Javier Martin (Spain, 1985) is a multidisciplinary artist who bases his creative exploration on the careful observation of his surroundings, detecting semiotic relationships that might otherwise pass by unnoticed to an unperceptive viewer. With this approach, the artist constructs situations that invite reflection on impending matters in today’s world.
Raised in Spain, Martin began painting in oil colors at the tender age of seven, and had his first exhibition at the age of eight; however, he never allowed himself to be influenced by formal artistic training. Instead, he relied on his experiences, which allowed him to explore the possibilities of various materials and tools that he incorporates in his work today. Traveling, living, and working in countries – from Europe, South Korea, Hong Kong, to the United States – honed his observation skills, allowing him to learn from people and daily situations far removed from his background. During the Summer of 2012, Martin participated in his first exhibition in Asia M50 Art District. By 2014 he officially was represented by Matthew Liu Fine Art Gallery in Shanghai.
In addition to his international exhibitions around the world, he shares his knowledge and personal experience regarding the realm of art culture through speaking engagements. In 2015 he conversed with a group of students during a Conference at Alboran College in Marbella, Spain, discussing the impact that art had on his life. 2017 opened with him presenting his performance piece ‘Lies and Light’ at the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville, followed by a discussion about the importance of breaking down the lights that veer us away from the path of truth. Most recently, he was a panelist in New Ways of Seeing, presented by New World Forum at Liang Yi Museum, Hong Kong.
Martin has equally experimented in painting, collage, sculpture, performance art and video art. Through his work, he proposes relationships among forms, surfaces, textures, and scenarios in which objects used on a daily basis relate to each other in unexpected ways. This talented artist consistently demonstrates his capacity to masterfully manipulate and relate materials and situations to construct sharp visual metaphors. In the Fall of 2015, Martin presented “War, Consumption, and Other Human Hobbies” a solo exhibition at Valli Art Gallery in Miami. Showing several pieces from his Blindness Collection as well a collection of works whose messages addressed themes of consumption and strategies of power within the global economy.
For over a decade, Martin has been developing one of his most iconic collections, Blindness. The eyes, classically associated with the reflection of human emotions, are always concealed whether behind a vibrant stroke of paint or a glowing neon light. With painting and collage, he reproduces images of seemingly perfect models, symbols of a standard of beauty and lifestyle that most people long to enjoy. Inspired by the juxtaposition between the grit of city surroundings and the glossy ads that line them, Martin deconstructs this perceived perfection to create a contrast between technology, collage, and painting.
In the Spring of 2016, Martin presented his first performance piece ‘Lies and Light’ at his solo show during Art Basel Hong Kong week. This performance also represents the latest evolution of the artist’s Blindness concept. In this case, the artist manifests himself as the protagonist, literally shattering society’s barriers to convey the struggle against conformity, the fight for truth and freedom. This raw and rebellious performance finds Martin completely vulnerable in an intense spiritual journey to overcome his past to progress.
In 2018, Martin continued to build on the questions raised by his performance art with installations that challenge viewers to examine their own blindness. Following his public Blindness mural for the 71st Festival de Cannes and his solo exhibition “Blindness the Appropriation of Beauty” (curated by Robert C. Morgan), Martin created a number of interactive installations in which the Blindness concept is more visceral and tangible than ever before. In ‘A Room Without Walls’, Martin riffs on his ‘Alma’ series with an immersive, completely mirrored room in which viewers see themselves infinitely repeated in the face of a figure blinded by neon light. For ‘The Dark Box’, exhibited at Valli Art Gallery in Miami and New York, Martin continues to challenge gallery visitors to directly interact with the Blindness concept. Developed in a world dominated by social media, Martin uses ‘The Dark Box’ to invite viewers to become a part of his art; at the same time, the piece creates a situation in which participants can question their own blindness to new means of consumption.
Martin’s most recent works show him revisiting the concepts behind his earliest works in the Blindness collection. In these largescale and expressive collages, Martin layers paint, prints, paper ephemera, and neon in order to present the Blindness concept with new complexity. Whereas he forces participants to examine their own blindness in his installations, these mature works show Martin mining his own oeuvre to reexamine Blindness more than a decade later. These reflective pieces have been exhibited simultaneously, at Plan B at David Zwirner and in a solo exhibition titled “BLINDNESS” at Valli Art Gallery New York in March, 2019.
Javier Martin presented his first solo museum exhibition at the Seoul Museum in Spring 2019.