Adrian Villar Rojas’ Contemporary Pompeii


From a life-sized whale beached in a forest in Patagonia, to the mummified corpse of Kurt Cobain, the Argentinian artist Adrian Villar Rojas is world-renowned for his monumental clay and multimedia sculptures. His immersive installation entitled “Los Teatros de Saturno”, transformed the exhibition’s space into an unwieldy wasteland to depict his preoccupation for ecology, time and decay.

With a unique flair, the exhibition held at Kurimanzutto Gallery in Mexico City in 2015, displayed pieces of clay, pottery, concrete sculptures, sprouting plants and organic material that consumed the entire space. In order to create this new scenery, over the course of three days, teams of assistants unloaded four trucks of dirt to create a foundation which transformed not only the landscape, but also the gallery’s texture, smells and eco. Just like a contemporary Pompeii, running shoes, organic matter and the artist’s painted ceramic forms collided in “Los Teatros de Saturno”. In this exhibition, the objects were metaphorically growing from the ground, reflecting the artist’s concerns with environmental policy and human decadence.

This installation was inspired by Villar’s previous editorial publication entitled Today We Reboot the Planet. Influenced by a sense of loss and the vanishing state of humanity, this project focuses on the fragility of the world’s ecology and the human’s impact over the natural resources. The apocalyptic setting in “Los Teatros de Saturno” praised organic materials and reverted to the feeling of a simpler, more primitive time.

The unrepeatable character of the installation discloses the artist’s disregard to his own artworks. According to Villar Rojas, there is an overproduction of contemporary art and hence should be ephemeral. The set of four sculptures recently acquired by the Adrastus Collection becomes vestiges of the irreplaceable exhibition.

Villar Rojas is best known for his recent projects at dOCUMENTA(13) in Kassel, Germany; for the Argentinian Pavilion at the 54th Venice Art Biennale; the monumental installation in the Jardin Tuileries in Paris, and MoMA PS1 in New York, among other exhibitions.