GRAND RAPIDS TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A new exhibit with works from a Spanish artist is opening on Friday at Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, her first U.S. exhibition in over 20 years.
“Cristina Iglesias: Under and In Between” showcases works created by Iglesias over the past two decades. They include wall reliefs, metal silk screens, liquid sculptures and a video tour.
Iglesias, who studied chemical science for two years at a university, combined her love of biology and art to create the pieces.
“I still have a certain attitude in maybe the sense (of the) lab, that sense of always exploring new fields or bringing into the language into my understanding (of) new perspectives. And this also comes a lot with collaborations. I collaborate a lot with engineers in my pieces with water, creating those sequences … not only hydraulic engineers but also structural engineers (and) biologists, too,” she explained.
The exhibit at Meijer Gardens utilizes flowing water, structural building and perception to create a fantastical space.
“(The title) ‘Under and In Between’ suggests different kinds of spaces, and Cristina Iglesias has been called the sculptor of space, and that is what she provided the visitor in different forms,” Suzanne Ramljak, chief curator at Meijer Gardens said.
“You will see the copper pieces or the scenes on silk, they relate to models that I construct to think on this space and think on sculpture. So there (are) different reflections but those reflections are very much related to each other and my thinking about art and life and in this case very much nature,” Iglesias explained.
Some pieces create cavities that viewers can enter. Others use atmosphere to create architectural and organic spaces.
“These pieces that I call ‘Entwined,’ talk about the growing organisms that can be in nature but also that sometimes we hid them as dirt or as something that you want to direct,” Iglesias explained. “These pieces actually give a sense of something that is growing, maybe because there is a sense of humidity somewhere, and they grow and grow.”
The dream-like art is created out of aluminum and polycarbonate resin. It is meant to look like the work could keep growing and eventually connect.
“They are abstract but at the same time they are with elements that make you think about nature, in this case, or something that you may recognize in them,” Iglesias said.
The illusions and fantasy realities that she welcomes the viewers into are universal, Iglesias said.
“They are corridors, entrances, passages, you know spaces after spaces,” she explained. “They have a lot to do with a certain idea of labyrinth, you know how mazes have a direction but you can get lost. They have all the inspiration of the possibility of getting lost in a construction.”
The viewer’s imagination is guided by hints and clues within the artwork.
Water plays a role within the exhibition, some evoking the image of water and some using actual water within the artwork or sculpture. Multiple pieces include hydraulic systems that add life and movement.
“When I use water in my sculptures, it brings an activity to them and also to the viewer to wait for the water. Maybe (for) a sequence to happen again if they have seen part of it or to see what is veiled will be unveiled, revealed by the water going away,” Iglesias said.
She said the requirement to wait and slow down can encourage peace. It also shows the connection between the different parts of the world.
In addition to art that Iglesias showcases in exhibitions around the world, she has permanent public art that viewers can experience through two 20-minute videos.
The exhibition runs from April 28 to Sept. 24.