For the 2006 installation entitled Wall Work (Drill Work), Ricardo Rendón repeatedly drilled holes into a drywall, until its internal structure became almost perfectly visible. In more recent works, as is well known by those who follow the work of the Mexican artist, the holes have become a sort of trademark of his, an eminently "copyrighted" intervention, and thus immediately, and appropriately so, recognizable, just as Edward Krasinski's blue ribbon or, in another context, the bottles of Giorgio Morandi. It may be useful to recapture a work such as a Wall Work (Drill Work) - one of those which initiated Rendón's modus operandi - since those first experiences in which the relationship with the world of construction, and more specifically with the fruit of manual labor, is more explicit and straightforward, and allows for a better understanding of later developments.
In texts and statements about his work, the artist has emphasized precisely that relationship with the manual aspect, of which he recognizes both the practical side as well as a philosophical value: "It seems to me that the execution of the work constitutes a moment of profound personal reflection, an instant of concentration". That is why it becomes so important, in the economics of the labor and for its correct understanding, the constant presence of the trail of the artist's performance, such as surplus materials, the sawdust and the drilling powder left accumulated on the ground.
Thus it seems possible to state that the act of drilling into the wall, or any other surface, was chosen by Rendón as a primary strategy because it allows a "through" view. It is not just about seeing beyond the foreground, but also about "seeing" the thickness of that plan, recognizing for example on the white wall, the result of a physical labor, with its accumulation of effort and knowledge, and not just the conventional white wall of the art gallery, an abstract concept in the background and therefore, paradoxically, almost intangible.
The analysis of another work of the past decade, Puerta Cerrada (2007), confirms the interpretation that what drives the practice of Rendón is a constant effort to discover and uncover conflicts of social nature, pointing to the idiosyncratic relationship between that which blocks the view and that which should allow the through view. In this case, the artist built in Mexico Park, in Mexico City, a brick cube the size of a room or a small house, with no opening, but with the drawing of the outline of a door and three windows, precisely suggesting the potentiality (or need) to drill into the structure.
From these considerations, it is possible to read into the works currently exhibited at Zipper Gallery and see a new twist in the path of Ricardo Rendón. Against the backdrop of a social vision that remains very clear in the way that the act of physical labor is understood, the artist seems to once again emphasize the sculptural value of his production. Evidently, the works of Rendón never ceased to be properly sculptural, and thus occupying, in an inescapable way, the exhibition space. But what we see here is a clear concern with specific aspects of the sculpture, notably the treatment of weight, or the way in which the weight of each piece is not an accessory but rather central to the creation of the work. By suspending wooden and stone slab fragments, Rendón brings these questions to light, while suggesting a dialogue with references to the recent history of Western sculpture, such as the series Gravitaciones by Eduardo Chillida, among other possible references, thus justifying his claim for a central role for sculpture in the contemporary art scene.
Jacopo Crivelli Visconti