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Enrique Martínez Celaya | UTA Artist Space

The Rose Garden, UTA Artist Space, Los Angeles, 2022. 

Photographed by Jeff McLane. Courtesy of UTA Artist Space. 

"UTA Artist Space and Unit London are pleased to announce a new immersive environment by the celebrated Los Angeles-based artist Enrique Martínez Celaya. The Rose Garden ambitiously brings together new paintings, sculptures, installations, photographs, garments, and writing, inviting viewers to consider the self—both its promise and its threat—through the mystical divination of memory.

What might have been and what has been

Point to one end, which is always present.

Footfalls echo in the memory

Down the passage which we did not take

Towards the door we never opened

Into the rose-garden. My words echo

Thus, in your mind.

T.S. Eliot, Burnt Norton (from Four Quartets) 

For over two decades, Martínez Celaya has explored the limitless connections between art, literature, philosophy, and science through his practice. In this new and multifaceted body of work, the artist uses T. S. Eliot’s Four Quartets as an entry point to exploring our collective memory—something broader, more permanent, and more irreparable than individual memory, and which belongs to us all. 

In this exhibition, as in past projects, Martínez Celaya again concerns himself with existential hunger, crisis, chaos, order, time, redemption, reality, and love—here tied together by the thread of Eliot’s words. As visitors enter UTA Artist Space’s main gallery, they will encounter Eliot’s poem written at their feet, and a series of large paintings depicting ice, sea, and fire, urging a meditation on the ever-changing, complicated nature of time and memory.

All three of UTA Artist Space’s galleries will be assumed by Martínez Celaya’s immersive environments, including a room of tears overlooked by a blood moon, photographs of gardens and bodies, a burnt figure on a seat of roses, a garment worn by love champions, and many other luminous chunks mined from life. Viewed collectively, these works and the artist’s concurrent solo exhibitions at Los Angeles museums—at The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens; USC Fisher Museum of Art; and Edward L. Doheny Jr. Memorial Library—remind us of the power art has to change our perceptions of the world and of our inner selves.

‘I have long-admired Enrique Martínez Celaya as an individual and an artist with great passion. He compellingly weaves grand philosophical ideas into his art and makes us see the world in new ways. UTA Artist Space and the city of Los Angeles are fortunate to have him,’ said Arthur Lewis, UTA Fine Arts and UTA Artist Space Creative Director. 

‘Enrique is one of those rare artists who is more than simply an artist. As an author, poet, philosopher, and former scientist, Enrique is a polymath and someone who has always deeply inspired me. The times we live in make the stark atmosphere of his work more poignant than ever, but the fantasy in it also offers a timely sense of hope and promise for the future. Unit London is proud to be presenting this body of work in Los Angeles with UTA and nods to the resonant universality of Enrique’s practice,’ said Jonny Burt, Unit London Co-Director.”

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