I realized I could fossilize whatever I wanted, and thus I could work with time’
Adrián Villar Rojas, 2013
The Argentine-born Adrián Villar Rojas, whose celebrated solo exhibition Today We Reboot the Planet inaugurated the new Serpentine Sackler Gallery in 2013, has received huge acclaim for his distinctive sculptural practice, using the organic medium of unfired clay mixed with concrete to create contemporary ‘fossils’ that reflect the abundance of natural and human creation, as well as its potential future demise. The London exhibition was in part a reference to, and a re-thinking of, his pivotal exhibition, Lo que el fuego me trajo (What fire has brought me), in 2008.
Untitled, from the series What fire has brought to me, 2008- 2011, presents Villar Rojas’ unique vision of the contemporary world seen through the prism of what appears to be a precious archaeological find. The objects were carefully chosen by the artist, out of the many created for the Buenos Aires exhibition, to be re-imagined as a series of carefully preserved objects. In line with the artist’s site-specific practice, most of the original installation was destroyed following the show; Untitled, from the series What fire has brought to me was recreated in unfired clay for the present owner, and is the first to be presented at auction.
In Untitled, from the series What fire has brought to me, the viewer is confronted with the imagined relics of past, present and future worlds, the disparate objects generating a poignant dialogue between decay and preservation. Created in 2011, this work coincided with the artist’s participation in the 2011 Venice Biennale. Representing Argentina that year, Villar Rojas created a monumental installation made of clay and concrete, and following this made similarly impressive site-specific projects, including those for dOCUMENTA (13) in Kassel, Germany and PS1MoMA, New York. However, his small-scale sculptural work remains integral to the artist’s practice, creating a poetic and delicate narrative that weaves throughout his work.