Juan Ramón Martín is an architect who decided to develop his career within the art world and, as a result, has become today a magnificent artist who merges art and architecture with extreme delicacy. His fantastic work is mainly focused on industrial sculpture, developing a deep study on Jorge Oteiza’s work.
Juan Ramón Martín’s work is a poetic dialogue between space’s architectural precision and human creativity, resulting in steel pieces that speak for themselves. His sculptures are defined as sober pieces of cold steel that, with an abstract façade, hide an entire world of sensations perceivable to viewers. Wonderful etchings and drawings emerge from Martín’s sculptures, with a deep contrast between the heavy steel and the air around them.
In this occasion, Juan Ramón presents a project named El peso y la levedad (weigh and lightness) at the Tres Cantos House of Culture in Madrid, as a combination of several steel sculptures and works on paper. In this exhibition the contrast is the main character in the room. Heavy steel sculptures face light pieces of art, merging together in front of the viewer’s eyes. The deep black and the pure white own of the space, generating magical tensions that do not leave visitors indifferent.
Juan Ramón intends not only to bring art to public in an open space for citizens, but to carry out an educational work to engage young students in the arts and culture, as he currently teaches technical drawing at a renown school of Madrid and , therefore, is very committed to education. With weekly seminars, the artist invites small groups of students to the exhibition room and tries to involve them in the creation process, enhancing the meaning of the artwork itself.
Beyond Arting has had the pleasure to visit this exhibition together with the artist, and therefore, has taken the opportunity to ask him several questions.
BA- What can you tell us about the work you are presenting on this exhibition?
JRM- In this exhibition I present several sculpture, etching and drawing pieces. They are pieces that deal with weight and lightness, both basic concepts of Physics. On the one hand, the weight as an element of gravity, of bodies that sink into the ground, of materials; it is the sculpture’s substance: the matter. On the other hand, the lightness as the air that surounds the sculpture and is also an essential part of the piece. This exhibition has been displayed merging the antagonistic principles of weight and lightness, with sculptures that have to do with darkness, black… and at the same time, pieces that have to do with the transparency, with lightness.
Simultaneously, several drawings and etchings emerge from my sculptures, created with a black stain on cotton and linen papers that contain delicate white colours; The black stain that results from the use of chinese ink or calligraphic ink is as dark as tar, and appears as the deep substance in contrast with the untouched paper, which represents the air.
BA- Can you explain one of your pieces?
JRM- Tauro (image below). This sculpture represents a dark bull. In its configuration, certain hollows appear and the shadows generate intense darkness. It is made of solid steel segments and empty spaces that search for darkness. Rythm, proportion, movement, appear to the eye, as a representation of the bull.
BA- How do you involve you educational initiative in this exhibition?
JRM- Some months ago I proposed an educational project to the Council of Tres Cantos, in which I wanted to show students from several schools what Contemporary Art is all about. Most of them have never visited an art gallery or have never been told where all these things come from. I receive small groups of students every week and explain to them the ideas that generate these pieces. I draw in front of them and show them how an idea merges from my lines. At the same time, I have also invited a contemporary musician, Jose Manuel Mañanas, who has created a specific soundtrack for this exhibition based on weight and lightness. Students can see how, with the use of several artistic disciplines, you can address the same ideas with very interesting results. Metals, ink, sounds… they all merge in one same direction. The Council welcomed this project with great interest.
BA- How do the students react during their visits?
JRM- During every visit, students have been very respectful and have stood extremely focused on what they have been told. When I start drawing in front of them, an intense silence invades the room. As I draw with my inked paintbrush, graphic meanings appear, and I comment such results with them. Students give their opinion, and new versions of the drawings are the result of their collaboration, and between all of us, new possibilities that didn’t exist before emerge. Together, we create new realities.
BA- Do you believe artistic and cultural education are in important for children?
JRM- Several subjects are essential for children and young students’ education, such as art history, art, music or literature. Art history because it explains human’s walk across history. The other three are absolutely necessary because they push students to express themselves in several languages; A student who has written or who has created a sculpture will understand better the work behind contemporary art than the one who has never had the chance to do it. The student must not only be a receiver, but an emitter of knowledge. From my point of view, these subjects should be more frequent throughout human’s development.
BA- What incentives could motivate Spanish young people to get involved in the art world?
JRM - This exhibition is an example of proposal. It is complicated but we must take children and young people to the spaces where the art is done, to the studios where the pieces are created. I believe a good job is being done in terms of educational improvements in the country, but I still see little focus on artistic education. Students are overloaded, with tons of subjects and tasks. I believe the programs should be lighter because they grow every year and today they are extremely extensive. Therefore, it is difficult, but there is no doubt that the country should make bigger efforts to improve art education and involve children in the Contemporary Art World. They are our future.
Juan Ramón Martín’s intention is to itinerate this exhibition’s concept around Madrid, in order to leave a mark on young people, contributing to the artistic education in our country.
If you have the chance do not miss this wonderful exhibition, which will be open during the month of November in Tres Cantos.
Have a great weekend!