In love with love



Monday night’s chilly temperatures tempted me to just stay in instead of heading out for another opening. But I am so glad I didn’t. What a pleasure to start out this week’s busy schedule of openings with Martín Calcagno’s Sueños de un joven enamorado (Dreams of a young man in love) at Elsi del Rio. A sculpture exhibition that utilizes bronze, eucalyptus wood, glass, and Swarovski crystals, Calcagno not only demonstrates his skill as a sculptor, but also his ability to transmit feelings and ideas through various materials.

Chatting with the artist, who arrived wearing a spectacular floral silk scarf, I couldn’t help noticing how refreshingly humble he was as we talked about the show and what inspired it. I asked him if the title referred to himself as the young person in love, and with a wide smile, he told me yes. But he quickly clarified that he wasn’t just love with one particular person — a woman, or even many women — but in love with many things. In love with café con leche, he said, or in love with a moment. On a day when the media had been flooded with news of Osama bin Laden’s death and subsequent discussions of hate, it was nice to talk with Calcagno about animals and beauty, and love.

Walking around the exhibition, I found myself drawn not only to the beautiful bronze animal sculptures, but how the artist had installed them with pieces of wood crafted into smooth trees or branches, or on shelves amidst sparkling gems. I loved the adorable mice, especially the one featured on the show invite, which depicted a small bronze mouse balancing a ruby red gem on its forehead, or the bronze armadillo perched on top of a tall tree. Different natural elements, playing against each other, radiated from a strange mixture of materials. Admiring a bird’s pecking at clear crystals that looked like diamonds or a turtle with a red heart-shaped gem in its mouth, I was curious about the use of crystals and the notion of eating them. Calcagno explained that the show uses a lot of symbolism. Women are like jewels and eating the jewels is a way of expressing how he wants to consume love.

There are other interesting sculptures to see at the show, like the spherical glass birdhouses inspired by the South American bird — the Hornero, after horno, or oven — because its spherical, mud nests resemble clay ovens. Calcagno cleverly titled one of the sculptures, Elegant al fresco.

Elsi del Rio owner Fernando Entin told me about another exhibition of Calcagno’s works from the same series opening Wednesday night at the CCEBA, and added that Calgano is one of the artists the gallery will be featuring at arteBA 2011. I have to say, I loved the show. And I guess that’s what the artist was hoping for. He struck me as someone in love with being in love.
Por Carla Harms
4 de mayo de 2011

Las joyas de la corona
Las joyas de la corona
frente a frente
Frente a frente
One for the road
arteBA edición 22. Martín Calcagno, Humor y Amor