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Consecrated belatedly as one of the greatest self-taught master draftsmen of the 20th century, Martín Ramírez had a tragic destiny marked by the trials of migration, labor exploitation, cultural displacement and forced isolation : his work is a powerful testimony to this. In 1925, leaving his family behind, he entered the United States to work in the mines and in the construction of railways. A few years later, subject to mental disorders, he was hospitalised before being sentenced to involuntary confinement for the rest of his life.
Today, his body of work is the subject of numerous retrospective exhibitions in museums and an edition of Martín Ramírez Forever commemorative stamps, sponsored by the United States Postal Service and dedicated for the first time to a foreign artist. Both figurative and abstract, his obsessive production of hundreds of full-page drawings firmly bears the nostalgic traces of his roots, the meanders of his painful journey - transnational and introspective - or the vernacular elements of his native country, from the Madonna to the bandito, from forest animals to tunnels and trains.
As a continuation of the Fall-Winter 2020 collection, LEMAIRE has created a capsule wardrobe in light fabrics based on figurative and abstract drawings by Mexican artist Martín Ramírez [1895-1963]: Made up of unisex shirts, tops, skirts, dresses, jackets, a scarf and a bag, it is inspired by the clear-line illustrations, Madonna, Boat and Canal, Landscape, Horse and Rider 1 and 2, faithfully transposed to their original format. In an atmosphere of fawn tones, the printed motifs play hide and seek in imaginary topographies and the characters metamorphose to the rhythm of moving bodies.
Resonating with our present moment like no other, the work of Martín Ramírez reinterpreted by LEMAIRE matches the compelling need for freedom, reorientation and metamorphosis. Through the recurrent motifs, with clear and repeated lines, alternately sinuous and angular, defying the laws of perspective, the sophisticated assembly of created pieces unfolds in an atmosphere with warm tones of reverie for elsewhere and graphic escapism.
Shot in September 2020 at the Ricco/Maresca in New York this introduction video presents the work of outsider artist Martín Ramírez.
Ricco/Maresca champions and showcases the art of self-taught masters working outside the continuum of art history. The gallery specializes in Outsider, Self-Taught, Contemporary, and historically significant American Folk art in various media.
LEMAIRE thanks the Ricco/Maresca Gallery, Frank Maresca, Kylie Ryu and the family of Martín Ramírez for their collaboration on this special project.