Hosted by: CCCA Laznia
London, UK and USA
Oswaldo Maciá was born in the Caribbean city of Cartagena de Indias, Colombia. He lives and works in the UK and USA.
In 1976 he attended the School of Fine Arts in Cartagena at the age of 16, graduating in 1980. In 1982 he moved to the capital Bogotá to study advertising at Jorge Tadeo Lozano University, and left after five semesters to become a full-time artist. Maciá taught Fine Art at Jorge Tadeo Lozano University from 1985 before moving to Barcelona in 1989, where he studied Mural Painting at Llotja School of Fine Art.In 1990 Maciá moved to London, where he continues to run a studio. He studied BA in Sculpture between 1990 and 1993 at Guildhall University followed in 1994 by Masters in Fine Art at Goldsmiths College, University of London. In the 1990s his work featured in solo exhibitions in London venues at the forefront of defining installation art, including the Museum of Installation and Clove Gallery, and group exhibitions such as Ideal Standard Summertime at Lisson Gallery.
Maciá creates olfactory-acoustic sculptures that have been exhibited all over the world. His work is held in international collections, including Tate Britain and Daros Latinamerica. His sculptures have been included in numerous large-scale periodic exhibitions and solo presentations across four continents. As he states in his manifesto, Maciá seeks to stimulate questions and counter received opinion. In 2015 Maciá won a major public commission for the city of Bogotá selected by an international jury. Scenario in Construction is the first public sound sculpture of in the southern hemisphere.
The sense of smell features in many of Maciá’s sculptures. In 2018 he was commissioned by the first Riga Biennial to create An Opera of Cross-pollination, a room-sized olfactory-acoustic sculpture that positions the audience at the frontier where knowledge ends and ignorance begins. According to Maciá, this is the place where the senses begin to speak. In a yellow room, volumes of insect sounds gathered from the rainforest in Choco, Colombia combine with the sounds of metal fences and the scent of cross-pollination. In 2018 Maciá won the Golden Pear at the fifth annual Art and Olfaction Awards in London for his experimental work with scent. He was awarded the Prize for the presentation of Under the Horizon (2011/17) at Sala San Antonio Abad – Centro Atlántico de Arte Moderno Gran Canarias España. The smell composition of Under the Horizon draws from the scent of organisms growing under the earth, while employing sculptural conventions and narrative expectations. A plinth elevates a bath to eye level where the taps are constantly running unchecked, filling the tub with a black liquid holding the scent of ‘under’, accompanied by the sounds of cloth being stitched by machines, mixed with the sound of artificial rain. These recordings were made by the artist in a large Bulgarian factory, manufacturing military uniforms for different wars on our planet.
Sound too is important in his work. Something Going on Above My Head (1995-99), an installation comprising sixteen speakers playing a symphony of two thousand birdcalls from Africa, the Americas, Asia and Europe, has been exhibited in nine countries – most recently at Tate Britain (2016) in London. Surrounded in Tears (2004) has been exhibited in many museums, including Tate Liverpool (2004) and the Bienal de Cuenca, Ecuador (2011) where Maciá was awarded the first prize. Comprising twenty-two megaphones, each dedicated to a different sound channel, this sculpture is a symphony of one hundred human crying sounds sampled from different cultures and periods. Researching the sounds of tears for two years, the artist consulted recordings and references from a number of collections including ethnographic sound archives across Europe, the Freud Museum in London, the archives of the radio channel Caracol in Colombia, and he gathered the sounds of new born babies from the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, London. At Manifesta 9 in Belgium (2012) Maciá presented Martinete (2011-2012), an olfactory-acoustic sculpture he began researching for the 2011 Porto Alegre Biennial in Brazil.
“It is clear for me as an artist that my work cannot solve social and political problems. I can only create spaces for thoughts and raise new questions with the simple intention of reaching new answers. I am interested in expanding the sense of sculpture into acoustic volumes. Maybe this can change perception and encourage us to think more globally in an echo of the intricate migratory winds that embrace our planet. I want to affirm the importance of insects and their symbiosis with plants for human existence and for the environment generally. If the world follows its current trajectory, cross-pollination, in both intellectual and biological terms, may soon disappear, with catastrophic consequences.”
#SMELLS #SOUNDRECORDING #SCULPTURE