The Museum of Natural Sciences, aside from dinosaurs, mammals, reptiles and insects, shows artworks related to the natural world. On display in one of its galleries until 1 June is the exhibition “Kranion” by the sculptor and architect, Juan Ramón Martín. In drawings, prints and sculptures, this Madrid-based artist takes inspiration from the skulls of vertebrate animals, translating their lines and shapes into geometries of space and material.
“Kranion. Ossa cranii-ossa faciei”
Juan Ramón Martín opts for two-dimensional figures in his sketches or prints and works in three dimensions through his sculptures, creating visual accounts of the vertebrates’ evolution which might well shed light on the mystery of life itself. At a basic level, the bone structure of a skull acts as a protective shield for the body’s most vulnerable and vital organ: the brain. The artist’s interpretation is schematic, a kind of primitive helmet with ultramodern lines where nothing is superfluous, neither the content nor the container.
In the exhibition, visitors can touch one of the sculptures, trace its forms and hollow spaces by feeling their way along the rust and polished metal. It’s an excellent opportunity, a personal experience and way to better understand the stories of survival contained within each work.
A sensory journey into an alchemist’s workshop
A sculptor is a shaper of space, a translator of invisible ideas, a ponderer of gravities and hollows; a synthesiser capable of materialising the intangible.
La casa en la que habita el viento, Prometeo encadenado, El muro, Kranion, and Vientos de Iberia are just some of the works created by Juan Ramón Martín, which I had the chance to view and touch in his studio-workshop, as well as reading his exhibition catalogues. Juan Ramón, aside from sculpture, expresses his creative universe through words. He has written five books about his artwork. I chatted with him while visiting his studio and witnessing how he works. By inviting me to his studio, the artist also enabled me to participate and gain insight into his creative journey. There, I was able to observe that sculpture does indeed contain latent movement. Sculptures are born of the unison between thought and paper, then take material and spatial form in the workshop. I was able to touch, observe, smell, savour and listen to the process of creating that which is not physically visible, but which the artists pours into his work. A fragment of himself, perhaps.
Exhibition: “Kranion. Ossa cranio-ossa faciei” at the Museum of Natural Sciences, from 7 March to 30 June.
Photography: Oscar Rivilla
Translation: Rebekah Jane Rhodes
Hair and makeup: Jose Sande
Art director: Carolina Verd
Picture 4: long shirt and pants by Ulises Mérida ; shoes by Ana Marttin Shoes for Ulises Mérida.