glass art and lichens to catch your breath

BarcelonaThere are artists who, at the beginning of their career, debate between following one discipline or another: Stella Rahola Matutes (Barcelona, ​​1980) is an architect, but sculpture ended up taking over. In his first sculptures there were still traces of architecture, because they were linked to an architectural project and were made with common materials in the world of construction, such as clay and concrete, but it has evolved a lot since then, as can be seen in the exhibition dedicated to him Vila Casas Foundation until September 18 as winner of the institution’s latest sculpture award.

“When I finished my degree in architecture I continued to work and in parallel I took a small shared space. I didn’t really know where I was going, but I had the need to continue exploring the subject”, says Rahola. “All my first exercises have a lot of this desire to know the technique well – he says – but somehow subverting it and taking it to the limit: all the pieces are very fragile and in this fragility there is a certain imbalance, a tension; change can occur because matter is not stable”.

This is the second time that Rahola exhibits in a Vila Casas Foundation museum. When she showed her glass sculptures at the Can Mario museum in Palafrugell in 2019, the curator of the exhibition, Mercè Vila Rigalt, explained that the pieces arose from the analysis of the landscape and buildings, and that some recreated skyscrapers of a city Now the artist has opened up to new horizons and the exhibition, titled The neglected room, as one of the four parts of the installation that stars it, denounces man’s ravages on the environment. It also makes a politically-tinged reflection on work spaces, because the installation evokes the workshop of a glass craftsman and wants to claim “craftsmanship processes and techniques that are in disuse”.

Stella Rahola Matutes in 'The neglected room'.

The pieces of the installation are discarded pieces of borosilicate glass from Catalan artisans’ workshops. Since not enough is produced in the State, it is not possible to recycle it. “The cycle of its reuse is suspended”, warns the artist. For this reason, the installation includes reindeer and usnea lichens, because they have the ability to break down the glass and turn it into a substrate, although it takes a very long period of 3,500 years. “Craft interests me because it works with memory and also because it is a task that develops very contemporary issues: it is collaborative and productive instead of consumer and, therefore, has sustainability implicit in it,” says Rahola.

The different parts of the installation are titled the learner, temperance, The neglected room i The fossera, and refer to the different moments of the blowing of the borosilicate glass. “As we move from the learner a The fosseraStella Rahola Matutes leads us from a mineralized space to a space that breathes”, says the mycologist Enric Garcia Barba in the catalog of the exhibition.

Source: – Portada by

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