On Tuesday October 23rd 2012 opens CLUSTER II in SW1 Gallery (http://www.sw1gallery.co.uk), a group show with Brazilian, Argentine, Venezuelan, Colombian, Mexican and British artists, exhibiting in the second in a series of exciting mixed media shows in London.
On this occasion I am showing an old favorite (of mine at least), my velvet soldier from 2005-07, which I have shown at least in 5 other occasions. I said is a favorite work of mine because is still a seminalt work in my creative process. Here it is, in the best shot I had been able to take of it (with Owen passing by, handy to show the scale). It looks stunning, the space does it justice, at last!
But I am very excited for the other work also. They are 23 individual plaster sculptures, that I started making 2 months ago. The making was really intense and difficult, a constant fight with the technique. I had to learn as I went along, so the first pieces are extremely fragile, while the rest got stronger as I proceeded.
People keep asking how I made them. And I respond that is good I am making a video that hopefully will shed some light over the process.
How do I start? I use a wooden mold / frame, 13 cm depth . This mold goes on the floor on top of a protective material. Inside this frame I made a composition using clay and toys. I trap the toys in the clay, half way in the clay, in order to trap them with the plaster once I pour it in. This composition is a negative of the final result. I sealed the edges of the bottom of the frame using decorators caulk, so the liquid plaster wont escape when I pour it in. I prepare the plaster and add 1 part of white Portland concrete, in the hope it makes the pieces a bit stronger. I pour the mix in and let it dry.
I decided to add some more text to this blog, after had lived through the Private View. I want to register the public reaction towards these new sculptures of mine. As they were positioned right by the door of the gallery, they received the public when they enter the space. More often than not, people feel compelled to approach the small wall of sculptures and, since they are quite low, almost on the floor, people also kneel and express great curiosity (I think) towards the detail of the pieces. They don't know there are toys in these sculptures, I guess, not at first glance, and some think all has been cast in plaster or else. They are technically very intriguing. The people then move around, usually "reading" the group right to left, and continue to inspect the composition at the back, which contains less pieces.
I had he opportunity to talk with some members of the public, puzzled as they were about technique and intention behind the sculptures. Since I usually shy away from revealing too much of what lies beneath of what I do, i do concentrate on talking about the technique, which in this case, has provoke a lot of questions. But then I realized that as I was on the floor with members of the public, they became playful, recognizing the toys they used to play with. They connected with my own time playing with the toys while I was doing the compositions with clay. I realized that my playfulness came through and reverberated even in the gallery.