© JAVIER MARTIN, Pablo Picasso, 2015. Courtesy of Matthew Liu Fine Arts (Shanghai)
Javier Martin is a contemporary artist from Marbella, southern Spain. He is represented by PHOTOFAIRS returning gallery, Matthew Liu Fine Arts (Shanghai). He produces fine art spanning multiple mediums including painting, collage, sculpture, performance and video. In 2012 the artist exhibited in Asia for the first time. We caught up with him to learn more about the works he has presented and his thoughts about the fair.
You exhibited various works which draw upon images of famous artists and the use of collage, such as Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol. Could you explain the work in your own words? What inspired these works?
The works from my Cut Collection are an extension of my Blindness concept. I intentionally remove important features from the faces of the subjects, leaving only a void and hollow frame behind, a phantom of the original image. The traditional Chinese tradition of paper cutting was a source of inspiration, through its representational purpose and use of negative space. Forms of design and architecture also played a role in composing this collection. The geometric lines in the work are reminiscent of the frame or skeleton of a building. Those lines are also evocative of the leaden frames of stained glass that adorn the windows of so many holy institutions depicting religious icons.
What inspired you to use portraits of famous artists for these works? Are these artists particularly significant for your practice?
Of course, these two artists (Warhol and Picasso) have been a source of inspiration for me throughout my career. I grew up near the city of Malaga, where Picasso was born, and since I was very young his work has been very impactful. Warhol’s use of art to subtlely comment on how society interacts with culture has also inspired me. However, the reason for my selection of these portraits - Picasso, Warhol, Brigitte Bardot, Marilyn Monroe, and Cary Grant - is for their iconic character, they are still recognizable despite the fact that only a skeleton of their former image remains. It speaks to society's glorification of celebrities to the status of the divine.
Why is it important that this work is shown at a fair such as PHOTOFAIRS Shanghai?
I look forward to showcasing my work at the fifth annual PHOTOFAIRS | Shanghai. It’s an incredible fair that unites such a diverse group of galleries, artists, and collectors. It’s interesting how the fair’s programming explores the various facets and intersections of fine art, photography, and technology. It is an ideal setting to interact with and experience different people and their perspectives.
What impressions do you hope to inspire in those who see this work?
My goal with my art is to stimulate, through self-reflection. Today, society bombards us with an overabundance of everything, it’s overwhelming. Things happen so quickly we don’t have time to digest what is happening around us. It has become a necessity to hide behind society's numerous distractions and ignore our reality, mute our emotions and neglect our desires.
My work invites the viewer to take a moment to interpret and absorb its meaning, prompting reflection on the issues prevalent in our culture. Further, it encourages the viewer to delve deeper into their own psyche to discover the light within that so often has been dimmed.
What do you most enjoy about exhibiting in China?
I share a deep connection with China. The time I spent living in China I had the privilege of learning from the people and absorbing its rich history and culture. It opened my mind and provided me with new perspectives and inspiration for some of my favorite work. It’s always an honor any chance I get to return to China to exhibit my art and share a bit of myself with this land and its people. I love watching people interact with my art. It's fascinating to know everyone has a completely different experience which varies based on gender, culture, race, age, etc. I love spending time in China, as I always leave with a renewed sense of creative energy.
Matthew Liu Fine Art (Shanghai)