Regarded as one of the most striking Spanish artists of these past 25 years in the field of sculpture, and internationally recognized thanks to several monumental commissions, Cristina Iglesias is still little known among the French public. So the exhibition at the Musée de Grenoble represents a perfect opportunity to discover this oeuvre, which is both thoroughly contemporary and also deeply rooted in the Iberian culture.
Born in 1956 in San Sebastian, Cristina Iglesias came to notice on the European art scene in the mid-1980s. Since her early days, her work has been based on powerfully architectured forms which are presented like so many invitations to enjoy specific sensory experiences. First and foremost in her works is the issue of space. Spaces with which we are confronted, which we rub shoulders with, which we penetrate. They may conjure up both nature and architecture alike, with the two often becoming muddled in hybrid constructions, produced with the most diverse of materials, from bronze to alabaster by way of concrete and glass. This is an ambiguous body of work, where paradox mingles with pretence; as such it represents a dizzy-making exploration of a parallel, dreamlike world, where reality never loses sight of fantasy, and where truth is twofold: clear and obscure, gentle and cruel.
For the Musée de Grenoble, Cristina Iglesias has come up with a circuit based on a set of works produced over the past fifteen years, which should make it possible to understand the challenges of her oeuvre while at the same time enabling us to become acquainted with the strange poetry emanating from it. By way of introduction, several rooms will accordingly be devoted to the presentation of works on paper, models and maquettes, and silkscreen prints on steel, which will all shed light on the artist’s different work methods, plus a certain number of monumental projects, some completed, others not... The exhibition will carry on with large format works leading visitors to the very heart of Cristina Iglesias’s world. Here, sight, as well as touch, smell and hearing are summoned to help us to quite literally experience these sculptures which have the look of forms of architecture. In particular, we will discover a Passage suspendu [Hanging Passage], formed by woven straw mats, beneath which visitors stroll, and which cut the light into a thousand shards. Further on a vegetal space opens up, nothing less than a labyrinth whose walls are enlivened by a web of branches and leaves, like a petrified forest of bronze, dark and disconcerting. Further on still, a set of “blinds” , at once screens and windbreaks made of wood and metal, will spread across a huge area to form so many cells, interstitial places, both closed and open, noiseless and rustling with words...
Like a hybrid universe, where pain is contained and sensuality comes to the surface in each form, Cristina Iglesias’s world is made up of suggestions and secrets. Intriguing us and getting us to make guesses are the mainsprings of her sculptural arrangements, whose aim seems, once and for all, to be a manner of voluptuous and anxious invitation made to the senses, an invitation to an intermediary reality, at once concrete and dreamed, physical and intellectual, pure and perverted.