Beauty Bearing Boats: Rafael Perez y Perez and the Child in us All: Rodrigo de la Sierra sculpture

By Margaret Failoni

Boats or ships have been a recurrent theme in the arts, in literature, in painting, in sculpture, from “The Ship of Fools” to Baron Münchhausen, from Dupuis’ shipwreck to the boat ferrying the dead across the River Styx to philosophic tomes describing the passage into worlds beyond. Rafael Perez y Perez, however, is not portraying boats in his sculpture as message carriers but, rather, using found objects for their beauty, as accessory to ceramic creations in a series of objet d’art sculptures for the purest of reasons, for the sake of beauty in itself.

New work by Rafael Perez y Perez and Rodrigo de la Sierra
Thu, Jan 16, 5-8pm
Santiago Corral Gallery
Fábrica La Aurora

He refers to them as his toys, to the joy they give him in creating them. A gifted ceramicist, Perez y Perez fuses brilliant color onto the surfaces of his boats, creating superb glazes, some carriage-like boats softly cradled onto the brilliant blue waves of the sea. Others are perched on wheels of jade or lapis lazuli. The passengers can be small, polychrome, antique Christ-childs or 18th century porcelain lords. They bring to mind the galleons sailing the Spanish Main. The sails are often made from antique fans but all of these accessories added to complete the romantic visions of these boats do not distract from the superb ceramic techniques the artist uses to create the matrix of the pieces.

The collecting of objets d’art reached its heyday during the Renaissance when such notable artists such as Cellini were creating objects for the Medicis. The Fabergé Easter eggs created for the Romanovs are fought-over objects by the world’s greatest museums. While the Perez y Perez boats are not made from gold or precious stones nor have they been commissioned by history-making notables, they nonetheless are uniquely original and have the same research and intent to beauty, an intent well realized, making them desired collectibles.

With a hectic schedule as curator and assistant museum director, it is difficult to imagine where the artist finds the time to create such meticulous and exacting works. Originally from Merida, Perez y Perez is living a brilliant career in the art world. He has curated a large number of exhibitions in the State of Mexico, in Puebla, Zapotan Jalisco, the UNAMs San Carlos in Mexico City, in Merida and last but not least in Beijing. And, as if not enough, his magnificent sculpture has been exhibited in various museums throughout the Mexican Republic. It is therefore a great honor to be able to bring to San Miguel de Allende the romantic visions of this gifted artist.

The child in us all: Rodrigo de la Sierra sculpture

The one constant throughout all cultures is the love of the child, the infant, the puppy, be it in humans or in animals. And therefore, everything that is associated with this magical and limited state of being is attractive to us all. The infantile and childish in what can be perceived in Rodrigo de la Sierra’s alter ego, Timoteo, is the secret to his success, or so it is perceived by Achille Bonito Oliva, one of Italy’s most renowned art critics and the theorizer of the Trans-avantgarde movement of the ‘80s.

Created in meticulously rendered resins and bronzes, the Timo sculptures appear to be  comic strip characters with playful endeavors, therefore immediately appealing to children and adults alike. But, as Bonito Oliva points out, upon careful examination of the works, most have a not-so-hidden agenda in describing a series of human foils, such as the “Money” series, the “Modern Times” installation, the “Ego” series or the “Memento Mori” bronzes. Perhaps this helps explain so much success in so few years, such as the United Nations commemorative resins or the recent series of museum exhibitions, the last of which in the Museo del Arzobispado/Haciena which closes at the end of December to move on to the museum in Oaxaca. De la Sierra’s sculpture is now to be found in several museum collections and is now collected throughout Mexico, Canada, the United States and Italy. With an exhibition scheduled for China in 2014, Timo, the little man’s hero will continue to charm collectors from far and wide.

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