Cristina Iglesias

Joost Declercq

Cristina Iglesias’ pieces reflect traditional sculptural concerns—her work delineates relationships of various materials to each other and to the space in which they are situated. In the main gallery of her current exhibition are four pieces, each placed against a wall and featuring a combination of steel, wood, and concrete. These pieces are both multi faceted and illusory. Their spatial and physical relationships are variable, defined only when the viewer activates them. One piece—all are Untitled, 1988—is composed of three curved steel plates, arched in a semicircle toward the wall. Forming a roof for this shelter—this enclosure fashioned out of an open space—are a number of wooden planks, into which a piece of red glass has been embedded. What first appears to be a foreboding, solid, and closed structure is opened up by the revelation of light coming through the two open sides in the back of the piece, as well as through the red reflection. It is this ambivalent play between open and closed, light and dark, solid and ephemeral, that informs the work.

Another piece features a space that is even more self-contained. At first glance, one sees a metal sheet extending from the wall. The sides, again forming an enclosure, include wood and glass elements. In the center of this space, flat against the wall, is a large metal plate with an abstract design imprinted on it. While the aforementioned piece describes an entry through the sides of the sculpture, a space behind a facade, this work creates a more circumscribed area. The walls, opening in the center, also provide an entrance, but the space is blocked by the metal sheet against the wall. The enclosure frames an abstraction, abruptly concluding the motion of passage.

The two smaller pieces in the rear gallery reveal variations on the theme of open and closed space. Both are mounted on the wall, at eye-level. Constructed with concrete, colored glass, and wood, they frame an image from one of Iglesias’ previous works, serigraphed in copper. Here the emphasis on pictorial space is most clearly elaborated, in the form of a frame that is associated with devotional images. In this case, the image within the piece mirrors the structure without, effectively doubling the combination of elements. Here, again, one work contains another, a deep space reveals a flattened one. Each work in the exhibition, whether mounted on the wall or situated on the floor, whether closing or opening its particular space, describes the trajectory of the viewer’s entrance. These entrances are both visual and physical, both disguised and open. Iglesias continues to belie the nature of her own materials and constructions, producing sculptures that actively engage our experiences of them.

Michael Tarantino