Pepe Mar: Man of the Night
November 18, 2017 - January 20, 2018
Locust Projects, Miami
"Everyone carries a room about inside him." - Franz Kafka
Locust Projects presents Man of the Night by Miami-based artist Pepe Mar. This exhibition inaugurates a new body of work that looks back on the artist’s 15-year practice and situates it within itself and the greater history of art. Creating a series of custom textiles printed with images of his past work, Mar collages this material, sews and paints it, and obliterates areas, bringing together disparate bodies of work from along his career while making entirely new images from the recombined originals. The end result is Man of the Night, a large-scale Gesamtkunstwerk (German for “universal artwork”) that overflows from the walls, floor, and ceiling of the room, collapsing Mar’s entire practice—past to present—into one comprehensive work of art.
Through his collage process, Mar confronts the entire history of art, absorbing familiar references and forms as elements within his works: bits of cut paper, repurposed objects, and a material vocabulary that draws heavily on the techniques of his stylistic forebearers. The exhibition itself is named after a small bronze sculpture by the late French artist Germaine Richier. Man of the Night serves as a double entendre, alluding to Richier’s work and the long history of artistic reference and discourse in which it is situated, as well as the visual promiscuity of Mar’s practice.
The modes of exhibition display are similarly central to Mar’s work. His collages serve as sites of spectacle, where artifacts, artworks, and objects—all curated by Mar himself—live within. Each of these elements that the artist puts on view can stand on their own or exist as part of the work’s greater multitude. Taken further, Mar repurposes the structures of exhibitions within his own works, allowing for reimagined pedestals and shelves to serve as sculptural elements that embed themselves throughout his collaged arrangements. In this way, Mar brings exhibition to the very subject and function of his practice. In his custom fabric pieces, exhibition is extended into an archival impulse, presenting a visual library of Mar’s entire career while recycling those images into new contexts.
Soft, pillow-like sculptures made from Mar’s custom textiles feature throughout the installation. They hang worm-like from the ceiling, snake across the floor, and lean languorously against the room’s walls. They impose themselves and interrupt the seamless experience of the space. These stuffed textile fragments amplify the dimensionality of the room, caving in Mar's work from the walls and into the center of the space; they engulf the viewer within the work. Man of the Night is itself a state of flux, continually shifting, rearranging, as visitors’ bodies become elements within this greater body of work.