Born in Uruapan, Michoacan, Mexico, sculptor Jorge Marin likens his childhood to growing up in Macondo, the fictional town setting in the Gabriel García Márquez novel, One Hundred Years of Solitude. Which illustrates his artistic (and mythic) view of the world around him.
Marin was born in one of the most avocado-prolific regions in Mexico. Uruapan claims the title of “Avocado Capital of the World”, thanks to its six different packing facilities. Avocados from Uruapan ship to the United States, Central America, Europe and Japan. And that makes avocados a major industry in the region. As you can imagine, Jorge Marin’s life could have turned out much differently. But art called him. And he answered. Gracias, Dios.
The Wings of Mexico
Jorge Marin’s work, primarily in bronze, focuses on the human figure – often with wings – as a metaphor for his own life experiences.
His work ranges from miniature to monumental and some of his most recognizable work includes his oversized wings. Appropriately, the Collection is called The Wings of Mexico and they have been exhibited and installed around the world. Museums, airports and public parks from Shanghai to Dubai, from Berlin to Paris have hosted the wings.
The original Wings are on permanent display near the Paseo de la Reforma, Mexico City’s most historic avenue. Also, eight replicas of The Wings of Mexico live permanently in eight cities on five continents across the world. These wings invite the public to become part of the art as they picture themselves … with wings.
Above, Jorge Marin poses with a Wings of Mexico installation in California. As well as globally, the wings have landed many US cities including Dallas and Colorado. And Marin’s popularity has exploded in the past decade. But in Mexico, he’s always been an icon and favorite son.
Icarus of Greek Mythology in Jorge Marin’s work
Some pieces, such as the one above, immediately bring to mind Icarus. If you recall, in Greek Mythology, Icarus flew with wings made of feathers and wax. But they melted as he flew too close to the sun and he fell into the sea. He was warned. But he didn’t pay attention. There’s a note of caution in there for all of us, isn’t there? But there’s a note of optimism also. These feathers are held on with straps – not wax. A message? You see why I like this Jorge Marin.
The ever-present beak on his subjects suggests the Carnival in Venice to me, with those wonderful masks. But not all of Jorge Marin’s sculptures have wings. And many that don’t are engaged in tranquil exercise or an elegant balancing act. And often, a sphere is the base.
The Centaur is another of Jorge Marin’s favored subjects. Although not as common in his work, these half-horse, half-man creatures are again mythical. And again from Greek mythology.
But the Wings are the Thing
Much of Mexico’s best art is on public display. And you’ll find Jorge Marin’s sculptures in many cities, towns and airports around Mexico. And for that matter, around the world. Note the old aviator cap on this one. The cap is a recurring accessory. And his large impressive public pieces often sport one.
Such emotional work – this is one of my favorites. Titled, “El Abrazo Monumental” – The Monumental Hug.
Aerobatics in Bronze by Jorge Marin
Many of his characters are acrobats – and characters they are, indeed. And once again, he uses the aviator cap.
Jorge Marin produces more miniature sculptures now, suitable for more private collections (we don’t all have garden estates). But rest assured that he has not forsaken the colossal.
Below, ‘El Vigilante’ (The Vigilant) – guards over the entrance of Ecatepec, Morelos (just outside Mexico City). This one is minus the aviator cap. And he towers 25 meters ( 82 feet) over the entrance of the city.
You’d best behave in Ecatapec – El Vigilante watches over the city.
Another of his winged, crouching men on spheres (that I’ve always viewed as the earth).
And below, a Pegasus. Greek mythology seems to be his forte. Personally, I’ve always had a hard time choosing between Greek and Roman – but I guess I should pick one.
Airport Art featuring Jorge Marin
Jorge Marin’s sculptures are instantly recognizable. And if you’re a traveling type, you’ll notice him in airports and public spaces around the world, now that you know who he is.
Keep your eyes open. Jorge Marin’s work will be both indoors and outdoors in airports you travel through. Airports have a great deal of incredible art, overall, don’t they? Maybe we need to do an airport art post, there are so many incredible installations.
Where is your favorite airport art? Tell us in the comments and we’ll have a look.
Some of Jorge Marin’s pieces (like the one above) are almost whimsical. But his classic, instantly recognizable pieces almost always feature wings and the Venetian mask nose.
Birdman and Jorge Marin?
I’ve often wondered if Birdman, the award-winning 2014 film, starring Micheal Keaton, was in part, inspired by Jorge Marin’s work. And know that if I ever get to meet Iñárritu (the Mexican director), I’ll ask and report back. Bur seriously, don’t hold your breath on that one.
The governments of Mexico have always been progressive in identifying and supporting emerging artists, such as Jorge (and his brother, Javier) Marin, Sergio Bustamante and many others. In addition to government promotion for individual artists, they also sponsor many events. And many emerging artists are discovered at ‘Zona Maco’ – the largest public art week of its kind in Latin America. Naturally, it is held in Mexico City every year.
Mexico has some incredible artists and we delight in the knowledge that Jorge Marin is in the global spotlight today. His incredibly fascinating bronze sculptures are exhibited in museums and public spaces around the world, including France, Spain, Portugal, Germany, England, Russia, Norway, Turkey, Singapore, China, theUnited Arab Emirates, the United States and Canada.
Not bad for the kid from Uruapan.