BIO

RETRATO MAURICIO CERVANTES

I was born in Mexico City in 1965.

When I was 20 I met the Argentinian sculptor Chalo Tulian, who became my first art teacher. We didn´t spend much time together but he and his wife –the artist Estela Labiano– encouraged me to enter the Art School at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, where I studied and received my training for six years as an engraver and a painter.

I used to be an “easel painter”for more than 15 years. I was basically painting on canvas with encaustic: bee wax was not only my media, but became for some years the subject of my artwork. I was fascinated by Mayan stories on bees and the forces and spirits of nature.

One day I decided to try some other supports for painting. That is how I landed on the use of cement tiles: instead of spatulas and brushes I developed different staining and rusting media. I started using the acids I could find in my kitchen, becoming a mixture of a cook and an alchemist.

Leaving the easel painting, and working with tiles and builders is how I started working with larger supports and simultaneously developing my first experiences in expanded painting and interventions with different media on different locations: that is how I became curious about sculpture and installations.

2012 was a crucial year for my carrier: I developed a collection of site specific works in an abandoned house. No roofs in it. It was basically a ruin with different gardens and residues of an old building.

The house was bigger than my expectations to create something beyond artworks. I needed to share the space with some more people. That is how I started the project “Matria- Jardín”: an urban garden in the center of Oaxaca, one of the most beautiful and visited colonial cities in Mexico. I gathered a team of curators, gardeners, 30 artists, agricultures, cooks, nutritionists, yoga teachers, musicians, dancers, choreographers, sound healers, biologists, beekeepers, anthropologists, eco-builders…

We transformed the house in a laboratory developing art strategies devoted to education, environmental issues and community.

http://matriajardin.org/

I am still leading projects inspired by the Matria Garden. I became a cultural broker. “Matria – Jardin” became the main root for some other programs.

We realized the importance of crossing borders: we looked for different spaces than museums or galleries to gather audiences developing collaboration enterprises within the processes of creativity. We finally put in practice what Joseph Beuys claimed in the 60’s and 70´s as the idea of the “Social sculpture”.

In 2014 I started collaborations projects with partners out of Mexico. I involved the “Grüne Liga”-an ecological organization based in East Berlin- and a local Art Gallery to start a program of interventions and site specific works in the abandoned area of a Cemetery at Prenzlauer Berg in Berlin.

Nowadays the venues and alternative spaces appear more frequently for the development of art strategies and interventions: agave plantations, a lime stone abandoned factory, an archaeological excavation, a botanical garden.

The paths to interact with multidisciplinary teams is getting wider an art is always at the core of my Projects. My interest in environmental issues pushed me back in contact with bees, but this time not only with wax as a painting media.

I opened last year the “Center of Divulgation of Native Bees”in Oaxaca. The organization is gathering information on the subject and the expertise and wisdom of those who are working for and with the pollinators. The current project I am working for the Center, is leading a crew of 12 artists from different disciplines setting up a multimedia ballet. We are playing it in different venues: every play is an excuse to give a talk or workshop related to issues on bees, the importance of water, etc.

Simultaneously, I am painting, editing series of photographs and working on models and projects of different size with the media I am more devoted to: raw earth.

Mauricio Cervantes

Oaxaca, Oaxaca, México, December 13, 2016

MAURICIO CERVANTES, Ciudad de México, 1965 es egresado de la Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas de la UNAM.

Apasionado por el encuentro con culturas antiguas y la metamorfosis que se opera en los vestigios de las mismas, se interesa por las metáforas visuales que recrean la erosión de los procesos químicos reales que actúan sobre la materia, o bien los que inciden sobre sus contenidos simbólicos a través de nuevas semánticas. Recrea los restos de frescos antiguos a través de códigos visuales dentro de la más clásica abstracción.

En 2006 descubre un material que identificará como la versión moderna del fresco: las baldosas hidráulicas fabricadas con cemento, que producidas con métodos mecánicos y artesanales multiplican los patrones modulares con los que habría de componer sus nuevos “lienzos pictóricos”: ensamblajes o rompecabezas de baldosas desgastadas por el tiempo en los que sustituye los pigmentos y los aglutinantes de sus antiguas telas por la alteración química de las superficies con agentes corrosivos.

Prolífico productor de telas, durante los últimos años aborda las prácticas pictóricas cuando rebasan los límites convencionales: cuando la pintura abandona el caballete para lindar con la escultura, la arquitectura y la instalación.

La naturaleza de fragmento que le ofrecen baldosas y teselas, y las composiciones modulares que puede construir con ellas, son comprendidas por Cervantes como una metáfora de la importancia atómica del individuo en relación con una totalidad: metáfora de las comunidades de insectos como las hormigas, cuya base sociológica podría equipararse a estructuras perfiladas con líneas matrilineales como las de las sociedades arcaicas que se regían con la protección de divinidades femeninas, en las que hombres y mujeres interactuaban de manera armónica y pacífica con el universo.

Su obra ha llenado las salas en decenas de espacios en México y en el extranjero.

CV Mauricio Cervantes

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