Founder of Taller Tornel, artist, and creator
After a long day of work, Rodolfo welcomed me in his studio with a skull-shaped glass cup with fine tequila to zip on. This post is only a glimpse of Rodolfo's geniality, a peephole-portrait of his work and complex material exploration. He is an arts & crafts man, the funniest company, and always a source of interesting/inspiring ideas.
This is the first painting I made, and it was by accident. I wasn’t really aiming to make a composition or a painting, I had no idea this was going to happen. Around 2008, I was working on something on the wall, and I had vinyl scraps in hand. Instead of brooming the floor, I thought it would be interesting to clean up with the sticky vinyl and when I saw what came out, I loved it: the tiny trashes from the floor over a black sticky surface that accidentally became a “canvas”. Afterwards, this lead me to doing the same on a wall and a bigger format; the idea of peeling off a surface or printing a monotype with what already existed, and I worked deeper on the idea of that action.
I love this small painting because it was a scrappy leftover piece of vinyl that I had; hence the folded corners, the uneven borders and the trash crumbs as the paint. I thought it was very interesting to pick up something and keep it as a record, as an unrepeatable stamp. Then I had it framed and I keep it here in the studio ever since. I like that some pieces stick off and are kept within the frame. I think it has dog hair too.
I always wanted to try this in bigger format; and it wasn’t until the former Zona Maco that I did. It worked very well.
This is an example of the way I work. I trust my original and basic ideas and then I expand them or change them; but I end up working with an idea that can explode at some other moment.
Tape with brush hair
This other object has the same intention that the vinyl, a variation on the same the same. I cut a brush and then picked up the hair with tape. I like how it gains another dimension, the smoothness of a simple brush suddenly became aggressive. It reminds me of a sanitary pad, or also as if I had striped off a piece of animal’s skin/hair.
I used wood embroidery stretchers as the material to make this turning planetarium cane. I actually wanted to make a lamp, and place a light bulb in the middle of the turning rings and make it a utilitarian object. In the process of making it took shape as a different object.
This was an exercise in which I didn’t have an inaugural direction or control, only a playful experiment. Now they seem to me like aerial typographies, drawings in the air. If you look closely, maybe you can find a letter or a manuscript, or a graffiti-evoking figure. I also think of them as planetary compositions, or abstract insects.
I made a variation with wooden sticks. What became crucial for these was the distance between the branch’s largest side and the centroid from which I hung it, balancing the inserted balls. I relate it with mobiles. What I was seeking was to make an experiment that had structure but seemed like a light mobile. It was strange when I added the balls, it somehow resembled a Christmas tree; I like it more during Holiday season.
I tend to buy objects that call for my attention; beautiful utilitarian objects. These ones are curious, right?
This little fish died on me. Its name was “Sangrita”. I made this experiment with its corpse, and now it’s still with me!
This peephole is now a part of my window, I like looking out through it and simultaneously at the whole window frame. It was a part of a projector that belonged to my grandfather, who had plenty cameras and many projectors… he was a fond collector of those.
This is really all you need: coffee, tea, a small fridge for snacks or leftover food, and some tools in the kitchen to profit from all available storage area. I made a test on the mirror with vinyl cutouts. That led me to further explorations working with self-adhesive vinyl cutouts illustrating abstract forms of dead nature and classic picture themes.
I am very fond of this piece. It explores the transparency within this space, it was inspired by Duchamp’s Large Glass. There is a very witty Mexican technology to fix accidents; in this case, I am keen on how a broken glass can be held together... Sticking together a glass with tape is an interesting way of repairing. The medium for this piece were also made with glass, cardboard, and tape, as a loop in response to the photographs of the actual broken glass patches.
As an accident one of them broke. I think it works as a compliment to the whole! although I didn’t really like it; there’s something missing. Actually, let’s do something right now. [Rodolfo took a nail and hammer, and started to hit the glass]. I can’t break it! This glass is so hard, it doesn’t break and I’m hitting hard. How funny, it’s unbreakable. [We tried several times and we couldn’t do it] Maybe the cardboard helps damping the impact.
This is an aluminium sphere with (toy) eyes all around, as if an object was reflecting and observing 360 degrees. The framed ostrich piece is an experiment I made over printed images; I really like geometric compositions. It was the predecesor of many works I developed further on. The green glass jar is from Michoacán.
This other shelves mainly have models of architectural models that we've produced as collaboration with several architecture studios across the city. Some others are installations, or material experiments.
This cutout brick (tabiques cortados) was inspired with how at construction sites bricks are used as cutting mats, when cutting stone. Then when I saw stone-smiths cutting stone over clay bricks with the grinding wheel, the marks of this action became attractive to me. They immediately called my attention and I wanted to turn them into lithographs or stamps. With the aim of doing so, I liked the idea of drawing over stone. I worked on many bricks and experimented on cutting/drawing on stone… it even became an interior facade for a restaurant. After many years I did the stamps directly on cotton paper.
Photographs and text text transcript by Nuria
To see more about Rodolfo's work, visit Taller Tornel's website