“I don’t ever want to feel like a prisoner of my own ideas”

- Sergio Martinez

The story of Las Ratas

This diptych deals with the ephemeral, fear, balance and profound beauty. The two paintings are designed to be exhibited back to back, so the viewer can immerse himself  by literally looking at it from different perspectives.

The ephemeral is reached through the fleetingness of an instant, a brief slice in time by using an aerial acrobat in seemingly frozen suspension as a model. 

The factor of fear is evident: How disturbing could the feeling of fear and disgust be, while  rats are walking over your body, unable to do anything about it?  

Equilibrium is reached through a careful attempt at symmetry of a body in tension, achieving an almost impossible posture that requires tremendous physical control.

This fragile balance would be lost with any physical reaction towards the rats so it is only the mind that can fight back…

Beauty and elegance have always been present in Sergio’s work, this is how he reviews and investigates his own perception of beauty and ugliness, attraction and disgust.

Sergio explains: “With Las Ratas, I used the fear and disgust that rats have always provoked in me to question the nature of those feelings. 

In the current context, where we are ruled by “I like it”, “I don’t like it” or “it offends me”, I think it is essential to point out that the depth of profound beauty is only appreciable when it is contrasted with ugliness.

So ugliness must be accepted as part of our truth or else we will be building a false and superficial self image. 

I would like to believe that certain images might be able to help us understand what we reject and what we love.”

2021, oil on canvas, 200 x 180 cm

“It is essential to point out that the depth of profound beauty is only appreciable when it is contrasted with ugliness”

- Sergio Martinez

How it all began

Small skinny scrawny fingers are tingeling up her arm… something brushes against her ear and jaw – what was that?

A compromising position mixed with the perfect smile of a skilled performer.

Not exactly a regular day in the life of Sergio’s acrobatic model, but the day of the photoshoot this was her reality. Or rather, it was Sergio’s

magical world which she had entered to become its main character. 

The photoshoot that followed was challenging. Rats don’t really follow direction and they need to be kept interested and comfortable. 

Several months later, well into the progress of the painting, an unexpected and dramatic change was about to take place…

The Change of the ratS

It was a hot, sweltering summer night and Sergio gasped for air when he woke up from a restless sleep, bathing in sweat.  We will never know whether it was an epiphany or perhaps it was just a bad dream but one thing was certain: The rats had to go… Sergio, why??

“It might be better” was his clever reply when reasoning with him about this. With a cheeky smile on his face, he continues to say: “I don’t want to feel a prisoner of an idea that I had a year ago”. 

“During the proces in which you are in front of the work you interact with it, deepen the idea and realize that you can improve upon some things and in this case I believed that the new rats would help to understand the idea better”. 

To execute this new vision perfectly, Sergio ultimately decided to redo the whole shoot, together with the original crew…