Throughout her career, Iglesias has defined a unique sculptural vocabulary, building immersive and experiential environments that reference and unite architecture, literature and culturally site-specific influences. Through a language of constructed and natural forms rendered in various materials and ranging from suspended pavilions, latticed panels, passageways, mazes, to walls inbued with texts and structural and vegetative forms, she poetically redefines space by confounding interior and exterior, organic and artifice, combining industrial materials with natural elements to produce unexpected new sensory sites for the viewer.
For the upcoming exhibition, Iglesias has created several mural pieces that seem to grow from the ground along the walls. Reminding us that life lies under everything we stand upon, the pieces invade the walls, constructing various forms. Looking closer, we discover details that recall a kind of crystallized nature.
There is a transition throughout the space to the “Phreatic Zones” in the South Gallery, featuring sculptural works with water made of cast aluminum set within a terraced gallery floor, in which water ebbs and flows over organic relief forms. Bringing the city plaza into the gallery, Iglesias once again gives us a public site for contemplation and communion, while hinting at the pulsating, beating body of water barely contained underneath. Just as Deep Fountain and Tres Aguas brought a rising water pool and a river back to the respective cities of Antwerp and Toledo, Phreatic Zones recalls the rivers ever present in the history and life of cities.
All the spaces unite to become imaginary places representing urban plazas as well as topographical, fictional sensory spaces. In this alternate world, the constraints of architecture dissolve into landscape as the water and the cast roots flow in a carefully syncopated choreography of movement and sound, as the filling and emptying of a vessel occurs.
In 1996, Iglesias was invited to build her first large-scale public work using water for the city of Antwerp, which resulted in a dynamic, expansive well in the large public square in front of the Museum Voor Schone Kunsten. She has continued to explore the concepts of the underground through her ongoing Pozo pieces, having made her first pozo in 2006 . In these well sculptures, water runs in differently timed cycles, inviting the viewer to think about an unseen below, an undefined depth that both emanates and gathers water. It is this idea of the subterranean or the underneath that has continuously interested the artist, and it is in that limitless space where Iglesias constructs.
In an adjacent gallery, Desde Dentro II (Pozo XIII) flows on a timed cycle inviting the viewer to ponder its undefined depths.
Also in the South Gallery, a triptych of works of charcoal and oil stick drawing on digital imprint on silk will be shown; these are two dimensional, architecturally influenced studies for sculpture. A new series of drawings on Japanese paper will also be shown.
"The well, the crack, were always the most literal metaphor for the mysteries of the body and the land, allegories of life, of sex and of death, the earth’s crust as a geological scar on the universe the body and its most intimate mysteries are inscribed on. Body and landscape rush ahead in Cristina Iglesias’ work, in new incisions like the lines of a text." --Warner, Marina, “The springs beneath, the flow above, the light within”, published in Cristina Iglesias: Tres Aguas, (London: Artangel and Turner, 2015), page 58.
“The framed world of Cristina Iglesias is a place of thresholds suspended on the brink of imaginary sites. Here sculptures are built in imaginative dialogue with architecture and the environment, exposing their temporalities. Made of various materials that suggest a metamorphosis of live states, the work calls for fluid forms of inhabitation. Even when they seem to prevent [viewers] from physically entering them, they offer a virtual visual form of access. They are like doors or rather portals, that invite the visitor to cross boundaries, including limits between interior and exterior…. A journey of inner exploration begins the moment we encounter this form of sculpture, which does not conceive of space as simply contextual or treat architecture as a corollary. Space is the work here, and one must become aware of its different planes of existence.” --Giuliana Bruno, The Thickness of Surface: Projections on a Screen Wall
This past year has seen a flurry of prominent permanent public projects in Europe by the artist, who has just completed several important commissions, including Forgotten Streams for the Bloomberg Headquarters in London which highlights the idea of the underground river as an imaginary zone and a protective gathering place constructed to create a relationship and a dialogue between public and private space. From the Underground, is a recent a site specific work of stone, steel and water comprising four wells and a pond for the Botin Foundation, Santander, Spain. A Place of Silent Storms is a large scale, suspended sculptural steel and carbon fiber canopy for the Norman Foster Foundation, Madrid. This coming year, she will finalize a project for the Lighthouse of Santa Clara Island, San Sebastian, Spain.
These works follow on seminal public projects created over the last decade such as Tres Aguas- A Project for Toledo, Spain (2014), in which three monumental sites using architecture, sculpture and water were created to bring the river Tagus back into the streets and life of Toledo, recalling the times of mutual co-existence and understanding of the three coexisting cultures living at the same time in Toledo, Spain. Submerged Settings, isa work made with the Mexican Foundation of Environmental Education, and as part of a project to create a marine refuge beneath the sea and amid the reefs in Baja California (2010). Gates-Threshold is a work at the doors of the extension of The Prado Mseum in Madrid (2007). Deep Fountain (1997-2006), is at the entrance to the Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Antwerp.