Mauro Martinez: RateMySetUp February 2 – 4 March 2023 Unit London 3 Hanover Square Mayfair London W1S 1HD
On 2 February, Unit London will open Mauro Martinez‘s RateMySetup — the third solo show at the gallery. The exhibition examines humanity’s ever-evolving relationship with technology. Inspired by the online subreddit “RateMySetup”, where users post images of their gaming systems, Martinez’s exhibition explores the lengths to which we go to stay online. Delving deeper into depictions of the “gamer setup”, Martinez explores broader contemporary ideas of hyper-convenience and comments on our increasing intolerance of any disruption of our comfort.
Martinez presents a series of hyperrealistic paintings and sculptures that portray gaming setups, both at home and in public space. Visualising the need to stay online by any means, he comments on the continuous evolution of our parallel digital identities and communities in the online world. In one painting, a desktop computer balances unsteadily on cardboard boxes; in another, a computer screen hovers at a dangerous angle over a recliner chair, and in another the artist portrays a gamer setup in a McDonald’s booth. The paintings are complemented by life-sized replicas of the depicted setups, allowing in-person interaction.
Across all of these works, Martinez comments on how gaming setups are organised to centre the self as the protagonist. RateMySetup challenges the conventional image of the isolated gamer, equating the importance and value of online communities we create with communities in the physical world. Solitary in the physical world, engulfed in their setups, the gamer becomes the protagonist in an online space.
This duality is reflected in the contrasting colour palettes in each painting; vivid screens are juxtaposed with the dull rooms in which they are located. Martinez contrasts the mundanity of everyday life with the vibrancy and apparent limitlessness of online worlds — in part referring to his own experience of connecting with friends through gaming during the pandemic.
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