My work makes use of different media, mainly drawing, painting and photography, with occasional incursions into video and other works made with three-dimensional objects. I think drawing/painting and photography interest me as they represent two complementary approaches to making art that, in my case, strike a necessary balance between, on the one hand, observing and capturing the real environment using technical means (photography) and, on the other, creating a parallel universe that emerges more innately and intuitively, based on introspection, manual activity, reflection and experimenting with different forms (drawing/painting).
Above all, I’m interested in subjects and concepts seen as dualities; chaos/order, nature/culture, ordinary/extraordinary, abstract/concrete, dark/light, true/false, original/copy, transcendental/banal.
1. What made you choose art as a profession?
Art hasn’t been my profession to date: I’m an amateur artist.
2. How would you define your work?
I’d define it as varied, since so far it’s happened mainly in the fields of drawing, painting and photography, although very independently in each case. It’s strongly rooted in the creative processes themselves, in observing and the nature of the media used.
3. What subjects are you interested in?
Above all I’m interested in subjects and concepts seen as dualities: evidence and processes of order and chaos; nature and the different ways in which humans relate to it; revealing the extraordinary in the everyday; the abstract contrasted with the concrete; the dark, the mysterious and the inexplicable when linked to light, the surprising or the simply beautiful; truth and lies; the original and the copy, the transcendental and the banal.
4. What resources – formal or otherwise – do you use in your work?
The resources tend to vary with each work, although a recurring feature is the use of groups, series and sequences, as I see lots of the finished works as the sum of smaller pieces. I also often work by putting together or collecting images.
5. What relationship does your work have with reality? What are your raw materials?
My photographic work is firmly rooted in visual reality. I don’t take staged, composed or previously prepared photos; I simply aim to capture certain situations in a given way in order to create images containing something minimally exceptional or peculiar. At the end of the day, it’s about selecting the reality I observe and reproduce. In terms of drawing and painting, my works don’t have much to do with visible reality as perceived. I’m more concerned about developing works based on configuring mental images, manual work and reflecting on different forms, using the particular characteristics of each medium and experimenting. Images, texts and ideas can act as raw materials or catalysts for works, but very often the works themselves are raw materials. The different phases a work goes through turn it into something more refined, but it can still be used as raw material for later works.
6. What, according to you, is the point of art?
This depends on the work of art in question and the context. It can mean a great deal or nothing at all – and neither of these two possibilities is any better than the other. Art arose with the ascent of man and has gone through many far-reaching changes; its purpose has changed over the ages, but it is undeniably linked to humankind: we have a need it and it will always be there as long as humans are still around.
7. How do you hope the public will receive your work? What audience are you aiming at?
I hope the works are able to excite, disgust or leave people indifferent, depending on the people in question. I would like them to inspire the people looking at them to doing something creative or to go and see more art. I’m not aiming at any particular audience.
8. What qualifications have you got? I’ve got a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Art. What do you value most from your time in education?
Education in the sense of learning is a lifelong process, but what I value most from my time as a student is the relationships with other students and friends I made, the chance to see and talk about their work and show them mine, and the opportunity to work together collaboratively. I’ve also got fond memories of the time I spent outside Spain when I had grants.
9. How would you define your current professional situation? And in the future?
I’m currently associate lecturer at the Department of Fine Arts in Cuenca. My future in this profession depends to a large extent on my ability to meet official requirements. In the future I hope to continue making art. In the short term, I’d like to spend more time doing art and I’d like it to be more widely received.
10. Many artists say it’s difficult to make a living from their work; how do economic considerations affect you when it comes to work? Do you think this has a bearing on your work?
I’m not economically dependent on my artistic work; it’s my job as a lecturer that supports me. I suppose this has some bearing on my work and since my income is independent of my artistic work and the art market, perhaps I’m freer to do what I want when I want, which must also affect my work.
11. What do you look for or expect from your relationship with promoters and curators? What advantages and difficulties have you found with these relationships?
I don’t look for anything in my relationships with promoters and curators. I hope they’re genuinely interested in my work and do their job well. The main advantage to working with promoters and curators is that they in turn work for public or private institutions with guaranteed visibility and resources. There’s the odd chance they might help you think about your work, to see it from another point of view and even improve on it or decide the best way to show it. One of the difficulties promoters and curators have is that they know artists and their work through fairly limited means (contests, grants, galleries and/or social events) that require artists to make themselves known. In think in most cases, promoters’ and curators’ field of research is limited to what gets to them through the channels I mentioned, which turns the ‘art world’ into a closed circuit that is not very receptive to anything unusual or new.
12. What do you think sets the arts scene in Madrid apart from elsewhere? What would you say are its pluses and minuses?
I’m not really sure what I should understand by the ‘Madrid arts scene’ or what other arts scene I should compare it with, although there’s no doubt it’s neither as active nor as appealing as the scene in other European cities such as London or Berlin. From my point of view, on the plus side there are lots of museums, centres and galleries that often put on art exhibitions.
On the minus side, there’s no real commitment to promoting artists’ work or building up an active contemporary art scene. Madrid lacks public infrastructure for artists’ studios, for example – properly equipped places where plastic and visual creators can go to work instead of having to pay exorbitant rent for ill-equipped spaces. Public and private initiatives to promote artistic creation are few and far between and woefully insufficient to cover demand: there’s little more than a handful of grants and contests.
