By Pepo Toledo 11JL14
For Octavio Paz, space is a bodily experience. We feel it. We are space wherever we are. It´s a where. It surrounds and sustains us while we surround and sustain it. “… more faithful than our own shadow, which abandons us at night”.
In an encounter with Eduardo Chillida (artist), philosopher Martin Heidegger discovers his opinions about space and time. That´s how his book “El arte y el espacio” was born. In it he talks about three spaces in plastics, specifically sculpture; the space where it stands, the space around the sculpture, and the space within the sculpture (if there is one). The sculptor decides conscious or unconsciously, where to put the boundaries of his work regarding the spatial domain.
Michelangelo said “Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it”. The creator´s energy defines the limit of what surrounds the sculpture and at the same time the space surrounded by the work of art. On that same note, José Antonio Ory defines Chillida as the space maker because he considers the space within the sculpture to be more important than the one around. Unlike Michelangelo he expresses himself inside his sculptures, producing absence of form that is later replaces with contained energy. His own mannerism. Both concepts originated from Aristotle’s theory of space and place.
Art is also man. Chillida´s style is forging. “El peine del viento” is a group of three sculptures of forged steel encrusted in rock. Each one weighs ten tons.
I decided to express myself through Steel sheet, maybe because my origins as a mechanic. In the majority of my sculptures I go beyond the third space – the void between volumes. I renounce mass esthetics and replace it for lines and planes, privileging air in its eternal competition with mass. The result is aerial sculpture. I take absence of form to its maximum expression and mass to its minimum. Am I on the third space limit, or have I crossed to a fourth one? Why not? Spaces are enclosed inside each other like concentric circles. Let’s think about the Matrioshkas, the traditional Russian doll. Hollow, and in the inside it contains another doll and this doll another one, and so on up to twenty dolls. If we see them all, from biggest to smallest, we are maximizing the level of abstraction. And if we see them from small to big we are minimizing the abstraction level. In this same way we can analyze everything using it as a reference inside the universe.
One of Guatemala´s modern art major exponents, alive and still sculpting like the Greeks, said: “Someone needs to tell Pepo Toledo that what he´s doing is not sculpture”. I am grateful because he made me see I’m breaking paradigms.