Self and Sea


Self and Sea is the first in a proposed trilogy of exhibitions which will form an extended interrogation of the genre of portraiture. While portraits have always been a key element within Martínez Celaya’s practice, this is the first time he has used them as the central thematic of a body of work. Martínez Celaya’s portraits, based on real people, are here presented without identification or reference to the subject’s biography. Typically, for Martínez Celaya these new works function on a number of different levels. While his paintings depict individuals — family members, poets, writers and musicians including TS Eliot, Freddie Mercury and Nina Simone — who have significance for his personal and intellectual life, Martínez Celaya uses the process of making them to explore the possibilities and failures of the genre of portraiture as well as of painting itself.


Published on the occasion of the exhibition Self and Sea at Parafin, London, May 2016.


Includes an introductory essay by Ben Tufnell and an interview with Enrique Martínez Celaya.



Published by Parafin

Texts by Ben Tufnell and Enrique Martínez Celaya

Design by Matt Watkins


2016. 48 pp., 20 ills.

250 x 220 mm



£22.00 (+p&p)




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© Parafin Ltd. 2016