Eduardo Olbés | Bio
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EDUARDO OLBÉS

“Beauty, with its multiple hooks and titillating bait, plucks me out of the mud like a ripe catfish.”

SOLO SHOWS

  • Bululs and other oddities, SilverLens Gallery, Manila, 2016
  • Sabor a Ming, Ayala Museum, Manila, 2015
  • Sticks & Stones El Leñero, Atlixco, Puebla, 2014
  • Cuerpos celestes Aeropuerto Internacional de la Ciudad de México, 2013
  • Evocación Ming Museo de Artes Decoorativas Franz Mayer, Ciudad de México, 2012
  • A farwell to arms (invited by Alianza Cívica/WOLA) Museo Memoria y Tolerancia, Ciudad de México, 2011
  • Narco y las ecuaciones económicas perversas Museo del Chopo, Ciudad de México, 2010
  • Ángeles y diablos Jardin Borda, Instituto de Cultura De Morelos, Cuernavaca 2009
  • Obra reciente Galería BAJO EL BALCÓN – Tepoztlán, Morelos, 2008
  • Anitos Arturo Luz Gallery Manila, Filipinas, 1996
  • Esculturas de piedra y agua Galería KIN Ciudad de México, 1994
  • Tallar una emoción, pulir un placer Exconvento de Tepoztlán through Galería de Arte Sandra Azcarraga, 1993
  • Obsidian pieces Eye International Gallery, Los Angeles, Ca, 1992
  • Beached turtles Raleigh Film Studios, Los Angeles, Ca, 1991
  • Jewelry Galería OMR, México 1984 (Jewelry)
  • Jewelry and small sculpture in stone Centro Teotihuacan, México, 1981
  • 8 figurative wood sculptures Galería Argentum, México, 1979

COLLECTIVE SHOWS

  • 100 Sillas Mexicanas, Museo Franz Mayer, Ciudad de México, 2016
  • Fog Design & Art San Francisco, Galería ADN, 2016
  • Miami Art Basel Design Curio, Galería ADN, 2015
  • Collective Design, Galería ADN, New York, 2015
  • Manila Art Fair, SilverLens Gallery, 2015
  • Anahuacalli, Ciudad de México, 2011
  • Bienal Arte/Artesano Museo De Arte Popular Ciudad de México, 2011
  • Galería Kin, Ciudad de México, 1995
  • Festival Cultural de Tepoztlán, 1995
  • Jannsen Perez Gallery, Los Angeles, Ca, 1992
  • Galería La Casona, Ciudad de México, 1991
  • Eye International Gallery, Los Angeles, Ca, 1991
  • Francine Ellman Gallery, Los Angeles, Ca, 1991
  • Daniel Saxon Gallery, Los Angeles, Ca, 1991
  • Centro México-Japón, Ciudad de México, 1989
  • Galería OMR, Ciudad de México, 1987
  • Gallery Of Primitive Art – New York City, 1985
  • Trienal De Escultura Ciudad de México, 1980
  • Torres Joyeros – Barcelona, Spain, 1978

Eduardo Olbés is a contemporary sculptor born in the Philippines in 1951. He arrived in Mexico at age 24, after graduating from college in the United States with a double major in sculpture and psychology: he would divide his time between the state mental hospital in Vermont and the carving workshop. The Philippines was then under an infamous dictator, and going back home was not an option. In Mexico, Olbés worked as a paramedic in the social medicine program of Dr. Carlos Biro in the slums of the capital; he then taught wood carving at the legendary EDA, the now extinct school of art and design in Mexico City. He studied wood, stone and metal techniques under master falsifier Arturo Ramos. The work of Raúl Valdivieso, a chilean sculptor, had opened his eyes to sculpture years before, and working as an apprentice to cabinet maker Mario Viel in Manila he had learned the rigors of technical discipline.

The encounter with Mexico marks a decisive moment for Olbés: the enormous variety of native wood and stone and the possibility of working freely settles both the artist’s vocation and his identification with the country and its people. In 1978 he establishes his workshop in Tepoztlán, Morelos.

Olbés’ work is informed by the aesthetic traditions of his native Asia, but his study of the expressions of other cultures, from the ancient Venus figures to Mesoamérica, nurtures a dialogue with the past in which there is often an element of humor. Materials are of the utmost importance: as opposed to the medium which has been superseded by the idea, the creative process in his case places materials at the inception of the concept: Olbés fetishizes his materials, and exploits not only their physical properties but also their cultural and historical implications. In 2012 the Franz Mayer Museum of decorative arts in Mexico City gave his series Evocación Ming a solo show, an honor rarely given to a living designer.

“I believe beauty is still a worthwhile path for a contemporary artist. There is a relaxation, a kind of exhalation, when you see something beautiful. That is all I am looking for. A direct effect.”

The series “Narco y las ecuaciones económicas perversas” decry the terrible consequences for Mexico of the current policy on drugs as a security and not a health concern opened at the Museo del Chopo in 2011. Other recent shows include Bululs and other oddities, with SilverLens Gallery, Manila, 2016, 100 Sillas Mexicanas, Museo Franz Mayer, Ciudad de México, 2016, Bienal Arte/Artesano Museo De Arte Popular Ciudad de México, 2011.