Made in Nicaragua
When Marcelo Gutiérrez was a child, his father's paintings surrounded him, but it was not until recently that he managed to find his own passion through mosaics.interview
Artist from Jinotepe exhibits his utilitarian mosaics for the first time By Arnulfo Agüero LP- 01/08/2016.
"People, using conventional criteria, have it all
figured out, always leaning towards the easiest,
and still looking for the easier side of the easy.
But it is clear that our duty is to stick to what is
arduous and difficult. Lives abides by it."
Rainer Maria Rilke
I think that the process of inventing a tool has more value than buying it such as an already made thing, as well as learning an art by yourself -without the need to study it academically- is a gift of the imagination. Without shortcoming of what is positive about academic learning, in that sense, I saw Marcelo Gutiérrez Franco's self-teaching become evident in 2012, in my old house in Masaya (an artisanal “minga” that we called La Cueva), when he curiously participated in a mosaic that a friend from Brazil was making with broken mirrors and porcelain from trashed plates. Since then, Marcelo has not stopped establishing a creative and deep relationship with this expressive form.
He has been opened to alternative training experiences, for example, with a time of staying in the Frank Somarriba's workshop. The subsequent exploration with other people who are makers of visual arts has been fundamental in the path that he has being carving as an artist.
"Gato". Mosaico pequeño sobre fibra de vidrio. Por: Marcelo Gutiérrez F.
His experimentation with materials has been extensive: in his early days, he used corn and coffee seeds, a mosaic that was conceived to be biodegradable, a kind of mosaic that did not aspire to be eternal, but rather eco-ephemeral art.
Other explorations have been done in addition. The mosaic has understood and assumed it as the art of feeling, living and thinking with the hands. He has expanded in himself and in his viewers what I would call the “visual touch” or the “touching eye”.
Desde el punto de vista de proceso, resaltaría que este trabajo de Marcelo denota que hay un estudio previo, sesiones intensas de boceteo de formas, proporciones y elección de los soportes, éstos útimos han venido variando desde lo muy tradicional (madera, plywood, barro) hasta llegar a su propia solución creativa: crear y usar una mezcla de fibra de vidrio. Esto hace su trabajo único en el país, porque ya el mosaico es trasnportable, se puede llevar desde Managua a Japón, si así se decidiera...
From a process centered point of view, I would highlight that this work by Marcelo denotes that there is a previous study, intense sketching sessions of shapes, proportions and the wise choice of physical supports. The latter have been varying from the very traditional (wood, plywood, clay) until he came up with his own creative solution: he created and use nowadays a fiberglass mix. This makes their work unique in the Central America, because the mosaic is already transportable, it can be taken from Managua to Japan, if it is decided like that... In another respect, I see that the formats he has produced are all parts of a relentless inquiry. I have had the opportunity to see, for example, a work of more than 2,500 pieces. The first time I saw it I was really impressed by its dimensions. To think that the pieces were cut one by one, selected according to a color palette that would achieve depth in the design of a grove tunnel! That job is located at the house of Anita, a historian friend from Managua.
Anyway. Marcelo's color palette has been changing, with a slow but steady evolution. This is reflected in this First Personal Exhibition (Casa de los Tres Mundos, Granada, Nicaragua), being a milestone for him and for those of us who accompany him in the creation of a very personal “tactile and visual voice”. I mean: an identity that is becoming more and more affirmed and rooted.
From the sensology of art, I can affirm that the work made by Marcelo Gutiérrez Franco confirms that there are not five senses of perception of the body but only one: when we see a table with applied mosaics, a specific temperature is perceived, a composition, various textures so that our brain sends information to that part dedicated to the volume of touch. Being in front of a mosaic challenges us to unify the sensory: the sense of being present from all the senses (surely more than five, but unified). A child, I imagine, without a doubt, would touch the surface of one of his mosaics, especially those that propose volume and sinuosity at a time. I remember a masterpiece that I saw by Marcelo, elaborated from a vectorized photo: “Gato”, a small work, made with very small pieces, tiny cuts. It shows tension and movement. "Everything that is alive sticks to hard", Rilke said. The cat, in an alive close-up-profile, is about to do something, we suppose, we don't know what, but we perceive the immediately will be an action as if it were a movie frame.
Giving my opinion from my own prejudices, the challenges that I find in the way of Marcelo as an artist are two in a long term. First, he could expands his graphic research in order to “exorcise his style”, as Guillermo Cabrera Infante said: sharpen the ability to self-critical question his identity as an artist, go to meet to what his own image and feed is shaping from the technique, to see also this commitment in the results of the upcoming processes. Second, it will be his turn to open up to diversity and to observe other interdisciplinary explorations that the mosaic may allow or provide. I'm just trying to encourage him to continue experimenting with new routes.
Thank you, Marcelo, for sharing your work with those of us who believe in your creative talents.