The idea behind Spanish artist Roberto Lopez Martin’s work is that the world is more fluid and relative than we understand it as today.
Roberto Lopez Martin
an article written by Marie Bertelsen
Martin focuses through his art on the development happening in childhood and the toys we have used and are using today. The art is a mixture of cute and gross, and has wholesome vibes with slightly unnerving sculptures. We see grandma’s wallpaper in the back and macabre objects in front.
To Martin, the toy is an essential concept because it is part of our human development, which is the basis for exploring, discovering, learning, and interacting with objects and problems that form an important part of our development as individuals. In our life the cuddly toys are there when we as children feel we have been left alone. They give a firm balance and function as a conversation partner and are contributing to psychological resistance. For children, the partner has a personality and is almost alive, and intuitively, they attribute feelings and a personal will to it and establish an imaginary (or parasocial) relationship, which allows the child to experiment.
Martin explains how it is important to use art to look at the implicit code in the images. We can bring awareness to exactly what is spreading and breeding the norm, and Martin says he likes to provoke a fascination for discovering new forms of voyeurism which is toward the morbid, and what is perceived as monstrous. Choosing the subject is not about looking for an easy impact on the viewer, but what provokes questions: What is it, and what is the piece referring to?
When Martin is asked what artists are his biggest inspirations, he mentions Paula Rego and Louise Bourgeois. He says he has always followed both and is attracted to them because of the reflection about home and the society in which we live.
The understanding of our lives should be seen as continuous movement in life, and having an awareness of it is important. We may analyse the world as a changing flow, which is constantly moving, so this way the creative process must be the same and a method is using several forms of artistic media. Martin himself is a multidisciplinary artist using performance, video, photo, painting, sculpture, and photography, combining them to introduce the viewer to his work and messages. He aims to reflect the creative process by for example sewing objects reminding us of childhood.
Shining a light on these problematic mechanisms has implications for the artist, but not only that, artists also need to deal with the concepts on a broader scale. More specifically, toys can be seen from a societal point in the way that they are subordinated to large corporations and large brands that use toys to promote a system of life, setting patterns and consumption habits. The presentation is in everything from the material (e.g. dolls having a certain skin colour) to stuffed animals referring to specific types of animals or references to specific shows, and all of this can create models and ideals. We need to, through art, look at this symbiosis between the child, brand, and games, he explains. It is important because the toys prepare the child for roles, form consumerist habits, and shape us into an avatar with certain values and in the end social networks.
Today art is not about a way of working or doing a specific process, but about swaying between the beautiful and the sinister. It is about aiming for balance and simplifying while communicating a concept.
Luckily Roberto Lopez Martin is by nature rebellious and will at times go against what is perceived as beautiful, and instead point out what is constructed. This is an example of Martin practicing what he preaches and is a way of pointing out how the world is way more flexible and fluid than we like to believe. We can be critical of the current manipulation processes we are part of.