Ricardo Mazal, one of Mexico’s foremost contemporary artists, presents new paintings inspired by his journey to Tibet’s holiest summit, Mount Kailash. This is his second solo exhibition in Hong Kong.
In 2004, the artist embarked on a trilogy examining the sacred burial rituals of three cultures, continents and time periods. His journey began at the Mayan tomb of the Red Queen in Palenque, Chiapas, Mexico, and continued at the Peace Forest cemetery in Odenwald, Germany. The final installment explores the sacred sky burials of Mount Kailash, where the artist performed the kora, a fifty-three-kilometer trek around the peak, and one of Tibetan Buddhism’s most sacred rituals.
Mazal’s latest work—a multidisciplinary approach to painting that combines photography and digital technology—is a culmination of this near decade-long exploration into themes of life, death, transformation and regeneration.
The artist merges his observations of the natural world, such as the snow-streaked black-and-white surface of Mount Kailash, to produce gestural, abstract paintings comprised of geometric forms. More experimental than his previous work, these paintings are composed of deconstructed elements from his earlier Mount Kailash paintings, which have been reduced to their most elemental forms.
In each of his investigations, photographs have been the impetus. For Mazal, photography is a bridge that links reality to abstraction. He begins by shooting photographs, then manipulates them on the computer to compose a digital sketch. He then moves onto linen, delicately layering oil paint using foam-rubber blades. To reveal luminous passages of color, Mazal sweeps a dry blade with varying degrees of pressure across the canvas. The vestiges of paint are almost embryonic in structure with faint texture and hue.
At regular intervals, Mazal photographs his painting-in-progress. Returning to his computer, he creates hybrid sketches that fuse the photographs of the painting with the virtual drawing, allowing him to revisit his composition. Often, Mazal’s influences will also spring from images of previous paintings, which he incorporates into new digital sketches. It is a regenerative and cyclical process closely paralleling the themes he explores.
A wider multimedia installation of Mazal's work will be on display concurrently at Sundaram Tagore Singapore, from April 11 to May 15. This exhibition is a conceptual re-creation of the artist's acclaimed five-month exhibition at the Museo Estación Indianilla in Mexico City, which was extended due to record attendance. The exhibition will feature large-scale paintings, photographs, a video of the kora pilgrimage and music composed for the project by Mario Lavista, Mexico's pre-eminent contemporary composer.
Ricardo Mazal was born in Mexico City in 1950. He has exhibited extensively in galleries and museums throughout the Americas and Europe, including the Museo Estación Indianilla, Mexico City; Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Monterrey, Mexico; Museo Nacional de Anthropologia, Mexico City; and The Americas Society, New York. In 2006, a retrospective of his work was held at the Museo de Arte Moderno, Mexico City.
His work is included in the collections of the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Arizona; Museo de Arte Moderno, Mexico City; Museo de Arte Abstracto Manuel Felguerez, Zacatecas, Mexico; Maeght Foundation, Paris; Centro de las Artes, Monterrey, Mexico; Cirque du Soleil, Montreal; the Peninsula Hotel, Shanghai; and Deutsche Bank, New York and Germany.
Mazal divides his time between New York City and Santa Fe, New Mexico.