Hephaestus’s Dream, 2015

Hephaestus’s Dream is an installation with a changing geometric form, whose various faces depict images and symbols as a polyphony of signs representing a genealogy of contemporary culture in the age of rare earth. Erick Beltrán’s stated agenda is an investigation of the iconology of matter, from the classical-mythical period to contemporary science and consumption. The guiding spirit of this journey is Hephaestus, the Greek god of fire, the forge, smiths, and metalworking. As divine blacksmith, Hephaestus made all the weapons and magical equipment of the gods in Olympus: Hermes’s winged helmet and sandals, the Aegis breastplate, Aphrodite’s famed girdle, Agamemnon’s staff of office, Achilles’s armor, Heracles’s bronze clappers, Helios’s chariot, the shoulder of Pelops, and Eros’s bow and arrows. Hephaestus also created automatons, made of metal, to work for him. Beltrán begins with these originary mythical icons and charts a course to the present day: Hermes’s (the messenger’s) sandals as the beginning of a sequence of images that concludes with the telephone and the keyboard. Helios’s chariot becomes a tank; the metal automaton is contextualized as the beginning of robotics. This is the artwork as oracle, an expansive cultural and historical cosmology, and an automaton. 
Hephaestus’s Dream, 2015 has been commissioned by TBA21 for the exhibition Rare Earth at TBA21-Augarten.

Erick Beltrán, born in 1974 in Mexico City, lives and works in Barcelona. Beltrán’s work can be conceived as an ongoing investigation of and constant reflection on the structural mechanisms of systems of knowledge. In his almost obsessive diagrams and displays, he maps out the forces that determine the universe and approaches the way in which the images and systems that create political, economic, and cultural discourses in contemporary society are defined, valued, and classified. Beltrán holds a bachelor of visual arts from Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas, UNAM, Mexico City (1993–97) and has had a residency at Rijksakademie Van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam (2002–4). Recent exhibitions include Atlas Eidolon, Museo Rufino Tamayo, Mexico City (2014); O problema da casca de laranja, Galeria Luisa Strina, São Paulo (2013); The Unfathomable Part / La part abyssal, Centre d’Art Contemporain la Synagogue de Delme, France (2012); andThe World Explained, Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam (2011).