The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao presents an exhibition of the most recent sculptures by Basque artist Cristina Iglesias. Featuring 20 works, including one that was commissioned by the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, this exhibition is beautifully suited to the architectural space where it is displayed.
Cristina Iglesias works with many different materials. Sometimes, as in Untitled (Bamboo Forest Room), 1995-97, the repeated motif enables the artist to redefine the space the work occupies, and is an open invitation for the spectator to enter the forest. Exploring the idea of a space within a space is one of the recurring themes of her work.
Cristina Iglesias is also concerned with details, with data that deliberately distracts or skews perception of abstract form. She uses rich surfaces, such as cast impressions of local and exotic flora, that could be termed narrative or representational. From a distance, as she points out, the intricate texture falls away, but the closer the viewer gets the more consuming it becomes. In fact, as Nancy Princenthal points out "Cristina Iglesias pushes this concern around another corner, to the intersection not only of form and image but of image and decoration. She describes this conjunction as 'taking ornamentation to a space of representation.'"
Untitled (Hanging Tilted Ceiling), 1997, is a slightly canted dropped ceiling that inverts the spatial relationship between the work of art and the spectator, bringing the latter up against an organic, watery volume that acts simultaneously as ceiling and floor, as surface and depth.
The fusion of organic and industrial materials, the varied compositions and the sheer scale of her sculptures generate a dialogue and invite the spectator to walk around and, occasionally, through the works. Cristina Iglesias emphasizes the problems concerning form and space, especially when they are related to natural patterns and textures, thus creating her own landscape.
The sculptures of Cristina Iglesias are accompanied by large-format silk-screen prints on silk or copper. These works appear to be printed with photographs of real installations, when in fact they are miniature maquettes of the artist's own sculptures. Together with the three-dimensional works, they create an illusion of spatial depth and break down still further the distinction between the natural environment and constructed space. In Untitled (Triptych VIII), 1997, the artist emphasizes simultaneously the photographic plane and the hidden, deeper image. The works offer accessibility and the spectator is enticed to try to gain access, only to come up short immediately: the image is a cul-de-sac, with no real entrance.
Cristina Iglesias was born in November 1956 in San Sebastián, and now lives and works in Torrelodones, Madrid. She began to show her work in the early 1980s and has taken part in more than 60 individual and group exhibitions in museums and galleries in Europe, North America and Japan. Noteworthy among these was her presence at the Spanish pavillion of the Venice Biennale in 1986 and 1993. In 1991 she exhibited at the Kunsthalle, Bern, in 1993 at the Stedelijk Van Abbe Museum, Eindhoven and in group exhibitions such as Metropolis at the Martin Gropius-Bau, Berlin, in 1991 and at the International Carnegie in the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, in 1995.