All the works that make up this exhibition, save one, have similar features. They are landscapes of industrial architecture, most viewed from above, in which we can see no human, no living creature of any kind. Curiously, the one work that does not fit the pattern here is of two soldiers wearing gas masks and carrying something like a missile or tank spewing some sort of gas. The works are drawings, though they don’t look like it, and that they are done with an indelible-ink marker and highly diluted acrylic. This fact, which might pass for a simple technical note, is in fact a distinctive characteristic of the work of Gamaliel Rodríguez: All his drawings, no matter what the technique, have the look of an engraving or a photograph. His work is the result of impeccable virtuosity.
Two themes—war or the armed forces, and industrial structures, many in flames—have been central in Rodríguez’ work. These themes are intimately connected: both military and industrial powers seek, in principle, our defense and well-being, yet both can, paradoxically, be the cause of our destruction.
The manual labor—work that is almost artisanal, anachronistic, in the eyes of technology—seen in these extraordinary drawings is, per se, a response to the overwhelming flood of images in our media. Copying and reinventing industry and the instruments of power, line by line, is an exercise that invites us to meditate upon the colossal structure of domination. These abandoned, empty architectures are the new monsters, sprung from the dreams of reason, glimpsed by Goya in the eighteenth century.
Juan Carlos López Quintero