Dario Robleto —
Sculptor of Memory

Sculptural artist Dario Robleto is famous for spinning and shaping unconventional materials — from dinosaur fossils to pulverized vintage records, from swamp root to cramp bark. He joins words and objects in a way that distills meaning at once social, poetic, and scientific. He reveals how objects can become meditations on love, war, and healing.

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is a sculptural artist who lives and works in Houston, Texas. His most recent exhibit, “The Boundary of Life is Quietly Crossed,” is at the Menil Collection in Houston.

Selected Writings

"If You Remember, I'll Remember" by Dario Robleto

What happens to a memory when it is not being reflected upon or when its originator is no longer alive? Do memories die with their makers, or are they patient, waiting to be summoned by a new mind? Dario Robleto contemplates time, memory, and death in this reflection.

About the Image

"A Defeated Soldier Wishes To Walk His Daughter Down The Wedding Aisle," by Dario Robleto. In his artist's statement, Robleto describes the scultpure as: Cast of a hand-carved wooden and iron leg that a wounded Civil War soldier constructed for himself, made from The Shirelles’ “Soldier Boy” melted vinyl records and femur bone dust, fitted inside a pair of WWI military cavalry boots made from Skeeter Davis’ “The End Of The World” melted vinyl records, oil can filled with homemade tincture (gun oil, rose oil, bacteria cultured from the grooves of Negro prison songs and prison choir records, wormwood, golden rod, aloe juice, resurrection plant, Apothecary’s rose and bugleweed), brass, rust, dirt from various battlefields, ballistic gelatin, white rose petals, white rice.

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Your shows enrich my life so deeply. I can't even begin to express my gratitude adequately. I had absolutely no expectations upon entering this soundscape and find myself transformed - truly you after a unique and precious alchemy which I cherish.

The myth of biting on bullets for pain in the civil war as explained by the director of the Museum for Civil War Medicine (The idea is very alluring, emotionally nevertheless.)

My heart is full. Loss, history, connection, things, and love and memories . Expansion and retraction all in one. Beautiful beings we are.

Less than a half hour ago I was listening to this broadcast when Dario mentioned having read in Ripley's Believe it or Not about a mother lifting a car from their child which he says later is an urban myth. That is no myth. I personally witnessed my mother in 1955 when I was 5 years old lifting a car off of a neighbor boy who was pinned underneath it. When this accident first happened one house up from our house, my mother thought it was I who was trapped under the car. When she lifted the car up she knew it wasn't me trapped underneath but her motherly instincts took over and she was doing whatever it took to save this child. Please convey this message to Dario so that he will know it is not a myth.

Listening to Dario gave me a whole new perspective and appreciation for "installation" art....and the power of love and memory.

Interview with Krista Tippett reveals the classic genesis of Dario Robleto's acquired savant syndrome, a genesis that he outlines as follows: "I didn’t know what an epiphany was until I had one. : It really was that. I mean, within 24 hours. I still don’t know how to explain it. It was related to this experience of what was clearly deep depression. One day [my father] left and accidentally left [the Beatles' Song] 'Sgt. Pepper' playing on repeat on the CD. And I was, you know, locked in my room in some terrible state, and so for 24 hours I heard "Sgt. Pepper" through the muffled wall in the other room. And something just changed. I don’t know how to explain it. But when I came out of the room, I was an artist. . And that shows you, too, that I didn’t know what it meant to be an artist. So, that was where I started. And I’ll never forget that. . I was scared and drawn to it in the same way. And I still have that feeling. It never goes away..."

Listening to Dario Robleto on NPR lst night was the first time I hear a conceptual artist speak about his art while not viewing. It was fascinating to hear him speak of the works, and what they represent. I live my life attempting to make sense of the pieces, and create works similar to what he expressed. Considering that my works may never be acknowledged or understood and the fact that no one might ever 'get' what it is that I am trying to express, it must be very relieving to share his work, and know that he has an audience that at least attempts to understand.

Congratulations on the award and show!
This is a general comment (not on the Dario Robleto interview):
On Being's focus on conventional thinkers and topics, in religion, faith, on "being human", and social topics is good I guess, because it appeals too many, obviously. And it's safe.
Less conventionalism might be more interesting to some (or many?) like me. For example an interview with Eben Alexander and others I can think of.

One of my favourite books is 'Landscape and memory" by Simon Schama. I have endeavoured to use memory in my Site Specific sculpture evoking ancestral links first used in 'Crossings' 1992. This guy is taking it to another dimension.

Listening to Dario speak of wanting to understand how the heart works I wish to refer him to a wonderful book: Secret Teachings of Plants by Stephen Harrod Buhner. In this book is an amazing, in depth explanation of how the heart works. For example,we have 60,000 miles of blood vessels and blood flows not only by power of the heart by by its own momentum as it spirals through those vessels!