Watching and Waiting: Enrique Martínez Celaya Selected Sculptures 2005-2023

Enrique Martínez Celaya

27 Mar 2023

Museo Marino Marini, Firenze

31.03 – 29.05.2023

Opening 31.03.2023, 6pm


From March 31 to May 29, 2023, Museo Marino Marini in Florence is pleased to present Watching and Waiting: Enrique Martínez Celaya Selected Sculptures 2005-2023, the first exhibition in Italy by Cuban-born and Los Angeles-based artist Enrique Martínez Celaya. Trained as a painter, in over thirty years of artistic practice, Martínez Celaya has also explored sculpture, photography, video and writing, investigating through all these media the fundamental relationships between human beings and the world. His figurative language takes root in nature, using common and familiar images such as trees, flowers, rivers, skies, the sea, but also animals and human figures. The initial simplicity of this imagery, however, gives way to a deeper, opaque and unstable experience that lies beneath the surface.


Museo Marino Marini in Florence, dedicated to the famous Tuscan artist, has 183 works by Marini in its permanent collection, including many sculptures, some of them monumental. Watching and Waiting, curated by Giorgio Verzotti,therefore pays specific attention on Martínez Celaya’s sculpture, in dialogue with the rooms that host it. For the first time in this exhibition, the artist transforms the flickering images of his paintings into concrete objects in bronze, cement, wax or wood, which share space with the viewer and intensify his personal engagement. Sculpture thus becomes a powerful medium through which Martínez Celaya explores highly personal and intimate concepts that shape the emotional journey of life, such as memory, loss, vulnerability, strength of spirit, the ephemeral and hope.


Martínez Celaya’s sculptures appear as fragments of a story or poem that, in their materiality, occupy the space in which the visitor moves. They seem to be a permanent version of what is usually a fleeting act: weeping, sitting, raising an arm, sheltering. They play the function of witnesses, intensified by their immobility. Immobility that does not want to be impassibility, but rather resistance, determination, waiting and patience, as the title of the exhibition, Watching and Waiting, underlines.


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