There’s no long-term plan to help a meaningful number of well-deserving creators develop their career and no good training programmes. In recent years, the city has seen a growth in so-called alternative initiatives or spaces, although in my opinion they’ve had varying degrees of success and are highly dependent on public funds. All in all, this means that many artists prefer to set up in other places, either in international art centres such as Berlin, London or New York – popular destinations for Madrid artists and for Spanish artists in general – or places off the beaten track free from the disadvantages of life in big cities such as Madrid.
Óscar Martínez Martín
Vive y trabaja entre/Lives and works between: Madrid, Cuenca.
Diploma de Estudios Avanzados, Facultad de Bellas Artes, Universidad de Cuenca.
Licenciatura en Bellas Artes, Facultad de Bellas Artes, Universidad de Cuenca.
Cursos de Doctorado, Factultad de Bellas Artes, Universidad de cuenca.
Estudios de Ingeniería, Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingenieros Agrónomos, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid.
Estudios de Bellar Artes, Facultad de Bellas Artes, Univesidad Complutense de Madrid.
Exposiciones Individuales (Selección)/Selected Solo Exhibitions
En movimiento, Ingráfica 2009, II Festival Internacional de Grabado Contemporáneo, Cuenca. *
Óscar Martínez. Pintura, La Ida, Madrid.
Dibujos y pintura, Sala Tesauro, Madrid.
Hay otros mundos pero están en éste, Centro de Arte Joven de la Comunidad de Madrid.
* Cat. Exp.
Exposiciones Colectivas (Selección)/Selected Group Exhibitions
Contornos, Arte en Papel 2011, Festival Internacional de Arte Gráfico, Sala de exposiciones del Auditorio de Cuenca.
Montaña, Galería Artesonado, La Granja, Segovia.
Homenaje a Miguel Hernández, Sala de exposiciones de la Facultad de Bellas Artes de Cuenca.
Las Letras del Barrio, Gráficas Almeida, Madrid.
En movimiento, Ingráfica 2009, II Festival Internacional de Grabado Contemporáneo, Cuenca.*
Trickle down Theory, Korjaamo, Helsinki.
II Bienal Iberoamericana de obra gráfica Ciudad de Cáceres.
Confluencias, Proyecto Digigraphie, Estampa 2008.*
Ingráfica 2008, I Festival de Grabado Contemporáneo Ciudad de Cuenca.
Noche y naturaleza, Espacio Valverde, Madrid.
Ayermañana, Facultad de Bellas Artes, Cuenca.
¿Quién, por no ser de pan fue de aire?, Espacio Valverde, Madrid.
Atiketokentuki, International Visions The Gallery, Washington D.C.
* Cat. Exp.
Programas de vídeo/Film Festivals and Screenings
Todos los gatos y todas las gatas son muy feos, REC´07, Festival de cine y creación audiovisual de Tarragona.
Festival de Vídeo 143 Delicias, Madrid.
Festival de Vídeo 143 Delicias, Madrid.
Proyectos/Projects 2004 5 km/h, Comisariado junto a/Curated in collaboration with Jaime Narváez, Festival PhotoEspaña, Madrid.
Becas y Premios/Awards and Grants
Contornos, Arte en papel 2011, I Festival Internacional de Arte Gráfico, Sala de exposiciones del Auditorio de Cuenca.
Archivo de Creadores de Matadero, Madrid. (Selección/Selected)
Archivo de artistas Generaciones, Obra Social de Cajamadrid, Madrid. (Selección/Selected)
II Bienal Iberoamericana de obra gráfica Ciudad de Cáceres, Cáceres.
Generación 2001, Premios y Becas de Arte Caja Madrid. (Selección/Selected)
Concurso de Fotografía Villa de Guadarrama, Madrid. (Selección/Selected)
Premio de Pintura y Escultura de Caja Castilla-La Mancha. (Selección/Selected)
VIII Certamen Nacional de Dibujo, Museo de la Fundación Gerardo Prieto, Valdepeñas. (Finalista/Finalist)
I Certamen Nacional de Fotografía de Caja Madrid, Madrid. (Selección/Selected)
Beca Erasmus-Sócrates, Hochschule für Bildende Künste, Hamburg.
Beca Talens de Ayuda a la Investigación, Talens España S.A.
Beca Erasmus, Wimbledon School of Art, London.
Concurso de murales, Metro Madrid, Estación de Metro Moncloa. (1er premio/1st Award)
VV.AA., "Arte en papel", Festival Internacional de Arte Gráfico Arte en Papel, Cuenca, 2011. Cat. Exp.
VV.AA. "Montaña". Edición a cargo de Horacio Fernández, Galería Artesonado, La Granja, Segovia, 2009.
VV.AA., "Estampa", Madrid, 2008, Cat. Exp.
VV.AA., "Ingráfica", Cuenca, Ayuntamiento de Cuenca, 2008, Cat. Exp.
VV.AA., "Ayermañana", Cuenca, Facultad de Bellas Artes, Universidad de Cuenca, 2007, Cat. Exp.
VV.AA., "Situaciones", Cuenca, Facultad de Bellas Artes, Universidad de Cuenca, 2001, Cat. Exp.
VV.AA., "Generación 2001", Madrid, Obra Social Caja Madrid, 2001, Cat. Exp.