GATHERING OF THE RETRIEVED (TERTULIA DE LO RECOBRADO)
María Emilia Marroquín’s work flows through various times in which it gets in touch with the History of Art, and although its influences are made evident and a rare versatility at the moment of creation is incorporated, very dissimilar pieces are generated in parallel. “Gathering of the retrieved” is the reunion of her latest sculptures and objects, in which she has explored the possibilities of matter from opposite poles for several years.
Not unlike the great sculptor form Rosario Enio Iommi, who had a notable period of Concrete sculpture but later moved on to installations with the most diverse materials, Marroquín generates a corpus of pieces that can be separated and sorted out in very much the same way.
On the one hand, she produces sculptures in which metals fuse with carved wood. Probably here we get to see her most rational self at work, which aims to find balance by experimenting with volumes and textures, at the same time she shapes stillness and kinetics, while paying close attention to the effects of the shadows her pieces cast.
Oppositely, or rather as the other side of the same coin, her aesthetic search follows the path to the opposite direction, the readymade. The artist retrieves and collects objects no longer functioning, sometimes mere fragments and sometimes cast away materials. With them as a starting point, she ensembles and brings to life new shapes, resignifying each piece, but also granting them a particular symbolic character, sometimes with personal reminiscences and some other times with more recognizable, explicit references. The latter can be seen, for example, in “Queen of Silver” (La Reina del Plata), in which a steel wire crown rests upon a Buenos Aires cobblestone. This represents the most genuine Buenos Aires: it alludes to the old town in its golden age, with broken French crystal cups belonging to an immigrant bourgeoisie that intended to remain French-like while stepping on cobblestones and maybe listening to Gardel singing “Buenos Aires, Queen of Silver” (Buenos Aires, la Reina del Plata) or “The broken cup” (La copa rota).
Walter Gropius said that the basis for every artist is a good artisan’s basis, and María Emilia certainly puts that to the test, showing that her work sheds light on sculpture marching towards the objet trouvé at the same time and place in “Gathering of the Retrieved”
By Eugenia Garay Basualdo, curator of the solo exhibition at the Cooperation Cultural Center (Centro Cultural de la Cooperación), Abraham Vigo Ward, Buenos Aires, Argentina (2015).
INSIGHT OF MATTER (INTUICION DE LA MATERIA)
A fallen tree lying on a street of the Chacarita quarter. Its bark smells like earth and dryness. The cypress and the artist. Pure matter looking to be transformed. Out of all these surprises María Emilia’s soul is filled. She sees, she acknowledges and she chooses. She knows that with hard work she may be able to get the best out of the wood, but also out of herself. This is the story of “Sight turfs” (Territorios de la mirada). A chunk of trunk brought back to life. Another life, the work of art. Upon a small pedestal lies an organic, rounded shape of light color wood that darkens on the inside, where it fractures and two reflective steel sheets are linked. That’s the result of a year of carving and playing with the matter, running off to a corner of the workshop to soothe anxiety, waiting for the moment the piece cries out “I’m ready”. Ready for exhibition, ready to attract the sight of a viewer, eternal demandant of meanings and relations.
An antique appliance out of order. A disassemble exercise and the premise of contemporary sculptors “nothing can be destroyed, rather only transformed” are what María Emilia puts into practice with painstaking diligence. This is the story of “The flowers from my garden” (Las flores de mi jardín). A sunflower made with the blades from a fan and other flowers made out of wire and buttons. Upon the transversal slash of a trunk an iron stem erects from which six flowers emerge, all made from different materials. Pure fun. A ludic piece to explore and to be placed at the garden, waiting for the wind to make the petals from the oil plant spin.
A trench shovel, twisted and useless and several feet of twine wrapped around steel wire. Two sculptural reliefs hanging from the wall like flowers. This is the story of “Brute flower” (Bruta flor) and “Little flower” (florcita)” A shovel that straightens its destiny and makes up with austere dignity a homage to the work of man and a little flower, subtly paired with “Brute Flower”, that flutters like a bee, keeps company and provides support with its noble and simple material to that world of efforts.
By Silvia Dick Naya. Collective exhibition alongside sculptors Alfredo Williams and Estela Garber, presented at Casa Matienzo (2012)
LINKS – ZEITGEIST (VERBINDUNGEN – ZEITGEIST)
At a peaceful workshop in Characita, María Emilia Marroquín inhabits among works of art that refer to time and its weaving. Geometric shapes drawn with earth, wood and metal that subtly make up sequences and space games. In a ludic way, she builds objects, some of them flat that search the vertical or the diagonal lines and combine the warmth of the polished log or its roughness with the cold of industrial metal. Constant balance, the synthesis of so many dualities. Motion does or doesn’t freeze, approached with decision in curved and straight lines that extend into the viewer’s mind.
As heir to the sculptural tendencies of her time, traces of Iommi, Blaszco are present in M.E.M. with a plasticity that’s almost minimalistic. Abstraction, although not so concrete. A little invention, a little imitation of what’s already there. The blow of the hammer or the mace can be felt, the stroke of the brush can be perceived. It’s about eloquent objects that are strong and autonomous. Sensitive set-ups, fragments of past phases in a new order. A present with traces of the past, as always.
By María Silvia Sayús. Solo exhibition. Philadelphia Foundation (Fundación Filadelfia). Buenos Aires 2008.
THE ONE AND THE OTHER (LO UNO Y LO OTRO)
The one and the other, cool and warmth, pavement and earth, dualities that portray the meaning of life. Atmospheres that wrap up cities, earth from which hidden prints emerge, steps from men that are there today and tomorrow won’t be in the same place. Motion, tango, the music of the stroke, its curves and its angles.
Sketches of identities lost and found again. Through the brick dust, asphalt from the road and objects she finds, María Emilia Marroquín exposes to us the textures of the countryside, the tact of the urban. The sculpture unveils the motion, the matter wraps the shape and one is able to play with it, to touch it, to look at it in different ways.
Balance with juxtaposed materials: wood and metal that amalgamated end up being strength and symbol. To be like the merger of opposites. The materials make up a dialogue between opposites. They understand each other and intertwine to present us with the Man and the space he inhabits, what’s filled and what’s empty. Duality, dialectics, what goes away and what remains… Roots, earth, always earth…
By Chesca Palacios. Exhibited at Philadelphia Foundation (Fundación Filadelfia), 2008.