Until the spirit, new sensation takes hold, then you know. Mareo Rodriguez, Barcelona based artist in conversation with Maria Abramenko.
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.