Alexander Martínez (1966), was born in Guárico, Venezuela, and since he began his studies in art, he has lived in Caracas. As a curator, or researcher, I have established a dialogue with the artist with the purpose of knowing some details related to his life and work, reasons that led him to choose art as a profession, studies, significant experiences in his training, influences, sources of inspiration, theme, style, process of conceptualization and execution of his work, as well as his aesthetic intention.

In this article we will discover those details provided by Alexander Martínez, who begins by explaining that at first, he wanted to be a scientist, an inventor, motivated by a biography of Albert Einstein, among other scientists, but by noting that art is also inventive, creation, leaned towards this discipline. It is worth saying that there are just a few cases in which parents support their children when they express interest in studying art or a related career; however, Martínez had the encouragement of his mother, a ceramist and seamstress ─in homage to her, by the way, he conceived the exhibition Patrones mentales (Mental Patterns), in 2007─, who upon seeing him draw and carve in wood, on his own, sent him to Caracas to study at the Escuela de Artes Cristóbal Rojas, where he spent five years. During this period of academic training, he also had the encouragement, guidance and influence of his professors Octavio Russo, painter and draftsman, and Guillermo Abdala, sculptor.

Alexander Martínez. Jardín Urbano

Like any artist concerned about increasing his theoretical and technical knowledge, in order to build a work with his own style, Martínez has been interested in studying movements such as expressionism, cubism and surrealism; and artists such as Brueghel, Bosch, Picasso, Picabia, Dubuffet and A.R. Penck, particularly the work of the latter two, whose aesthetics are characterized, in both cases, by the expressive force of color, line and grotesque, juxtaposed or interlocking figures, through free, spontaneous execution, with a great load of irony and criticism of the dominant culture.

Martínez's source of inspiration, which has become his line of research or substantial theme of his work, is the Latin American urban weaving and its social problems; his perception and experience, particularly the urban life of Caracas, is a reality that Martínez reflects on and transfigures into artworks through his inventiveness and imagination.

Alexander Martínez. En la calle 4

The urban growth of Caracas begins from that moment in which the country opens its way to modernity between the government of Juan Vicente Gómez, 1912-1935, and Pérez Jiménez, 1952-1958, which continues with more force with the establishment of democracy in 1958. Between 1959 and 1968, the writer Salvador Garmendia produced several novels defined as urban literature, Los pequeños seres, Los habitantes, Días de ceniza and La mala vida, whose theme revolves around stories set in the city, Caracas, where the transformation of the city, the routine of urban life, the contrasts and social differences, violence, chaos and constant agitation between passers-by and vehicles, deterioration, alienation, loneliness, and anguish are represented. It is the Caracas of the petroleum era.

By the way, Vytas Brenner, a Venezuelan musician and composer of German origin, composed a melody for his album Jayeche, from 1975, entitled “Caracas para locos”, that Caracas that, during the presidential period of Carlos Andrés Pérez, 1974-1979, promoted its urban growth in a much more accelerated and chaotic way due to the petroleum boom at that time, one of the highest that Venezuela has registered in its history.

Alexander Martínez. La búsqueda III
Now, the city that Martínez develops in his visual discourse is a Caracas of the 21st century, it is the city that, although it stopped its vertiginous growth, is not exempt from the problems of a chaotic city like this one, among them misery, abandonment, violence, insecurity, unhealthiness, traffic, anxiety, injustice, loneliness, and alienation. In itself, the city as a space that disturbs the human being, a cause for concern in Martínez's aesthetics.
The process of conceptualization and execution of Martínez's work normally responds to his experiences, the product of his travels around the city to live it and perceive its events with all his senses. Sometimes he makes photographic records, makes sketches, takes notes, like a detective, data that is useful to him because ideas arise from there to develop some works. Although sometimes he starts from an idea, from a sketch, from a previous plan, in the construction process of the work there are suggested changes in the support, but on many occasions Martínez acts freely, spontaneously, automatically, finding without search, remembering Picasso, who said: "I don't search, I find".
Alexander Martínez. Andando en la oscuridad en busca del paraíso perdido

Martínez has moved between expressionism, cubism, and surrealism. He considers his first exhibition clearly expressionist, but then he began to incorporate cubism and surrealism ingredients in some of his proposals, without leaving expressionist aside, a predominant component in all his production, since the visual poetics of expressionism has been characterized by represent the emotions of the artist himself faced with a society marked by misery, existential anguish, loneliness, alienation, and wars. Hence, in Martínez's work, with his very personal style, there are figures, faces and exaggerated, distorted, twisted, aggressive forms, aspects that he emphasizes through the treatment of the line, very calligraphic, giving it prominence, which he complements with the handling of color, generally ocher, sepia, gray, black, white, elements with which he accentuates the aesthetics of chaos and urban drama.

In his compositions, Martínez represents aspects of urban life in a motley, labyrinthine, chaotic manner, covering the entire surface of the support with fragments of stories arranged simultaneously, interwoven, juxtaposed, or superimposed.

From his theme of reflection, Martínez's aesthetic intention is to impact, shake the viewer, make them an active, critical, and creative character; induce them to get involved in his work so that they are co-authors of it, in whose labyrinth there is much to find, even without searching.


Written by José Gregorio Noroño, 

Arte Original.

Related Posts