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Enrique Martínez Celaya
'A Wasted Journey, A Half-Finished Blaze'
Now on until 7 March 2014
Galleri Andersson/Sandström Umea, Sweden
Galleri Andersson/Sandström Umea in Sweden is presenting Umeå’s first exhibition of the work of the artist Enrique Martínez Celaya. An American-Cuban artist based in Miami, Martínez Celaya is represented in over 30 museum collections worldwide, including MOMA in New York, The State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg and the Moderna Museet in Stockholm.
The exhibition ‘A Wasted Journey, A Half-Finished Blaze’ showcases five new paintings and a large sculptural installation that fills the gallery in Umedalen. The main sculpture in this environment presents a bronze boy encrusted with large jewels crying onto a bed of pine needles.
His tears carve a channel through the beds as they cascade from one bed to the next. When they reach the last bed, the merger stream falls on a stack of dishes and pots reminiscent of what one might find in the sink of any house. The stream of tears never stops. Martínez presents a metaphorical, mystical world that resists a narrative and is elusive and open to one’s own interpretation.
Martínez Celaya’s work uses everyday imagery heavy with symbolism, such as the solitary human figure in the landscape, the beds, animals and trees, often in an environment covered with white snow. This exhibition continues the artist´s exploration of the ideas he has been pursuing in the last decade: memory, suffering, longing for radiance, loneliness, and the possibility of art to be relevant to life.
The artist was born in Cuba, but was uprooted at the age of six, moving to Spain with his family. Three years later, the family moved again to Puerto Rico. The memory of these childhood experiences pervades his work. He is an intellectual artist who identifies with the work of Tolstoy, Nietzche and Schopenhauer. The Swedish Nobel prize-winning author Harry Martinson is a constant source of inspiration and Martínez Celaya´s long-standing fascination for the Nordic makes his debut in Umeå particularly exciting and relevant.
Enrique Martínez Celaya (b. 1964) trained as artist and physicist, (he holds four patents in laser technology), works in painting, sculpture, video art, photography and also writes. In his artistic projects he aims to push the boundaries of art, literature, philosophy, and religion.
His work has been widely exhibited internationally and is included in the permanent collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The State Hermitage Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Museum der bildenden Künste in Leipzig among others. Martínez Celaya is a Montgomery Fellow at Dartmouth College, was honoured as the second Presidential Professor at the University of Nebraska and has taught as a tenured professor in the faculty of Pomona College and Claremont Graduate University. He has received the National Artist Award from the Anderson Ranch Arts Center, the California Community Foundation Fellowship, the J. Paul Getty Trust Fund for Visual Arts, and the Young Talent Award from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. In 1998 Martínez Celaya founded Whale and Star, a publishing house that specializes in art and art's relationship to other intellectual and creative fields, especially literature and philosophy.