Adrián Villar Rojas is a master at creating massive sculptures of clay, wood and cement that remind us about the uncomfortable relationship humans have with nature. My Family Dead, a representation of a life-sized blue whale in the forest outside of his native Ushuaia, Argentina is one such example. When you are not moved by the suffering the magnificent creature appears to have endured, the tree stumps protruding around and out of the whale’s body spark curiosity over what was there first – the whale or the trees.
Rojas’ work has left searing impressions far beyond Ushuaia, the world’s southernmost city, and Rosario, his hometown in the Argentine pampas. His massive sculptures interpreting the end of the world represented Argentina at least year’s Venice Biennale. Many other galleries in Latin America and Europe have showcased the 31-year-old artist’s eerie mixed media sculptures of nature.
My Family Dead and Rojas’ other sculptures aim to change the relationship between the space and the observer. He wants his work to startle – his massive pieces appear as if by magic and invite viewers to wonder how such an enormous cetacean could have appeared in this remote Patagonian forest. An average project led by Rojas involves the work of 10 to 15 people including engineers, carpenters and sculptors who shape the clay, rocks and wood into a structure that should be the set of a science fiction or post-apocalyptic film.
To that end, Rojas’ influences include the Batman movies, the 1987 film Predator and Kurt Cobain. The scale of his sculptures, and the dark titles he gives them upon completion, are intended to bring out the most visceral of emotions.
Via This is Colossal
Photos courtesy Bola de Nieve.