MARK RYDEN AND HIS WONDER CHAMBER

The meat train, oil on canvas, 2000

 

 

Mark Ryden, graduated in 1987 at the Art Center Collage des Desing in Pasadena. It began to draw attention, towards the decade of the 90 with its pop surrealism, dragging to multitude of followers and artists ready to embrace that current. Two of the characteristics of this artist are, perseverance and strength. These two facets made him overcome the initial surrealistic strategies, choosing icons loaded with cultural connotations.

 

 

Girl eaten by tree, oil on canvas 2006 

 

 

Ryden's vocabulary, encrypted and naive in some cases, crosses the thin line between the nostalgic cliché and the haunting archetype. Seduced by its infinitely detailed and meticulously enamelled surfaces, the viewer faces the juxtaposition of the innocence of childhood and the mysterious voids of the soul. A subtle unease dwells in his paintings. The exhibition, "House of Wonders", has 55 works spanning 20 years of creation. Not only are they small formats, but they coexist with large works and even sculpture.

 

 

Grotto of the Old Mass, oil on canvas, 2008

 

 

Mark Ryden is the father of "Lowbrow Art", this movement emerged in Los Angeles, California in the 20th century, began to take on special importance in the 1990s. The essence of this movement is to reject the intellectual and elitist pretensions associated with the consumption of contemporary art, and in turn, nourished by icons of American popular culture such as cartoon characters, tattoos or the aesthetics of graffiti , among other. We must also add the interpretation of Catholic and Masonic iconographies. With all this information, the artist creates his own collective imagination.

 

 

A dog named jesus, oil on paper, 1997

 

 

The mysterious characteristics of the classic and the fantastic, materialize with the figures of large round eyes and smiling. This exhibition, will be in force until March 5 at the Center of Contemporary Art of Malaga, if you are in the area, do not dude to visit this exhibition in Europe. You do not miss the hype.

 

 

 

Among the specialised professional profiles that we find in the cultural sector, and more specifically, in the field of visual arts, one of the most recent occupations is that of the curator. The ‘80s put attention on the role of the artist, with its innovative character and the enhancement of its figure as an essential articulator of creative proposals, while the end of the century moved the interest towards the exhibition centres themselves and their work as custodians of current production and as spaces to accommodate all proposals. The change of millennium strongly introduced in this panorama the role of the curator. Perhaps together with a social identity crisis, perhaps with the complexity that contemporary projects are currently acquiring, the need for building, articulating and delving into artistic discourses became evident.

Although the functions entrusted to this profession are not entirely new, since previously they belonged to conservatives, critics or experts according to the themes, the role has gained solidity because it combines all these purposes while allowing the specialisation of other professionals in their fields of competence. Now, as some curators themselves point out, the genuine spirit of this figure, who was born to facilitate the understanding of the discourse, create narratives within a sometimes chaotic and scattered context, mediate between the works and the spectator and create bridges between contemporary art and society.

The art of our day raises a multitude of unknowns for the visitor who must face proposals many times away from the aesthetic standards, which gives way to uncertainty and confusion; but, in turn, these works employ a closer language, materials and even compositions detached from the sophistication and the technical display of yesteryear, something that, far from favouring proximity to the message, generates some distancing. What we have just described is part of the very essence of current art. The questioning of the formalist guidelines and the recourse to tangible elements that are more utilitarian than embellishing are the new criteria of creation, where, above all, the message to be conveyed stands out.

Likewise, another inherent characteristic of the work of our time is the artists' concern for more immediate themes, for social, political and economic issues that seek to create a narrative and conceptual revulsion, leaving behind the aesthetic priority or, rather, making of the message its own aesthetic. In this context, strange as it may seem, contemporary creation encounters a linguistic barrier hindering the viewer's understanding. And to this circumstance, the abundant current production is added, covering a wide range of themes that are nothing more than a transcript of our diverse and globalised society.

The curator helps to facilitate this understanding by articulating a coherent discourse that allows the grouping of related ideas to set up the message. This requires to have an in-depth knowledge of the current state of the art, the lines of work of the creators, the most recent aesthetic proposals and the real demands of society to bridge the dialogue and allow the approach to art. If art deals with the same issues that concern us all, how can we not share its postulates? Cultural mediation requires the work of the curators to open a small window for reflection and to enable a space for exchange and idea generation. We share the thought that José Guirao expressed in a recent interview: "The curator is someone who reveals something new, and it would be a mistake for curators to become managers."

Understood this way curator’s role, many institutions have joined the trend of creating specific calls for new professionals to give light to their proposals. Let us remember, as an example, the call "Unpublished" of La Casa Encendida, or "Curator wanted", of the Community of Madrid or the call of Curating of La Caixa.