Text by: Diandra Agapie
Martin Bloeck and Marc Prat share a similar world of intuitive need for expression. They both let the power of their feelings and subconsciousness to take over the artistic process. This allows them to create a ‘naked’ feeling between the viewer and the artworks. In this way, their intuitive freedom creates interconnectedness between Prat’s paintings, Bloeck’s sculptures and the spectator.
Their content is crucial in creating meaning, but their subjects matter presented in this exhibition differ greatly. Yet both of them absorb their inspiration from the world around them. Through their works, they share their own reality, which is interpreted with an energetic approach.
Prat looks at the animals around him, he stares the bull in the eye, he admires the magnitude of the raven. He offers them a honest homage when he lets his charcoal and his brushes shape them into powerful beings on grandiose large-scale canvases.
Bloeck uses the concept of being human to urge us into an improved, truthful and love-driven existence. His feelings metamorphose into the creation of his sculptures – his presented works deal with his feelings of heaviness which shaped his forms and influenced his use of mediums.
Both artists have developed their own philosophy, which now has an important role in shaping their inspiration, process and final pieces. Their background, as well as external influences have conveyed their final ideas regarding what art should be and what art should express. These factors are further mentioned in the interviews below. Their philosophies are important when understanding their art, but also when we are looking for ways to make sense of the world around and within us.
Marc Prat puts us in contact with the grandiosity of the animals and Martin Bloeck puts us in contact with the true human inside of us.
For more a more in-depth indulgence into the wonderful works of Prat and Bloeck, interviews with both of the artists are available below.
The Year Of The Animal
Marc Prat starts from a real subject matter… however that is where reality stops, and the control is surrounded to the painting. Not being in control anymore, he allows himself to be guided by the artmaking process. The mind is a dominant entity, but the subconscious is not. By letting his subconscious take over, he believes that he is able to let the painting become its own being. The purpose of his works is to spread spirituality to the viewer’s own life. His works spread awareness regarding the beauty that is all around us – perfection is reality. Since painting can never be perfect, the ‘canvas’ becomes a translation of perfection through image. Everyone understands life in a different way –the displayed paintings present the artist’s perception of reality. In this regard, the artist is the medium in creating a new artistic ‘being’.
The artist conveys how he sees reality – therefore his subject matter comes from the world around him. Not wanting to decide over his subjects, he lets them come to him. That leads to a repetitiveness in his use of subjects. His inspiration comes when he least expects it – his gentle rabbits are a homage to his own pet while his glorious ravens were inspired by some of the many Dutch ravens in Maastricht, when he saw them carrying little twigs in their beaks. A good example is the anecdote of one of his recurring subjects – the bull. In 2003, Prat was living in India. As he was living next to a buffalo farm, he was passing it every day. He constantly noticed the bulls looking at him. When he looked back into their eyes, he realized the connection happening between him and the animals. Animals are as important as humans. They are constant beings. As well as us, they have their own spiritual place in the world. Therefore, his paintings become a homage to animals and make us see their importance.
Just like his subject matter, his painting process became a repetitive exercise. One important characteristic is putting things in a bigger scale to emphasize their content. He paints his animals in a large scale to convey their remarkability. By being big, by being ‘in your face’, the painting makes you think about the animal. Without previous studies, he lets the charcoal flow in his hand to create definition in the first layer of his painting. The choice of medium has a significant role for him as it shapes the final result. In this way, the subject matter can become completely different due to the mediums used to depict it. His choice of materials could be seen as Art Brut, but Prat sees himself as rather ‘stealing’ different styles and inspirations from everywhere. He makes art with whatever is on hand or whatever materials he can find. Calling it ‘poor art’, he considers that cheap materials become valuable through the artmaking process. Moreover, they offer more quality as they integrate their own story in the final product.
For Prat, art is one of the most important aspects of well-being. He grew up in an artistic environment, as his mother is a painter, and he always liked to draw. Yet his true passion for painting started while he was struggling with depression. He felt like he had to start painting. At twenty-five years old he started, and he was not able to stop. It became a need that had to constantly be expressed. He overcame his depression, but his art remained there. His constant need for art convinced him to transform it into a profession. Through this, we are able to see through his eyes that art has therapeutic and healing powers, as well as the ability to be a pure exercise of creation and expression.
Marc Prat works with PontArte since it’s beginning in December 2013 in Alella, Spain. More about his work can be seen here
The Power Of The Sensitive Form
Martin Bloeck makes himself the starting point of his works, then transforms them in such a way that they become about the viewer. When the viewer faces his works, a transfer of energy takes place. In this way, the artist achieves his focus – the creation of a sense of nearness and placement in space for both the viewer and the sculpture. By grounding his works in reality, he allows two things: for the viewer to truly experience life and for his works to play with the world. In a society so focused with the digital realm and control of the self, sculpture is an act of freedom. It presents the reality of the world and the trueness of the human self. The viewer and the object become one. In the reflection of the sculpture, we are able to see the world through our own senses. Every pair of eyes sees something different in Bloeck’s sculptures, yet the fact that we are all the same, makes the artist consider his own art as an illusion.
His subject matter originates in an abstract concept that comes from within himself. Humans start with tabula rasa. Then, more experiences and feelings are acquired, which eventually lead to the need to make something out of them. The more he experiences life, the more he sees himself into his works. His artmaking process and his final pieces change with himself, whether in a more subtle or direct manner. Small things are always taken into consideration as they have an important effect on himself and therefore on his art. The idea of mental cleanness is important. How we perceive things constitute the food that we give to our minds. A good nutrition provides for a clean life. His idea of life transcends in the relationship between himself, the viewer and his sculptures. It supports human connections as being simpler than we make them. When it feels natural to create, he simply allows himself to shape art pieces. He transmits his emotions through his art, therefore he makes sure that his artistic message is simple and clear. In the relationship with his own body, the outcome was that his forms gained more volume and more heaviness. He believes that mediums come to the artists. As he is feeling heaviness, his displayed works play with black ink, clay and bronze.
His inspiration comes from life as both a general and abstract concept. Ideas from philosophy and different religions have shaped him into a worshiper of love. He believes that our primal instincts are rooted in love. This allows humans to develop even more love for all sorts of creations, as well as acceptance for different forms. Of course, steps have to be taken for us to achieve that state of love. A very important step is to come in contact with our Higher selves – a step which Bloeck tries to help us with, through his sculptures. Yet, a constant balance has to be created within us. Too many negative things in our hearts could destroy us, but acceptance is what will pave the way for love. All parts of the world and of one’s self have to be accepted in order to be able to love. Love is our only chance – therefore it has to be present in both our good and bad features.
Lastly, he wants to use his art to make the world a better place. When looking at his sculptures, the viewer’s eyes are opened towards his or her own self. His art only helps us to bring out the knowledge that we already have about ourselves. It makes make us remember who we really are and therefore it allows us to improve our way of living. The viewer is his or own teacher and Bloeck’s works are just a guide. He believes in the viewer more than he believes in the artist.