Michael Benevento is pleased to announce the Los Angeles solo debut of
Mexico City based artist Martin Soto Climent.
Martin Soto Climent’s work incorporates found objects whose functionality is
rendered useless and often salvaged from off the street. Soto Climent
assembles familiar components, laden with symbolism, with an interest and
belief in their potential as practical, conceptual, performative, and more
often then not human. Drawing on an implied cultural lexicon, Climent nimbly
reconfigures these insinuated associations with wit and receptivity. There
is an anthropological quality about his work, a nostalgic factor, which
draws on the aura of an object’s function in both a utilitarian and
psychological sense. Soto Climent believes in the possibility of objects;
these formal compositions incorporate the artist’s preoccupation with design
as well as a penchant for surrealist precursors. Leather gloves, women’s
high heel shoes, emptied glass bottles, and Venetian blinds are just a few
of the evocative materials he arranges and manipulates, pushing them to the
limits of their structure for a temporal and meticulous convergence.
Most of the materials Soto Climent incorporates are found in his home of
mexico City. Several works included in this exhibition are comprised of a
palette generated from the two sites of Soto Climent’s Mexico City and the
legendary Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles.
In his Blinds series, he works with 11 venetian blinds salvaged from a large
abandoned bank located on La Brea. The blinds are modified into elegantly
designed shapes, taking each blind to the limit of its structure. They are
turned onto themselves, fanned out and poised, twisted, and suspended in
every direction. There is a performative quality, a carefully choreographed
dance that Soto Climent engages with these otherwise mundane artifacts. They
also function as a viewing mechanism, as they part and close, revealing to
the viewer an intimacy and availability to observe through the grooves,
gaps, and layering of each aluminum fold.
In the back room of the gallery are suspended two shattered car windshields,
one in front of the other. Each has been overlaid in gold leaf, as if
preserving whatever violent action caused the cracked glass. Responding to
the history of Hollywood, these windshields conjure a sexually driven
experience of past glamorous icons, as well as the California Gold Rush of
the 1850’s, which drew thousands of people with dreams of wealth and fame,
but often led to disappointment and greed.
The smaller assemblages, inspired by transvestites, bring together debris
from the street with their bright, exaggerated props. A hot pink patent
leather heel of a shoe suggestively pokes out from a tied and hung garbage
bag on the wall, while the synthetic brown curls of a cheap wig hang limply
from a gold-gilded framed bag – a treasured homage to whomever dawned the
headpiece previously. Also included in this inspired series is a cowboy
hat, well worn and molded into appropriate folds. Soto Climent has placed a
pair of brown stockings around the lower half of the hat – they hang freely
– turning this accessory often associated with macho images of the Wild West
and cowboys into the feminine folds of a woman’s genitalia and torso.