“Túnel brings together a new body of work by artist Víctor Santamarina, who lives and works between Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and Madrid, Spain. Central to the artist’s practice is his intrigue in the agency and potentiality of the materials with which he works. Building on his Recent Sculptures (2018), Túnel shares the same point of arrival: Santamarina’s invitation to a material—in this case, plaster, silicone, and ultimately concrete—to enter into a negotiation. Negotiation, as opposed to dialogue, as inferring a heightened degree of push and pull between he and them as coequals, opening up to what they might suggest. As such, art making becomes a dancing space, in which the two engage in an intuitive process of moving together.
Included in this exhibition are four works, Túnel, Debris, Weight Transfer, and Restless Red. Starting from the most intimate experiences of the body in the artist’s lived context, each of the works began around a body—one body—from which their shapes derive. In the studio, akin to the casting process itself, these references undergo a process of mixing and transferal, as conceptual and material streams bleed into one another.
Temporally, the works come to be embedded with, and to document, the artist’s state-of-being and -mind; his haptic perceptions, daydreams, and the sentiments of songs played on repeat. Physically, as the various fragments—an arm, leg, torso, and head—evolve through processes of layering, Santamarina increases the margin for play and possibility in the materials’ response. As such, while a disassociation with the body occurs in terms of scale, the bodily reoccurs in the puckering, the cracks, and the silken textures that interplay across the works’ concrete surface; markings in which one can recognise the shadow of muscle and echoes of movement.
Taken together, and in the face of increasing overstimulation in the present day, Túnel pursues an experience of suspension in which one’s grip is purposely unfastened. Comparable with, as the titles evoke, being stalled in a tunnel from somewhere to nowhere, or fragmented by pulsing lights in a nightclub. Existing as the momentary shift of a dancer from one step to the next, or as a piece of debris in endless orbit. It’s in the disorienting and transitory states such as these—coalescing contexts, bodies, and time—that the artist and materials begin their negotiation. Culminating in the material expressions here displayed; the results of friction between two or more moving parts.”
Text by Rosa de Graaf