Unlike Guatemalan conceptual artist Darío Escobar, most people who pass through the sporting goods section of a store would not pause to consider the accumulation of mass-produced industrial objects like soccer balls and the cultural value that they gain via those who consume them. Escobar’s sculptural works make use of balls that have had their patches removed and resewn inside out, bats that have been broken and configured to form skylines, and skateboards that have been cut into pieces and reformed using gold hinges.
“My work starts from a reflection about the industrial object, sculptures created with soccer balls, skateboards, baseball bats, etc.,” the artist said in a statement, adding that his work is about the “persistent thinking of identical objects in a sculptural operation; a new configuration of an element repeated obsessively, such as when showing a product in supermarkets or sports stores.”
Escobar says that he is inspired by the way that objects like soccer balls are collected and displayed in an attempt to make them more appealing to consumers. “The artwork also tells us about the accumulation not from the perspective of the soccer balls’ ready-made individuality but from the amassing of merchandise as raw material for contemporary sculpture,” he said. In an interview with Reigning Champ, Escobar said that his manipulation of the objects is a way to “change the angle of view” and gain a new perspective. At larger retailers, balls are displayed at or below eye-level in individual packaging that elevate the intrigue of the product, while Escobar’s sculptures place them high above the viewer and bunch them together so that each ball is like the last. The works turn these merchandise displays on their head, creating unique ways to observe the construction of the sporting good object and its connection to the world at large.
To see more of Escobar’s conceptual sculptures using ready-made objects, check out his website.