The body of things

Author:  Imma Turbau
Title:  The Body of Things

Publication:   Javier Marín – Casa de América
Project / Work:  Chalchihuites
Published by:  Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional, Madrid / Barcelona

The Body of Things

Imma Turbau


At times we forget that without a body, there would be no soul, or something akin to a soul. We overlook that talent, in the absence of instruments, could not exist. We need to be reminded that inanimate things require physical appearance to make their presence known. All feelings seek an organ to dwell in: love, in the heart; envy, in teeth; tenderness, in skin…


Javier Marín is well aware of this, so he creates. Not only does he endow existence to his sculptures, in the same act, he imbues them with something more enduring than life, something that goes beyond, because they possess significance and meaning, individually and as a group. They inspire feelings that otherwise would not exist in the people who behold them.


However, not everything in his sculpture is organic and dynamic. There is a strength and rectitude derived from his respect for purity of forms; purity transcends boundaries and finds its place at the very limits of what is impure. There is a betrayal to the air of the times and a fidelity to himself, which his work conveys without any need for explanation; the coherence of his work is far more eloquent than any text that could be written about them.
In this installation in the Casa de América we find the same elements in Aztec mythology, such as the eyes of the rain god Tlaloc turned into rings resting on the monumental platform out front; we can see a structure, designed according to ancient Mexica canons, that serves as the basis for a type of art that the ancients themselves might have imagined, because the composition respects rules much earlier than their own formulation. Javier Marín’s sculptures, his parts, the members composing them, shape the essence of the piece, what art at times is generous enough to give us, inspiring a feeling within us.


The human being is at the center of everything. Truly modeled men and women, beauty enhanced more by their will and freedom than by their features, which might be considered beautiful in today’s aesthetic. There are human beings, who almost avow their potential, while reaffirming their experience. These living entities display a rare quality of being ex-votos in themselves, with their apparent disarticulation transmitting a victory, a trophy won after overcoming a difficult test. The bodies he offers are often used; they have been touched so often, since the artist’s tactile sense is in each one of them. So no one would doubt of their existence, at least in another world, in a place where what counts are the things that you have directly experienced and not those that you have been told about. Blood courses through the pieces, not only in a figurative or symbolic sense.


Javier Marín integrates ancient and modern materials in an unusual syncretism of textures, which arouse the desire to touch the piece, to know how it feels, because no one can doubt that caressing Javier Marín’s sculpture is like touching silk: once it has been felt, it can never be forgotten. A strange, fascinating understanding arises between our hands and the pieces, when they meet. It is a connection of impossible consanguinity.


Because his work is so charged with significance, it possesses the highest qualities that art can offer: the power to transform the spectator, the capacity to spark doubts, the instant comprehension of meaning and the notion of a path and a journey, of progress. Javier Marín knows what he is seeking, but not with a satisfied certainty, but rather with the eagerness of a creator who needs to externalize something that it would be impossible to keep to himself, something that must be shared. There resides the source; his creatures, our companions, we ourselves in the process of becoming, if we are lucky, one of his models spring forth from there. They are human models that, far from imitating, exist in their own right; we are all one and the same.



For full text queries please email: