Mexican artist Javier Marin lives large on a side street off the main plaza in Morelia, Michoacan, Mexico. In a recent post we published a photo of one of his larger-than-life bronze heads, and many readers were intrigued and asked for more information on the art and artist.
Marin was born in Uruapan, Michoacan, Mexico in 1962. His works have been exhibited all over the world, and his massive sculptures are a perfect art form to attract attention on busy city streets. As for these particular sculptures, we thought the exhibit placard summed it up nicely.
Javier Marin, Sculptures in Public Spaces
“Cities have become territories for artistic exploration. The dynamic and changing urban space of a city offers multiple opportunities for artists to react beyond its physical form and treat it as a social space subject to all kinds of human processes.
Nowadays, cities are one of the largest memory containers that exist. Their sidewalks, buildings, population migrations, pollution, destruction, new profiles and ever changing maps, reflect the traces of their inhabitant’s activity and thought. Cities have allowed us to understand the phenomenon of memory as something changeable and diffuse, as a complex, collective imaginary that moves away from official history and constructs itself by endless intangible micro stories.
Under these premises, Javier Marin’s project seeks to occupy public spaces in order to alter the nature and provoke encounters with art, thus enrich the visual consumption of the city.” –Aurora Norena
We love the concept of cities as memory containers, and these wonderful sculptures brought us to a part of the city that we might have just walked by. And this art certainly created a memory for us.
James & Terri
Update March 15, 2014: Javier Marin (THE sculptor) just picked up our post and published it on his Facebook page. Yay! Javier, we think you totally rock! Thanks for the link.
Memory containers… Interesting concept, I agree! Thanks for the added detail on the fabulous pieces. Love your views on the places you travel!
Thanks Jonelle. I love the concept of memory containers as well. And when you think of all the people going about their daily lives, and their intersection with other people, it’s absolutely true. But it’s also true of the buildings, parks, and stores. It all combines to build one big memory. Interesting concept. It sounds like something the historian Louis Mumford would have said. ~ James
Very true! I definitely agree with Mumford on his assessment of the suburbs. I don’t know of any tours or attractions that mention worthwhile suburbs to take in on ones next visit… I’ll go with your recommendations for urban “memory containers” any day! 😉
There is a head sculpture like this in the main square in Krakow!
I remember the head in Krakow Andrew. I particularly liked its position in front of the old belltower. I always meant to do something with those photos, and didn’t get around to it. Ummm. That might be a good idea for a future post. ~James
Latin America loves their artists. We were impressed with the museum at the final home of poet, Pablo Neruda in Chile. And then there is Casapuebla, the home of Uruguayan artist, Carlos Vilaro.
These larger than life sculptures in Morelia are a great find! Thanks for sharing. – Mike
It was funny Mike, we were very lucky to see this exhibit. It’s a traveling exhibit, and had been in Morelia since October. We walked by the next day, and it was gone! I think that he also has a large exhibit in Brussels. That can’t be bad for business. ~ James
This is fascinating. What an imagination. Memory containers indeed! 😀
In addition to imagination, Javier has a good deal of skill with bronze to be able to pull off sculptures of this size. For something of this size to show such emotion is exceptional indeed. ~ James
He is certainly gifted. 😀 I’m in awe.
I love the unexpected– and this artist creates makes my heart leap! Many thanks, d
Unexpected is exactly the word – fifty yards from a 17th Century cathedral. We had no idea it was there and it was a delightful surprise. ~ James
Hi James and Terri. We were lucky enough to see a collection of the same or very similar bronze sculptures by Javier Marin at the Eulogio Rosado Park in Merida, Mexico last year. I think the fact that we just happened upon them in our wanderings made the experience of seeing the exhibit even more amazing! Anita
That’s funny Anita, because that’s exactly what happened to us. We were wandering around the main plaza, admiring the 17th Century cathedral, and there they were on a small side street. Talk about a contrast! I’m not familiar with his other work, but I will certainly check it out. ~ James
I can’t wait to get back to Morelia!
Our time here really has been fun, and we’re so glad we got visit~ James
Thank you so much for sharing this! I love Morelia and I love that you guys are exploring Mexico ~ my beloved country.
We’re having a great trip Gabriela, and have really enjoyed San Miguel and Morelia. We’ve traveled all over, but strangely, haven’t spent much time in Mexico. It’s so close and easily accessible to the US, and has so much to offer. (And no jet lag – yah!) It will definitely be on our future trip list. ~ James
Ha, ha. I was just about to look up info. on Marin, but you did all the work for me. I do hope I can find photos of more of his artwork. Thanks again for the email.
Anita I was wondering if his work had been in the US. A photo search turned up an exhibit in Jacksonville, FL … 75 miles from my house. How did I miss that? ~ James
These are fantastic James. Like finding treasure in traveling! One of my favorite photos of yours was the street art with the people looking as though they were walking out of the sidewalk. That image has just stuck with me.
Thanks Sue. These really are nice, and very unexpected. The sculptures you’re talking about were in Wroclaw, Poland. Both of these peices were in unusual locations, and were powerful, for different reasons. It’s nice to see some non-touristy stuff on the road. ~ James
For sure James. I absolutely love it when such discoveries happen.
Incredible work! 🙂
It will be interesting to do some research to see more of his work. He’s very talented ~ James
Mexico has some fabulous artists and this is no exception! We loved even the artwork on many outside walls of buildings in the little villages we visited.
I don’t really know Mexican artists LuAnn, but this guy is fabulous, We’ll definitely be looking for more of his work. It was quite a surprise next door to the cathedral. ~ James
Hi. I really love that concept of cities as memories, so thanks for sharing guys.
I love this idea as well Steve. And you’ll love this: a few days after this post, the artist Javier Marin, put our post on his facebook page. We got a huge spike in views, and it continues. We’re pretty chuffed about it actually. You just never know how it’s going to go. ~James
Beautiful work. When CAN we see your sculptures in france???
Hi Mariana, We think his work is exquisite, too. He might have his schedule on his Facebook Page. Good Luck – hope you get to see his work. All the best, Terri
Wow! Loved these sculptures and their concept. It’s great that you got to contact the author (THE author haha). Blogging about good stuff gets its results, congratulations 🙂
Thanks Virginia. We were surprised and really happy that Javier Marin put our post on his FB page. We got a huge spike in visits for the day. He’s a very talented artist, and we’re happy to help get his name and work out there. Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you. ~James
During the couple of years that I lived in Mexico I was always impressed by the commitment to public art despite social and economic ills. Glad to see that it carries on!
A commitment to public art is a good indicator to the public that life goes on, in spite of social and economic ills. And this is a good thing, particularly in places like Mexico. ~James
Terri & James, what a unique find. What’s interesting about the sculptures is that in the photos at least, the heads almost resemble wood instead of bronze. They remind me of the woodcarvings that the German village of Oberammergau is known for.
Wish you continued safe travels!
Thanks Tricia. I had a close look at these sculptures and the technique the artist used. It always intrigues me when an artist crafts something on this scale. I’m curious about how they are actually made. I guess that’s why Javier Marin is the artist, and I’m the art observer. ~James
I spent a month in Morelia several years ago. How wonderful to see this post of finds. Thank you.
Thanks for the comment and for dropping by the blog. Morelia is a beautiful and interesting place that’s made even more pleasant by being off the tourist track. It was a great discovery. ~James