Magazine article Sculpture

Sculpting the Voide: A Conversation with Lucía Vallejo

Magazine article Sculpture

Sculpting the Voide: A Conversation with Lucía Vallejo

Article excerpt

Lucía Vallejo began her career as an art historian. The subject of her research, Giorgione, foreshadowed the path of her later artistic trajectory, which follows a deep interest in symbolism and late Renaissance and Baroque color. Despite having talent for the plastic arts since childhood (her first sculpture was a skull) and being told by a professor at the London School of Arts that she was an artist and not a historian, Vallejo did not make the change until several years ago, when she had her first solo show in Mallorca, Spain.

She began her career with cut-out photographs and pierced canvases in which the interplay of light and shadow creates a dramatic quality that has since become characteristic of her work. In the search to create volume from two-dimensional media, she then took another step and began sculpting the canvas by making wrinkles and cuts while maintaining a certain horizontality in the cloth that allowed it to be viewed as a painting. Her most recent works have evolved yet again. The linen support has now become fully sculptural and volumetric, with nooks and crannies that give the impression of randomly draped cloth. Viewers often cannot help touching, wanting to experience fully an intrinsic materiality whose symbolic nature embraces important emotional overtones.

In each phase of her work, and as an indissoluble part of her development, Vallejo has been perfecting a meticulous approach to pure color and texture inspired by Old Master technique. For her, the preparation of the canvas and the mixture of the pigments are as important as the final result, and she trusts that the viewer is conscious of this. Though frequent visits to the Prado Museum (Vallejo resides in Madrid) are a continuing source of inspiration, her works are profoundly contemporary in their psychological and conceptual focus.

Paula Llull: Even in your earliest works, your materials carry a specific weight. You use two-dimensional supports like photographs or canvases that you then cut to make into sculptures. You also use the interplay of light and shadow to achieve a three-dimensionality that yields, in some cases, very poetic and suggestive scenographic results.

Does your search involve only an analysis of formal possibilities or is there a subjectivity beyond the process?

Lucía Vallejo: I am very attracted to the idea of taking something two-dimensional and giving it three dimensions. It is a constant struggle against gravity. However, my work also has a very personal component because my anxieties and fears appear in all of my pieces. Absence I, for example, my most recent sculptural piece, sums up my fear of the void, of absence and nothingness.

PL: The technique, materials, and theatricality of your recent works recall Baroque art, and you have mentioned a feeling of strong identification with the materiality in Zurbarán's works.

LV: It is no coincidence that the Baroque inspires me- the void and anxiety over the passage of time were recurring themes in that period. Baroque art not only appeals to me aesthetically, I also identify completely with its symbolism, its fear of the void, its fascination with the passage of time, with death. I once read that Baroque vanitas paintings "denounced the relativity of knowledge and of the human race to the passage of time and death," and that is a constant in my work. …

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