Samuel Salcedo´s faces

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I met the sculptor Samuel Salcedo (Barcelona, 1975) this year at Art Madrid and was able to chat to him about his work. He told me that his sculptures are like mirrors in which the viewer sees a reflection of their own emotions.

His figures, his masks, his giant faces filled with realism and fantasy, seem to say: “Hey, you! Haven’t you ever felt like this? What you see in me is in you.” Perhaps that’s because his sculptures invite us to reflect on the emotions they express, emotions that speak of ourselves, our identity and our nature.

Samuel Salcedo

Salcedo studied at Barcelona University Faculty of Fine Arts and at some point decided to opt for sculpture. He then moved to the UK, where he completed a master’s degree at Manchester Metropolitan University while also working as assistant to Jaume Plensa.

Samuel Salcedo’s pieces are varied in size, colour and technique; the defining feature they share is that each awakens the viewer’s curiosity, a keenness to understand the language of these figures and faces, as well as the mysteries they contain. The artist even manages to make us burst into laughter, revealing his figures’ most intimate moments and doing so with a hearty dose of humour. Some sculptures raise questions: What could that figure be thinking? Are they comfortable in their own skin?

These faces, Salcedo’s figures, far from leaving us indifferent, provoke emotions. They move us. Some even make us hurt.

A reflection of our inner selves

This week I visited Espacio SOLO, where I was fortunate enough to view and enjoy the two works by Samuel Salcedo which form part of the collection: Deep Inside II and Dark Side III. With their silent language, they seem to invite us to stop an instant and observe how time decelerates around them. Immovable, they bear witness to the changing light on a sunny day, to the darkness, wind or rain.

Deep Inside II, with a calm and peaceful gesture, appears to accept life’s changes with serenity, faithful in whatever is to be. Dark Side III is a giant head caught permanently pulling a face, perhaps wishing to hold its breath: the figure lets nothing in or out, not even air, in an attempt to isolate itself from the world. And if I hold my breath? Will it serve as a barrier to protect me? Or will I continue to be intoxicated by the present? Will I carry on gasping for air?

What makes these sculptures almost magical, perhaps, is that in their quietness and apparent passiveness they awaken emotions in the observer; they are active. Like you, like me.

Special thanks to Collection SOLO

Photography: Oscar Rivilla

Translation:Rebekah James Rhodes

Music: Dr Symptosizer

Art direction: Carolina Verd


Main picture: blue dress by Ulises Mérida

Picture 2: black wool jacket by Ulises Mérida

Picture 3: black velvet dress with blue ties by Gucci; silver shoes by Ulises Mérida