For his first solo show in Europe, artist Gabriel de la Mora scoured the printing presses and flea markets of his native Mexico City. He then transformed his ‘finds’ into 11 works that go on show at today at London’s Timothy Taylor Gallery.
From a distance, they look like abstract painted canvases but closer inspection reveals them to be collages. Some are made from rubber blankets salvaged from old printers and stained with traces of black, cyan, magenta and yellow ink. Others are made from aluminum plates, salvaged from the same printers and sliced meticulously into graphic segments. A final work is made from antique stereoscopic glass slides that have been cut into the gallery walls.
De la Mora was an architect before switching to art 20 years ago. He works with functional materials that are almost obsolete, ‘at the point where they’re really close to being trash. I like to see them change from being the end of one thing to becoming the beginning of another.’
The printers in question date as far back as the 1920s, and in the past de la Mora has gathered up worn soles of shoes, human hair, matchboxes and eggshells (one such work features 11,640 pieces of white shell). Everything is pieced together by assistants and forensically filed away in his studio in Mexico City. Timothy Taylor, who first met De La Mora at Mexico’s Zona Maco art fair explains: 'Gabriel is an artist with an extraordinary approach to transforming the broken and discarded and the Duchampian idea of the "ready-made." These works are at once paintings and sculptures, made from collected materials that have a documented history of their own. Formally they relate to his work as an architect, so as objects they are exquisitely made.'