Marcelo Víquez's (Montevideo, Uruguay, 1971) studio residency at CCA Andratx in May 2021 has been enormously fruitful, and the works featured in the post-residency show, along with the work of two other artists who have shared an adventure in two adjacent studios, is only a small part of what he has produced here. As he did during his stay at the Los Guayabos studio in the Mexican city of Guadalajara in 2019, Marcelo Víquez has proceeded to collect materials to execute his work both in the natural environment of the residency and in the urban environment in the immediate vicinity. The materials are collected in a state of continuous epiphany, which is why I title this brief review with the phrase echoing Abramovic's "the artist is always present". Because he never withdraws that germinal gaze, it is impossible to surprise him in any other garb than that of the skin of an unrepentant creator with which he crosses the works and the days. Thus, when in his wanderings he comes across the detached bark of a tree, he knows that it is in fact the wing of a strange bird that has just spread its wings inside his brain. Or when, at the foot of an urban waste container, he comes across a square aluminium prop, he immediately realises that this is the figure in the family photo his wife has asked him to take that morning - and so he then creates a piece of forceful autobiographical symbolism, an extraordinary piece of impossible balance.
The selection on view, which includes installations, small sculptures and also a striking collage, provides a unique opportunity to accompany the artist on this creative journey, with his intelligence on the boil and his aesthetic sensibility taken beyond the academic limit. As always with him, many of the pieces require an extended knowledge of the artist and his personal life to exhaust the layers of meaning, although without these crutches, the works themselves, in their own right, are large enough to satiate any enlightened and sensitive viewer.
At the height of the creative process described in the first paragraph of this text, a work composed of three pieces deserves mention, two of them materialised in canvases stained by soot and fungus typical of the humid environment, and the other, a cobalt blue metal plate. The pieces have been collected from the urban environment as they are shown, and arranged in a suggestive way by Marcelo Víquez to the point that they acquire a tone of strange nostalgia close to the German romanticism of landscapes (a la Caspar David Friedrich). But what is really striking is the approach: the non-intervention here acquires the slant of a sombre reflection, as this could be the artist's work once he is gone. A work, then, with funereal echoes, it poses a question of deep metaphysical depth, in which the artist, once again, guides the spectator and insists on being present even in the supposition that this is no longer possible.
Because, in the case of Marcelo Víquez, the artist is always present.
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