[March 13 2015]
“This show is all about how you deal with death, and how that process changes you. Instead of being afraid, it’s about accepting the unavoidable and in turn facing life in a completely different way.” For Martin Soto Climent’s third show at Clifton Benevento in New York, the Mexico City-based artist presents The Contemporary Comedy: Glossy Mist, a multi-disciplinary exhibition, which explores the concept of our inevitable mortality. Soto Climent delves into the existential dilemma and communicates his ensuing metaphysical journey using the work of eight different artists: João Carvalho, Felix Manz, Iris Shady, Tashiro Tsuramoto, Lola Lago, John Brown, and Martín Soto. To further expound on the notion of reality, the artists chosen may or may not be purely fabricated. We spoke with Soto Climent at the show’s opening and weighed in on the morbid fascination behind the presentation and its implications. The exhibition runs until the April 11th at Clifton Benevento, 515 Broadway in New York.
Paige Silveria – What’s the ideal way of dealing with death?
Martin Soto Climent – Accept it as something that is purely part of nature and realize that it can happen at any time. It’s a constant presence for me. I’ve been in situations recently where I almost died and it changed my life. I realized how easily and quickly you can cross the line.
Paige Silveria – It sounds liberating in a way.
Martin Soto Climent – Yeah, for me it was. In Mexico, death is really present all of the time in graphic, symbolic and real ways. Now especially, there are so many killings. And it’s crazy. But death is more of an element that balances life; I think it’s very important to have it present all the time.
Paige Silveria – How so?
Martin Soto Climent – For instance, Zurich is a place that extremely contrasts with Mexico City; nothing relating to death appears there in public. You never see anything old, damaged or dirty. There are old people walking the streets, but there are no miserable people fighting to survive whom you can see in New York or Mexico City. When people get too old, they’re put in clinics and hospitals. Everything is so pristine and perfect. My perception is that it is intentional because there is this prevalent notion there that death is bad. People just don’t think about it. Nobody is educated or prepared to deal with the loss of somebody that they love. It shouldn’t necessarily be seen that way.
Paige Silveria – Death is neither good nor bad, just a natural occurrence. Martin Soto Climent – It’s a natural consequence of life. We somehow assume that we are a part of a bigger scale. But death is important for the whole system. Seeing it that way takes a lot of weight from our shoulders. We should just let it come and go.
Paige Silveria – It’s so cyclical, our bodies returning to the Earth. Whatever it is that we call our souls must be recycled in some way as well.
Martin Soto Climent – The fact that we arrive at these ideas is what makes us so special from other animals. We’re conscious of time and that we will die. Because of this we ceased to behave like other animals. It’s a very special thing. But the conception of death has changed totally over time. So many different cultures deal with it by suppressing it.
Paige Silveria – What are the consequences of this?
Martin Soto Climent – We’ve become a society completely focused on promises of the future–what you’re supposed to be or what you can get. We’re doing things in order to enrich specifically the future. But that future is a totally imaginary thing. It’s a fiction.
Paige Silveria – We should be slowing down and enjoying each moment at hand?
Martin Soto Climent – Yes, live in the moment. When you realize that everything can be gone, at any second, then the present becomes so precious. It’s like drops of time, the most precious substance. You can never replace it. You shouldn’t sacrifice yourself for things. But of course, society would be completely different. Nobody would work.
Interview and photo Paige Silveria