First Ever Solo Exhibition by Spanish Artist Enrique Marty at Museum of Contemporary Art
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First Ever Solo Exhibition by Spanish Artist Enrique Marty at Museum of Contemporary Art
Enrique Marty, Work from 'Fantasmas series', watercolour on paper, 97 parts, 23 x 16,7 cm each, courtesy Deweer Art Gallery, Otegem

THE HAGUE.- This first ever solo exhibition to be given in any Dutch museum by Spanish artist Enrique Marty (b. Salamanca, 1969) can be expected to be a memorable total experience designed both to shock and to amuse. The artist combines painting, sculpture and video to create an oppressive theatrical scenario. He uses ‘snapshots’ from his personal past alongside more universal imagery familiar to us from television and newspapers. The key medium in this exhibition is watercolour: as well as individual watercolours, the show will include a mural specially created for the occasion.

Enrique Marty’s autonomous artistic work is influenced by the fact that he has always spent part of his time working as a set designer. Each of Marty’s presentations is a try-out: an experimental association of themes and works. Time and again, his watercolours play a major part in them. Because he always has his watercolour equipment with him, he can immediately record both the world around him and any new ideas or images that occur to him. The resulting sketches not only serve as preliminary studies for later paintings, but also dictate the choice of subjects in the rest of his work.

Driven by a kind of manic imagination and obsessed by the desire to record everything around him, Marty produces a non-stop stream of lightning drawings and paintings. They introduce us to people he knows, food placed before him, and empty spaces he enters. At the heart of them, apparently, is the cruelty and insanity of everyday life. This is likewise what emerges from his watercolour series, such as the Wicker Man series, which includes hidden and slightly absurd texts as well as the recurrent figure of the protagonist.

Marty never hesitates to place images from his personal life in a gruesome setting. For example, the presentation at the GEM will include an animation film called Duel, which is constructed of watercolour drawings showing Marty’s parents facing each other with drawn pistols. The video can be seen as a metaphor for the love-hate relationship between the sexes. His four young nephews likewise play a remarkable role in the GEM exhibition, in the shape of four painted sculptures of little boys (made using casts) lying dead on the ground, smeared with blood and dirt. To enhance the already intimate atmosphere of this work, Marty has used real hair cut from his nephews’ heads. The figures look like accident victims, stripped of virtually every human feature. They recall the impersonal way in which disaster victims are portrayed in the news media.

Enrique Marty’s oeuvre is highly dramatic; time and again he finds new ways to cast light on the dark and magical side of our ‘ordinary’ lives. Both in his drawings and in his sculptures, Marty reconciles apparent contradictions: the personal proves to be universal, real life is interwoven with fiction, and the extraordinary is revealed as commonplace.

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