Cristina Iglesias was born in San Sebastián in November 1956. She studied Chemical Sciences in her home town (1976-1978) and then after a brief period in Barcelona practising ceramics and drawing, she studied Sculpture at the Chelsea School of Art in London, UK (1980-1982). Was granted a Fullbright scholarship to study at Pratt Institute, 1988 In 1995 she was appointed Professor of Sculpture at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Munich (Germany) and in 1999 she won Spain’s National Visual Arts Prize. In 2012 she won the Grosse Kunstpreis Berlin . She has represented Spain twice at the Venice Biennale, at the 42nd edition in 1986 and at the 45th edition in 1993; at the Biennale of Sydney in 1990; at the Taipei Biennial in 2003; at the SITE Santa Fe Biennial in 2006 and at the Triennale of Folkstone in 2011. She also represented her country at the world fairs held in Seville in 1992 and Hanover in 2000, and at the 1995 Carnegie International, Museum of Art Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh.
A recipient of Spain’s National Visual Arts Award, Cristina Iglesias has designed a site-specific piece for the Botín Centre and the Pereda Gardens: Desde lo subterráneo (From the Underground), which features four pools and a pond in stone, iron and water.
The sculptural intervention features five structures in grey stone enclosing overlapping iron pieces forming hollow spaces. They evoke the subterranean, the things that exist beneath the surface. Phreatic zones, underground areas saturated with water, pockets of water filled with foliage and molluscs, life speaking of the primordial ocean that gave origin to all forms of life on Earth.
Subterranean nature appears in the abstract material growing in layers, strata that look like algae that might develop in an imaginary underwater garden protruding toward the surface. Abstraction. An interior garden. An illusion of constructed depth. Twists and turns.
You could sit on the edges of the triangles watching the rhythmic movement of water and listening to its incessant sound.
The pools are in the park, between the city and the sea. The horizon. Water moves at various paces generating different sequences. Time.
You appear from the trees on a garden path. An axis. It is higher. Leaning out. Three triangle-shaped pools delineate the curve of the plaza that stands under the building and surrounds it.
Being and looking. Listening. Listening to yourself.
Life and machine engage in conversation. Organic and mechanic forms are imagined in related ways, producing a kind of abstraction.
Finally, there is a shallow pond with a sloping bed that sends water into the sea, as if the fluid in all the pools flowed rhythmically into it.
The steps leading up to the building start here.
The installation invites visitors to walk through it. It is a walk.
From one place to another.
The order is not important, but there is a direction.
Recollections of what you see overlap with what comes later. Perceptions of abstract forms follow the same path.
Are they really what they seem to be?
Cristina Iglesias. Artist.