INTERVIEW WITH MANUEL MARTI MORENO
Menuel Marti Moreno
Manuel Marti Moreno is a sculptor from Valencia who uses different materials to create sculptures of considerable size in which the viewer is immersed and captured by the vision of bodies and faces that almost break up, figures that convey the artist's research and his investigation into of the key questions of the existence of the human being.
All images © courtesy of Manuel Marti Moreno
I read in your biography that you have always lived in an artistic environment, being your father a painter, but how did you decide to focus on sculpture? What was your artistic path?
I don't know what my earliest childhood memory is, but since I was born, I have grown up surrounded by paintings and books, seeing my father painting at the easel or attending exhibitions. When I was just a few months old, I attended my first exhibition. However, I have always had an innate tendency to create with play dough or clay and I have loved playing with three-dimensional objects and figures.
Already in school, I made small models for plastic classes. I believe that sculpture arises from the depths. As I grew up, I changed my mind and became disoriented (the same as adolescence) deciding what my path was going to be until I finally entered the university, at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Valencia, where I found my place within the sculpture specialty. After this, I also studied in Seville and Madrid.
In addition, I traveled to India and Ecuador thanks to a humanitarian cooperation project of the Madrid School of Fine Arts.
Many are the critics who pay much attention to the rigor and technical quality of your works. How do you proceed in the realization of your works?
Normally I have the vision of an image that seduces me, catches me and which I am thinking about for some time, I have it hammering in my head ... This image is the materialization of an idea but it is not something closed and preconceived, it It arises from contact with materials and reading texts. It is forged in the mind and I begin to work it in an open and dispersed way, searching, exploring. I make small designs with the computer or drawings on paper and some small models. Later I create it directly in the final size, or else I create a model that will be enlarged by mechanical means, if it is a large sculpture. I make the mold and work on it. There are really many consecutive processes, a craft creation as well as industrial, manual and mechanical.
The materials you use are a very interesting aspect of your work: screws, nets, old wood, rusted sheets or even earth. How do you choose what to use in your works? How was your interest in these materials born?
I have worked with many techniques and materials, almost always with molds where I can experiment with different materials on the same shape. I love working with iron, welding small elements that reproduce the shape (nuts, rods), interspersed with other materials such as metallic fabrics, resins, but also experimenting with cast aluminum, ceramics, fabrics, bronze, plastic, steel. stainless ... Almost always industrial materials from an artificial environment like ours. Each material has a language, its own expressive capacities to use in sculpture.
How is your studio structured? Do you prefer to work here on your works and ideas or do they arise from external stimuli?
I have a fairly large studio divided into different work areas depending on the materials and techniques. I am addicted to the workshop, I go every day around seven thirty in the morning. The first thing I do is read: about philosophy, psychology, religious beliefs, anthropology, art history ... it is vital for me to acquire new knowledge to develop as a person and a sculptor. I need to feed my spirit, know, expand and discover ideas and thoughts of very different people and cultures. My great fundamental questions are universal: what is art? Why does human being create artistic objects? What is it to be human? ... they are inevitable for me. I don't have a clear answer in this regard, but I feel art as an existential, drive need, not as mere design, decoration or entertainment. I believe that art is the manifestation of the deepest and most mysterious force, an inescapable existential necessity.
There is a strong dualism in your works: the representation of naked bodies through forms that deny their contours and focus attention on the empty and inner space. Likewise, large and imposing figures convey a sense of lightness dictated by the way they are made. What do you want to express with your works? Is there a message that connects them?
Duality is the very foundation of existence, the human being moves between polarities that attract and repel each other: Eros and Tanathos, love and hate, matter and emptiness ... The message is the work itself, the form and the materials, content and continent. My sculptures speak of matter dissolving, of emptiness as presence, of the permanence of nothingness, of the fragility of existence, of the fleeting nature of what surrounds us, of the indissoluble coexistence of opposites, of existence itself and of its meaning, of thought as physical matter, of "the Real".
The size of your works is quite important and stimulates the viewer to feel very involved. How do you think the public reacts to the message your works suggest? Do you believe that the involvement of the viewer is important to understand your works?
I think it is important that the viewer is overwhelmed, shocked, absorbed and in a certain way dislodged but attracted by the magnetic presence of the sculpture as a foreign object, outside of the everyday, and questions what he sees. Because you have to question what we see and believe, doubt reality. Doubting what we think is true reality. The great heads speak of the immense power of our mind, not only the conscious but also the unconscious, of the immeasurable capacity to create of our psyche. The creative capacity of our brain, of our mind is infinite, immeasurable, it is the largest existing abyss. The viewer is an essential part of the reality of the sculpture itself. It is a necessary element within the circle that we call Art.
How do you live the relationship with critics and the current artistic market?
In my opinion criticism is an essential part of art, the word together with the image, so that the viewer receives a theoretical contribution about art, but I believe that the true source is the work itself and on which the viewer must judge from its own and individual aesthetic experience. The artistic market is affected as the entire society and all sectors are affected by the global impact that the covid-19 pandemic has had. I have recently participated in the MARTE art fair in Castelló and the truth is that it has been a success of influx and positive energy that has been experienced in it. Society needs art and art needs society, it is an indissoluble whole.
What can you tell us about your plans for the future and your upcoming expositions?
My most immediate experiences have been an individual exhibition at the Thema gallery in Valencia during Abierto Valencia, a collective exhibition at the Vilafamés Museum of Contemporary Art, in Castelló, and participation in the MARTE art fair in the same city, in its seventh call. We are organizing a sculpture collective in Benicassim but in these circumstances the plans are subject to postponement, since everything is altered by the restrictions imposed by the pandemic. For my part, I will continue to investigate the languages of sculpture: Art is an inexhaustible search process that will continue to exist as long as the human being exists.