Ramón Marinel.lo’s interest in surrealist sculpture is the result of the influence of his teacher, the sculptor Ángel Ferrant. Along with two more of the Madrid artist’s students, Jaume Sans and Eudald Serra, he took part in the 1935 exhibition Tres escultores nuevos (Three New Sculptors) at the Galeries Catalònia in Barcelona. The following year, Marinel.lo was part of the influential Exposition surréaliste d’objets at the Charles Ratton Gallery in Paris. Figuras frente al mar (Figures Beside the Sea) is influenced by the physiognomy of the sculptural work of Jean Arp, who a major one-man show in Barcelona in 1935. Marinel.lo took Arp’s biomorphic forms referencing the randomness of nature, and set them against a very personal, poetic quality, in which the forms come from a sensual, oneiric memory. This could be linked to early Parisian surrealism even though the artist never went to the French capital, his most direct contact with the French group being through the short time that the poet Paul Éluard spent in Barcelona in 1936. The semi-abstract relief of pared down, embryonic forms consists of two twinned figures, lying in an open pod-like container, reminiscent of seed-like forms like those that inspired the New Photographic Objectivity, represented in Catalonia by Emili Godes.
Carmen Fernández Aparicio