Since its opening last December “Cámara de las Maravillas”, the first solo show in Europe by American artist and father of Pop Surrealism Mark Ryden (1963, Medford, Oregon), has brought thousands of people to the Centro de Arte Contemporáneo (CAC) in Málaga, Spain. Curated by Fernando Frances, the exhibitions retraces over 20 years of creation by the artist, and features 55 works including iconic pieces such Incarnation (2009) –which inspired inspiration Lady Gaga’s 2010 meat dress-, most of which are kept in private collections.
Visitors are greeted by the 2012 painting The Parlor – Allegory of Magic, Quintessence, and Divine Mystery , which anticipates many of the elements to be encountered throughout the exhibition: a magical juxtaposition of hybrid creatures in a theatrical setting surrounded by a myriad of symbols, with a perfect rendering of oil painting techniques. The meticulous and detailed work reminds us of Renaissance and Surrealist masters with a contemporary pop culture twist.
The earliest work in the exhibition is the painting Saint Barbie (1994), while the most recent, the sculpture Wood Meat Dress (2016), was created especially for the Málaga show. From the young girl worshiping a goddess-like Barbie doll to the eerie, sad-eyed sculpted lady, we can appreciate the evolution of Mark Ryden’s distinctive portraiture of the female characters through the years.
The show presents all the different series that the artist has exhibited in the past –The Meat Show (1998), Bunnies & Bees (2001), Blood (2003), The Tree Show (2007), The Snow Yak Show (2009), The Gay 90’s (2010), The Gay 90’s West (2014), and Dodecahedron (2015)— as well as the original artwork for the cover of Michael Jacksons’ album Dangerous and three delicate porcelain figures made in the last five years.
Science and the destruction of Nature are a recurring theme within Mark Ryden’s body of work.
The big exhibition space of the CAC has been articulated in a way that allows the visitor to see many of the pieces at the same time, encouraging many dialogues and correspondences not also between the works, but also between their magnificent frames. These have never been a secondary element for the artist, who designs many of them himself so they perfectly match and complete each of the paintings.
Visitors are invited the view this cabinet of curiosities with the eyes of a child, letting the imagination run free. Fans of Mark Ryden will be delighted to see together such a careful selection of old as well as new pieces, while those unfamiliar with the artist have here a wonderful opportunity to dive into his enigmatic universe, which is very much alive and still evolving.
View the full set of pics here
Mark Ryden – “Cámara de las Maravillas”
Until March 5,2017