Sal Mallen, born Salvador Mallen i Civit on June 12th, 1972 (This is a Catalan name. The first family name is Mallén, and the second is Civit) (Catalan pronunciation: [səɫβəˈðo]). Mallen is a Catalan artist known for his multidisciplinary artwork and activism as a Human Rights defender. His sculptures, paintings, drawings, and engineering designs explore aesthetics and beauty. Mallen faced challenges in his artistic development within a traditional Catholic school under the Spanish Dictatorship. He pursued various schools until finding solace in technology studies, earning a Technician's Specialist Degree in Industrial Mastery Delineation. He later studied Industrial Design Engineering at James I University. He earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Fine Arts faculty of Sant Carles of the Technical University of Valencia. Mallen's education also includes an ongoing art doctorate in contemporary art.
Mallen's artistic career began in 1986 when he sold his first artwork at 14. In 1994, he won the first prize in Sculpture at James I University. He created the monumental sculpture "Dona dominant el Cel i la Terra", symbolizing women's power and confidence in pursuing gender equality. This sculpture marked the inception of a revitalized classicism infused with a post-modern sensibility and pioneered the creation of large-scale sculptures with an impression of partial submersion.
From 1995 to 2002, Mallen explored realism and design. He worked on various projects, including collaborating with jewellery designers and winning the first prize in the CEVISAMA 2006 International Industrial Design and Technological Innovation competition for his groundbreaking tile project titled "Vida." Mallen also showcased his monotype artworks in the "Colors" exhibition, which faced censorship due to political and environmental statements made by the artist.
Sal Mallen's realism period began after his first public sculpture was completed, and this period of exploration across various art disciplines culminated in his inaugural solo exhibition titled "Trocets de Vida, Desig i Realitat" (English: "Bits of Life, Desire, and Reality") held in Castelló de la Plana in 2002. The exhibition showcased 50 artworks, including a captivating wall painting in Mallen's signature black ink style, surrounded by painted barn swallows. The immersive experience was enhanced by the chirping birds flying outside, blurring the boundaries between art and reality. The exhibition's centrepiece was a striking realistic painting of a sleeping young woman adorned with handwritten poems by Antoni Albalat, adding depth and inviting visitors to engage with the artwork. The exhibition layout encouraged exploration, and small framed sketches depicted real-time sketches of the artist's friends and lovers, showcasing various styles and sizes. "Trocets de Vida, Desig i Realitat" generated significant controversy when a father unintentionally exposed his daughter's identity, resulting in backlash. Nonetheless, the exhibition left a lasting impact, showcasing Mallen's talent for realism and his ability to create immersive environments.
From 2003 to 2009, Mallen delved into abstract and expressionist landscapes. He collaborated with writer and poet Antoni Albalat Salanova on the book "tords," which featured Mallen's ink illustrations inspired by Zen contemplation of birds in nature. From 2007 to 2009, Sal Mallen undertook the redesign, construction, and completion of the "Espai Cubic" (English: "Cubic Space") urban sculpture, which won the first prize for the James I University Campus entrance in 2001. "Espai Cubic" consists of nine metallic cubes of varying sizes and positions, all inclined at the same angle. Some cubes give the impression of being submerged in the ground, while others defy gravity by standing on a vertex. The sculpture incorporates hardened stainless steel and a specially designed surface that allows air to pass through. The cubes comprise a hidden reflecting sheet system, creating the illusion of changing colours depending on the cube's face and the light source. Symbolically, the sculpture's proportions relate to the solar system's nine planets, inviting contemplation of cosmic harmony and our place within the universe. The geometric precision of the cubes and their resemblance to cubic pyrite crystals establish a visual dialogue between human creativity and the patterns observed in the natural world. The submerged cubes add depth and mystery, encouraging viewers to reflect on the interconnectedness of elements and the constant ebb and flow of life.
From 2009 to 2016, Mallen pursued multicultural and multidisciplinary projects in central Europe, specifically Germany, Poland, and the Czech Republic. He produced limited series of furniture designs and held his first solo exhibition in Germany at the Bea Laufersweiler Museum in Baden-Baden. The exhibition titled "Von Miró zum Mallén" showcased Mallen's distinct style alongside Joan Miró's works, inviting viewers to explore the artistic journeys of both artists.
In 2012, Sal Mallen collaborated with two entrepreneurs to establish ARTgalleryEssen in Essen-Werden, Germany. This specialized gallery aimed to showcase Mallen's diverse range of artistic expressions and bridge the gap between his various styles and the conventional art gallery scene. The gallery allowed viewers to appreciate Mallen's versatility and boundary-pushing art across disciplines. The exhibitions held at ARTgalleryEssen included "Cuines" (Catalan: "Kitchens"), "Landscapes," "Sumi-e" (Japanese), "Sommer" (German: "Summer"), "Refraction," "100artists" (a collective exhibition), "LOVEfebruary," and "ARTgallery in Märs." In early 2014, Mallen initiated an experimental collaboration with musicians, dancers, choreographers, and artists from the Folkwang University of the Arts, resulting in a vibrant atmosphere of creative exploration and interdisciplinary art.
Since 2021, Sal Mallen has worked as an art teacher at the EADR "Escola d'Art i Disseny a Reus" (English: Art and Design College from Reus). His role involves instructing art and design students, sharing his expertise and passion for the arts.
Sal Mallen's artistic career is characterized by transformative exhibitions that blur the boundaries between art and the physical environment, encouraging active engagement from viewers. His philosophy aims to integrate art seamlessly into the surrounding space, enriching the artistic experience.
Group, NATURAL, EADR Escola d'Art i Disseny a Reus - Reus, Spain (https://www.scribd.com/document/653574836/Exposicio-Natural-EXPOSICIO-DEL-CURS-MONOGRAFIC-DE-DIBUIX-DEL-NATURAL-I-D-IL-LUSTRACIO-by-Sal-Mallen)
Group, PARALLAX, Chelsea Old Town Hall - London, UK (Parallax Art Fair July 2014 https://www.artrabbit.com/events/parallax-art-fair-july-2014)
Group, travelling art, Valencia-Colon Main Station - Valencia, Spain (http://www.upv.es/contenidos/CMETRO/noticia_789110c.html)
Solo, Von Miró zum Mallén, Bea Laufersweiler Museum - Baden-Baden, Germany (2010: "Von Miró zum Mallén" at the Bea Laufersweiler Museum Baden-Baden, Germany.)
Solo, colors, Centre Municipal de Cultura - Castelló de la Plana, Spain (https://www.scribd.com/document/652958450/Colors-a-solo-art-exhibition-by-Sal-Mallen-in-Castello-de-la-Plana-Pai-s-Valencia-Spain-2008)
Solo, camins paral·lels, Centre Municipal de Cultura - Castelló de la Plana, Spain (https://www.scribd.com/document/654279012/Newspaper-2003-Expo-Critica-Levante-Sal-Mallen-2003-camins-paral-lels-solo-art-exhibition-Castello-Spain)
Group, pintura, Antiguo Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes - Madrid, Spain