into palpitations.
His work Expansión, is the evolution of that space that Mareo has expanded in his worlds, with series where landscapes are stages, in which the being finds itself in its most empty, ephemeral moment, but at the same time, more real and human.
Por: Lucrecia Piedrahita
Curadora de Arte
Sus pinturas negras redescubren los espacios calibrados en pesos visuales y simetrías de masas que redefinen las relaciones de llenos y vacíos. Paisajes de menhires sólidos, atmósferas de claroscuro, sucesión de infinitos, ausencias y oposición de espacios, sitios y lugares reestructuran constantemente los planos compositivos y la condensación cromática de negro, gris y blanco para subrayar la reciprocidad atmosférica.
El artista da cuenta de las tensiones entre los esquemas elementales de los espacios vacíos y sus cualidades transitorias en la gravitación de la materia, los paisajes contenidos y las relaciones entre figura y fondo.
“Experimentamos el sentimiento de que el aire en esos lugares encierra una espesura de silencio, que en la oscuridad reina una serenidad eternamente inalterable” Tanizaki.
Por: Bill Jimenez UNDERDOGS MAGAZINE
“Scapes”, recupera los temas que han caracterizado a la producción de Mareo Rodríguez desde sus inicios: el terreno y sus orografías, así como las conexiones emocionales e intelectuales que se desarrollan a partir de sus rígidas y, no por ello cambiantes, formas. “Scapes” surge de la palabra landscapes y juega con un interesante doble sentido. “Es un juego de palabras vinculado al paisaje, pero también habla de escapes, de la huida que para mí es el arte. Habla de su significado más allá de las ideologías. Una vía de escape a través de los mundos interiores que construimos.
"El paisaje es aquí algo más que un territorio, también es un estado emocional, un lugar contemplativo”.
Contemplación que remite al romanticismo de Caspar David Friedrich, donde el paisaje como objeto adquiere connotaciones sublimes y establece intensos diálogos con el observador. En su caso, más que a las preocupaciones románticas, “Scapes” apunta a la estética de Hiroshi Sugimoto, el fotógrafo japonés.
“Scapes” es “una serie monocromática, donde el blanco y el negro me permite tratar la dualidad entre luz y oscuridad, así como la lucha que se establece entre ellas.
El monocromo es un acercamiento que ya hice anteriormente con el objetivo de eliminar distracciones, que los sentidos no solo fueran a la forma, también a la esencia. El blanco y negro aporta aquí una dimensión atemporal”.
Otra de las influencias en torno a “Scapes” es “El elogio de la sombra” de Junichiro Tanizaki, en donde también “se habla mucho de los silencios y su relación con la sombra. Solemos temerla y tendemos a buscar la luz, pero en esencia, no dejan de ser lo mismo. Una no puede existir sin la otra. Encuentro mucha belleza en la oscuridad, de ahí que mis obras tengan un componente nocturno. Casi todas están pintadas sobre una base negra que, progresivamente, he ido iluminando”.
Aparte de la inspiración proporcionada por Tanizaki y Sugimoto, “Scapes” continua el trabajo iniciado en la serie “Estamos hechos polvo” que habla del desgaste de la materia y como el plano material, el plano terrenal en el que nos encontramos, caracterizado por su peso, se va liberando poco a poco de esa materialidad hasta volverse etéreo.”
2010 - present
2010 - present