Goodman Gallery is pleased to present Make Do and Mend, an exhibition of new work by Mateo López—the acclaimed Colombian artist's first London solo exhibition in a decade.
For the artist, the message 'Make Do and Mend' speaks to how 'we must shrink for the future good: slow down, take care of each other, reflect on consumer practices. This message was commonly used during WWII—a period also defined by fear and control. Make Do and Mend speaks metaphorically to questions of transforming and mending ourselves and society'.
Make Do and Mend brings into focus López's interest in art as a means of engaging with questions of repair, defined by his ongoing search to build and shape a different future—a process which unfolds into diverse references from Latin American art, architecture, design and education.
López's practice is anchored in drawing and often expands to incorporate other mediums. For this exhibition of collage, sculpture and film, López worked with local carpenters, welders, weavers and a seamstress, transforming the artist's studio into a lively work community at a time when lockdown measures in Bogota have threatened to restrict these collaborations.
The collage works, which make up the majority of the exhibition, form part of the ongoing series The waste of my time in which López repurposes unused materials in his studio. The latest works in this series were made in the artist's New York studio just before lockdown, using cardboard, acrylic paint and grommet.
López draws inspiration from an anecdote on Josef Albers at Bauhaus Preliminary Class in 1923, which encapsulates his playful and paired down approach. As told by López: 'Albers entered the classroom with a bundle of newspaper under his arm. "Ladies and gentleman", he said, "we are poor and not rich. We cannot afford to waste materials or time. Every piece of work has a starting material, and therefore we must examine the nature of this material. I would like you to take these newspapers in hand and make something more out of them than what they are at present. If you can do so without any accessories, such as cutters, scissors or glue, all the better.'"
For the artist, 'this pandemic has revealed that we have taken a lot for granted. We are not here to rule and we cannot control life. We inhabit constant cycles of change—as social beings our actions have direct impact. With this in mind, I find myself asking how to approach my practice on the potential to transform, to mend, to heal. I believe that art is not static—that it has the power to activate necessarily dialogue and that our body is always present (an Experience).'
Press release courtesy Goodman Gallery.