Works by Oswaldo Maciá directly address the senses, using scents, noises and visual effects to unconsciously evoke associations and reactions. He is especially concerned with how each individual translates and transforms external stimuli, and how these are assimilated and processed by the senses to be perceived as images, information or messages. Here, he primarily focusses on aspects of smell, which are always the basis for his spatial and sound sculptures, since we react far more sensitively to smells. They can be more intensively perceived than the visual, which we are exposed to every day in a never-ending flood of images. His artistic practice is built around the stimulation of these three senses in the context of the visual arts. In “Surrounded in Tears” e.g., he isolated noises from their context, showing hundreds of different people from different countries crying, accompanying the images with dissonant sounds that pour over the beholder like a symphony of mourning.
For Rohkunstbau, Oswaldo Maciá has created “Under the Horizon” a new room and sound installation which employs sculptural conventions and narrative expectations. A plinth elevates a bath to eye level – a signal that this domestic object has been removed from its vernacular context. From the taps black liquid is running, unchecked and overflowing. Emanating from the flow is a scent, unfamiliar and uncontainable within language. The scene is accompanied by soft water sounds, presenting a cyclical movement, referencing the inexorable waters of the Rhine holding the hidden Rheingold in its depths – symbolised here by the opaque black liquid.
Maciá has commissioned the perfumer Ricardo Moya to create the smell of ‘under’, an abstract term deriving its meaning from context. To perceive ‘under the horizon’, as the title instructs, is to pay attention to a realm beneath the infinite and general. The horizon line is an incommensurable used to navigate between one place and another, a line to which vision is calibrated.
Maciá is particularly concerned with how external stimuli we receive from the world are translated into images and information through our senses, mediated by what-we-think-we-know. “Under the Horizon” moves from an ocularcentric register of perception, using smell to embrace the subjectivities of memory – be they based on our own perception or adopted from indirect experience.
Selected Solo Exhibitions
2010 Equilibrium, Espaivisor, Valencia, Spain
2008 Soufflé 1/11/08, The Gallery Sketch, London, UK
2007 Calumny|Dafur, Fri-Art, Fribourg, Switzerland
Selected Group Exhibitions
2011 Robert Mapplethorpe: Night Work, Alison Jacques Gallery, London, UK
2009 Surrounded in Tears, Nuit Blanche 09, Toronoto, Canada
2008 Calumny|Tears, Musee D’Art De Joliette, Quebec, Canada
2007 Calumny, Marian Goodman Gallery, Paris, France
2006 Urp! Dieci posizioni tra pubblico e private, Cagliari, Italy
2005 X Jardin – Palazzo Franchetti, 51st Venice Biennale, Italy