Rómulo Celdrán Makes the Mundane Interesting

Between Claes Oldenburg’s monumental shuttlecocks, Robert Therrien’s huge folding chairs, and Jeff Koons’ giant balloon animals, leading contemporary artists have proven that recreating everyday objects on a grand scale makes for compelling art. Rómulo Celdrán and his hyperrealistic bottle caps, ice cube trays, and hot water bottles join these illustrious ranks this week, with the Spanish artist’s first solo show in the United States, at Hasted Kraeutler.

Celdrán cites “the world of objects” as his main inspiration, and recognizes canonical works by Oldenburg as key referents. He’s careful to set himself apart though; in his words, “I tried to create my own vision of reality, based on one hand on a personal collection of objects and on the other, on a meticulously realistic analysis of those fragments of reality, as a contrast to Oldenburg’s ‘pop’ proposal.” Celdrán beckons the viewer to notice details that would otherwise go unseen in both series on view—“Macro,” large-scale sculptures, and “Zoom,” two-dimensional works—which are complementary in their shared focus on household items, calculated creation processes, and a microscopic vision of objects.

While Celdrán’s subjects have been described as “common and mundane,” his works are anything but. His pencil-and-acrylic “Zoom” series distills light bulbs, orange slices, and pencil shavings to black-and-white compositions, with such incredible detail that the naked eye has a hard time detecting whether each is a photograph or not. His sculptures are similarly painstaking; a polychromed cardboard ice cube tray is conscientiously adorned with water droplets; a polyurethane hot water bottle slouches perfectly against a wall; and a row of pink and blue clothespins are clamped together suggesting actual functionality. The entire “Macro” series, each with the artist’s “Romcel” logo incorporated perfectly, could easily fool a small child into thinking they've been transported into a giant world, or miniaturized in this one.

Rómulo Celdrán” is on view at Hasted Kraeutler, New York, Feb. 13th–April 12th, 2014.                

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