Monumental Sculpture

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Visitors to the Marlborough Gallery exhibition, ‘Monumental Sculpture’ become the protagonists of a dialogue between sculptural works. They speak different languages but share large format presentations and, incredibly, manage to fit into the same space. The size of these sculptures makes them seem almost supernatural. To observe and reflect on them, the viewer is obliged to get up close and interrogate the pieces. With such physical presence, they seem able yet disinclined to share with us the code which deciphers their secrets.

The gallery

In the main hall, nine large-format sculptures converse. There are two giant, round heads, which are metallic and imposing like a monumental entrance to a fort. These magnificent pieces are ‘Carmen dormida (La noche)’ and ‘Carmen despierta (El día)’ by Antonio López. Two voluminous bronzes, vaguely reminiscent of protective totems, with a harmoniously natural feel which inspires tenderness despite their magnitude.

Watching over them is an eight-figure legion of apparently masculine figures, upright, rooted to the spot, without heads or arms. Arranged in two rows of four and with a strangely worn yet organic texture, they possess a coercive kind of strength: these are ‘Standing Figures’ by Magdalena Abakanowicz.

‘Cueva de Montesinos II’ by Blanca Muñoz recalls a branch in flower, delicately metallic, with petals or fruits in the shape of spindles; a centrifuge in flight, held back by rods attached to a central core. The artist, recently made a member of the Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, challenges the chill harshness of stainless steel and manages to transform it into something warm. She twists it into movement, offering a hideaway where we can be swayed by an imaginary breeze.

With ‘Escorrodoira,’ Francisco Leiro infuses iron and granite with unstoppable energy, turning these materials into an icon, the personification of some wild kind of deity.

‘Ptolemy’s Wedge II’ and ‘Wedge Tree’ by Beverly Pepper speak a geometric language of dimensional harmony. Their schematic proportions seem to hold the key to the universe’s hidden wisdom.

The oscillation in George Rickey’s kinetic sculpture, ‘Two Lines Up Excentric Gyratory II,’ reminds us that everything is fleeting; every slight movement generates new routes.

On a friendly note, in ‘Kissing Spheres,’ Tom Otterness presents large, sweet, spherical forms, fused in a kiss.

Metal and green grass

Iron, bronze and steel seem to be the preferred materials of these seven artists. Like alchemists, they mould and shape these apparently cold ingredients into expressive works which transmit ideas, share stories and awaken emotions through their forms and textures. The green underfoot seems to make the ceiling disappear; we feel like we’re in a park, urged to take off our shoes, sit down or relax alongside the works to observe them calmly. We’re transported to another place, invited to imagine urban spaces inhabited by these sculptures. 

Exposition: Monumental Sculpture I at Galería Marlborough from 13 February to 21 March 2020

Photography: Oscar Rivilla

Translation: Rebekah Jane Rodhes

Music: Dr Symtoziser

Art direction: Oscar Rivilla&Carolina Verd

Hair&Makeup: Sara Trueba


Main picture and picture 2: jacket by Pepe Jeans; pink latex onesuit by Boohoo; sandals by Deichmann; waist bag by Boohoo courtesy from Globally

Picture 3, 4 and 5: purple raincoat and pants by Boohoo; sneakers by Deichmann courtesy from Globally

Picture 6 and 7: dress and heels by Boohoo; raincoat by Champion courtesy from Globally