The Glyptotek of Pedro Reyes at the Lisson Gallery

For his first exhibition in London after the success of Disarm in 2013, the artist from Mexico City, known for transforming firearms into musical instruments, has chosen, for his sojourn at the Lisson Gallery, an abstract approach to sculpture with materials such as volcanic rock, marble, bronze and steel. “Each statue commemorates a historic event or the life of an influential person,” explains the artist that, among his rebellious images, brings his sculptural duo Versus Machina to London, in which the figure of a woman runs a robot through with a spear, seemingly to re-evoke Saint George slaying the dragon or the dynamic sculptural group of Laocoon. The image of humanity depicted as it struggles against machines is quite present in the works of the artist who questions the validity of trying to resolve every problem by deferring to technology. Created in bronze from an original casting in cement, Versus Machina still shows its scars received during the September 2017 earthquake in Mexico, after which Reyes returned to working as an architect to assist a team of one-hundred colleagues in the rebuilding efforts. Superimposed towers and dovetailed structures support the totemic figures on display, exploring, not only geometry and abstraction, but also the heritage of modernism, as seen in works like El Quinto Sol. Then there are the synaesthetic sculptures like Seer and Jaguar, where an eye pops out of a mouth and a tongue from an eye, for instance. This show, steeped in symbolism, is part of the rich iconography of an artist that has captured international attention thanks to his projects tuned into politics and current events, which incite change with creativity and a sense of humour.
Samantha De Martin - © 2018 for Bvlgari Hotel London