Cristina Iglesias is the latest artist to be exhibited as a part of the Sainsbury Centre’s Sculpture Park on campus. Iglesias is a renowned installation artist and sculptor from Spain and has been the recipient of the country’s prestigious National Award for Plastic Arts. Her contribution to the Sculpture Park consists of two sculptures, Celosía XI (Hafsa Bint Al-Hayy) (2006) and Vegetation Room III (2005).
Celosía XI (Hafsa Bint Al-Hayy) comprises seven terracotta screens, which evoke the common lattice motif present in Arab architectural structures. Iglesias adapts traditional Arabic geometrical styles and incorporates words into the screens.
Celosia’s words and title are taken from the work of the Andalusian poet Hafsa bint al-Hājj ar-Rakūniyya (1135-1191. Iglesias’s structure creates an immersive experience as you wander through the SCVA Sculpture Park, evoking the personal and private experience of reading poetry. Much of Iglesias’s work explores aspects of personal and private encounters with art and creates an interplay between the various physical qualities that sculpture can manipulate in order to immerse the viewer. Her works evoke doors, passages, rooms and labyrinths, and investigate light, shadow and reflections.
Vegetation Room III is a “defined architectural space”. Adorning the sculpture’s interior walls are metallic casts of vegetation, combining elements of the organic and natural form with the architectural. This combination of forms speaks to the pieces’ relationship with the Sainsbury Centre and the aims of the Sculpture Park as a whole.
The combination of Iglesias’s earthly structures and the highly modernised aesthetic of Norman Foster’s architecture creates an unusual dialogue of materials, concepts and provenance. The situation of the structures reignites and reunites the comparative positioning of Iglesias and Foster’s work in other contexts. Outside the Bloomberg Headquarters in London, designed by Foster, is another of Iglesias’s sculptures. Iglesias also created a canopy for the façade of the Norman Foster Foundation in Madrid.
This unlikely combination of works by two creators, which vary greatly in their aesthetic, compositional and formal qualities, complements the intention of the Sculpture Park: “to bring together art, architecture and the natural environment” in inventive and evocative ways.