José Carlos Martinat

José Carlos Martinat

Proyecto Siqueiros

José Carlos Martinat, Lima, Perú.

November 21, 2015

José Carlos Martinat
How to explain the unexplainable?

September 12, 2015–January 16, 2016

Sala de Arte Público Siqueiros
Tres Picos 29, Colonia Polanco  
México City

How to explain the unexplainable? takes a phrase from an advertising campaign of the Federal Ministry of Tourism, whose intention is to promote international tourism in Mexico. José Carlos Martinat, in collaboration with Enrique Mayorga and Arturo Díaz, explores this phrase as a starting point for setting narratives and metaphors contained in the aesthetics of the work itself, where different topics are aligned within several layers of meaning. Transposing the slogan to the museum context alters its originial intention, moving towards other discursive lines. How to explain the unexplainable? connotes a simple exoticism that leads to a questioning of the tangled social setting that defines the country today. Beneath the irony and criticism, the exhibition encourages an almost unattainable task: to explain the complexity of the Mexican reality, seeking clarity on what today seems obscured and unspeakable. 

In raising these questions, Martinat calls for a reimagining of the country, particularly the state of violence that exists at different levels: freedom of speech, the right to information, transparency, the government’s intimidation of journalists, economic and educational crises, drug violence, political crisis, and lawlessness among others. 

For Sala de Arte Público Siquieros, it is the first time that an artist has turned the entire museum into a site-specific piece using all three exhibition levels—the Gallery, Cube and Facade Project—together as a unique aesthetic device. The new commission, a monumental installation consisting of 35 thermal printers working under an operating system connected to the Internet, uses algorithms to systemize keywords that emerge from 35 questions regarding the economic, political, social, labor and cultural topics relating to Mexican society.

The printers materialize the information giving off fragmented responses in printed papers that are stacked on the floor of the museum, over time becoming a sculptural event itself. The accumulation and overlap of papers reflects the mechanism by which the construction of thought is addressed today: the overflowing of information leading to an intangible palimpsest is now physically presented in a new form of narrative. Printers are the bridge between two realities: the virtual and the physical. On one level, the importance of technical configuration and the use of simple technological equipment allows us to experience the piece in its narrative reality: confrontation is—in addition to—the information itself. 

Martinat’s analysis of the concept of monument and its levels of representation are a key part to understanding the ways in which metaphors are represented and composed. José Carlos has worked for 10 years with printers, embodying problems related to the history, architecture, context, memory, monuments, assemblies, metaphor, etc.

Other material and conceptual resources on which he bases this work include Superficial exercises on delight devices, a series of sculptures formed by bronze molds taken from monuments found in the public sphere, and his Pintas, wherein he appropriates the vestiges of social and political demonstrations in order to displace it to the white cube.

Current context of Mexico City, September 2015 
Headlines of the major newspapers and magazines: Reforma: Going against CNTE and resisting changes; La Prensa: Peace and employment!; Proceso: Chapo was capuraed by DEA, not the Navy … and they let him go; Animal Político: The dollar continues rising 16.44 pesos; Aristegui Noticias: IEEPO mobilization against disappearance; El País: A new filtration again stirred scandal OHL in Mexico; El Universal: Zetas leader dies in prison El Altiplano, etc ...

Curator: Taiyana Pimentel 
Associate curator: Mariana Mañón 

José Carlos Martinat at Sala de Arte Público Siqueiros
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November 21, 2015

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