Decay and Splendor, After Raphael, 2007, cutting and carving on drywall, wallpaper, paint and fabric, 320 x 869 cm, courtesy of the artist and Douz & Mille, Washington, D.C.
Tomás Rivas's works operate on the borderline between drawing, sculpture and architecture. His installations, which are usually executed on walls, are based on a process of carving, hollowing out and exposing the exterior layers of the wall. Rivas, whose work examines the ornamental traditions of Western architecture, intentionally chooses to focus on decorative detailed, which are considered marginal to monumental, classical architecture. This wall installation makes reference to Raphael's well-known fresco The School of Athens (1509-1510). This painting, which depicts Philosophy, was commissioned by Pope Julius II for the Stanza della Segnatura in the Vatican's Apostolic Palace. Rivas transformed the painting's marginal details into his central theme - focusing exclusively on the architecture's decorative elements. Rivas's imaginative interpretation seems to reconstruct the painting's backdrop as a series of destroyed ruins.
Born in Santiago, Chile, 1975; lives and works in Washington, D.C., and Santiago, Chile