Today We Reboot the Planet is young Argentine artist Adrian Villar Rojas’s first U.K. exhibition. His large-scale clay sculptures are on view at London’s new Serpentine Sackler Gallery.

Adrián Villar Rojas, Studio, London, 2013. Image courtesy Serpentine Gallery © Jamie Smith

Rojas’s fossil-like characters are intentionally doomed to deterioration--the clay is never fired in a kiln, and surface cracks are forming already. Soon, they’ll crumble and return to dust.

Adrián Villar Rojas. Installation view, Today We Reboot the Planet. Serpentine Sackler Gallery, London. (28 September - 10 November 2013) © 2013 Jörg Baumann

Referencing legends both ancient and modern, from Michelangelo’s David to Nirvana’s Kurt, Rojas’s work comments on the nature of time, the apocalypse, and humanity’s role in the future of our planet.

Adrián Villar Rojas. Installation view, Today We Reboot the Planet. Serpentine Sackler Gallery, London. (28 September - 10 November 2013) © 2013 Jörg Baumann

Along with inspirations such as science fiction, quantum mechanics, and comic books, Rojas cites Kurt Cobain as a huge personal influence, and couldn’t imagine excluding him from his attempt to fossilize human culture.

Adrián Villar Rojas. Installation view, Today We Reboot the Planet. Serpentine Sackler Gallery, London. (28 September - 10 November 2013) © 2013 Jörg Baumann

The imaginative and imposing pieces in Today We Reboot the Planet test the limits of the ancient medium of clay.

Adrián Villar Rojas. Installation view, Today We Reboot the Planet. Serpentine Sackler Gallery, London. (28 September - 10 November 2013) © 2013 Jörg Baumann

Upon entering the exhibit, visitors are greeted with a massive clay elephant's behind.

Adrián Villar Rojas. Installation view, Today We Reboot the Planet. Serpentine Sackler Gallery, London. (28 September - 10 November 2013) © 2013 Jörg Baumann

Rojas's rendition of Kurt Cobain's fossilized body is adorned with empty water bottles.

Adrián Villar Rojas, Studio, London, 2013
Image courtesy Serpentine Gallery © Jamie Smith

A head of Jesus in a crown of thorns seems to melt into the ground.

Adrián Villar Rojas, Studio, London, 2013. Image courtesy Serpentine Gallery © Jamie Smith

Kittens kiss at the feet of Rojas's rendition of Michelangelo's David.

Adrián Villar Rojas, Studio, London, 2013. Image courtesy Serpentine Gallery © Jamie Smith

My Dead Family, a work from 2009, featured a 28-meter sculpture of a whale stranded in a forest.

Adrián Villar Rojas
Mi familia muerta (My dead family), 2009
Site specific sculpture
Wood, rocks and clay
300 x 2700 x 400 cm
Ushuaia´s End of The World Biennale 2nd Edition, Argentina
Cortesy the artist and kurimanzutto
Photo credits: Carla Barbero, Kayne Di Pilato
© Adrián Villar Rojas

Living fast and dying young, the fact that these sculptures soon crumble somehow makes them seem all the more vital.

Adrián Villar Rojas. Poemas para terrestres (Poems for Earthlings), 2011. Site specific sculpture. Clay (unfired), cement, burlap, metal, wood. 9000 cm long, widest diameter 400 cm, smaller diameter 40 cm. Jardin des Tuileries, Paris. Courtesy the artist and SAM Art Projects, Paris. Photo credits: Marc Domage. © Adrián Villar Rojas

Co.Design

Surreal Clay Sculptures Live Fast, Die Young

Fossil-like characters by Adrián Villar Rojas, referencing everything from Michelangelo's David to Nirvana's Kurt, are designed for destruction.

A mummified Kurt Cobain, an angel kissing a rabbit, and a mouse hugging a hiking boot: These are a few subjects of Today We Reboot the Planet, an exhibition of large-scale clay sculptures by Adrián Villar Rojas, on view September 28 at London’s new Serpentine Sackler Gallery.

Upon entering the exhibition—the young Argentine artist's first in the U.K.—visitors are mooned by a massive clay elephant in downward-dog pose. There’s also a howling monkey with intestinal problems, a collection of shark eggs, various cephelopods, and kissing kittens, modeled after a kitschy knickknack from Rojas’s Buenos Aires apartment. The scene resembles ancient ruins or a post-apocalyptic saga. To make these pieces, Rojas collaborated with a close-knit, nomadic team of builders, sculptors, and engineers in a vast London workshop.

His fossil-like characters are intentionally doomed to deterioration—the clay is never fired in a kiln, and surface cracks are forming already. Soon, they’ll crumble and return to dust. Referencing legends both ancient and modern, from Michelangelo’s David to Nirvana’s Kurt, Rojas’s work comments on the nature of time, the apocalypse, and humanity’s role in the future of our planet. Along with inspirations such as science fiction, quantum mechanics, and comic books, he cites Kurt Cobain as a huge personal influence, and couldn’t imagine excluding him from his attempt to fossilize human culture. Empty water bottles adorn the surreal beige-gray rendition of the rock star’s corpse.

Rojas’s past works include My Dead Family, a 28-meter long sculpture of a whale stranded in a forest, and Before My Birth, eight sculptures installed on the plaza of the World Financial Center, in which apples were embedded in clay and degraded over the exhibit’s duration.

The imaginative and imposing pieces in Today We Reboot the Planet test the limits of the ancient medium of clay. Living fast and dying young, the fact that they’ll soon crumble somehow makes them seem all the more vital.

Today We Reboot the Planet is on view at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery until November 10, 2013.

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