Leading Spanish artist Cristina Iglesias has unveiled Hondalea, a new site-specific sculpture which will permanently transform the lighthouse on the island of Santa Clara in the Bay of Donostia-San Sebastián. Hondalea is the artist’s first sculpture in her native city and one of the most important projects in her long career of works in public and private spaces.
Hondolea (Marine Abyss) transforms a derelict lighthouse to create a vertiginous sculptural environment sunk into the rock of the island, incorporating the distinctive geology of the Basque coast and its rough waters. From the outset, Cristina Iglesias decided to donate the work to Donostia-San Sebastián and has worked closely with the City Hall over the last 4 years. Iglesias has also created a new video showing a fictionalised visit to the work as part of her ongoing Guided Tours series.
To coincide with the Donostia-San Sebastián commission, a new publication, Liquid Sculpture: The Public Art of Cristina Iglesias, edited by Iwona Blazwick and Richard Noble, has been published by Hatje Cantz. In the publication, an international roster of curators, art critics, philosophers, architects and scientists discuss the social and ecological potential of art in urban and rural space, informed by the interconnecting themes in Iglesias’ work. Contributors include: Octavio Aburto, Andrew Benjamin, Iwona Blazwick, Lynne Cooke, T.J. Demos, Estrella de Diego, Brian Dillon, Exequiel Ezcurra, Russell Ferguson, João Manuel Fernandes, Luis Fernández-Galiano, Cristina Iglesias, James Lingwood, Michael Newman, Richard Noble, Jane Rendell, Andrea Schlieker and Jane Withers .
The new commission was launched with a symposium, The Rocky Coast: Cristina Iglesias’ Hondalea in San Sebastián: Ecology, Geology and Sculpture at the University of the Basque Country (EHU-UPV). The symposium was organised by James Lingwood, Artangel’s Co-Director, a long-term collaborator of the artist’s, and featured leading commentators from the world of both the arts and science. Speakers included curator and art historian Penelope Curtis; marine scientist Carlos Duarte; curator and UCLA professor Russell Ferguson; Director of Artium, Basque Museum of Contemporary Art Beatriz Herraez; geologist and Basque Coast UNESCO Global Geopark leader Asier Hilario; Holt/Smithson Foundation director Lisa Le Feuvre; and artist Cristina Iglesias.
Cristina Iglesias’ horizontal fountains, submerged rooms and tropical mazes bring together literature, architecture, geology and botany to create immersive, contemplative spaces. Her work can be found in inner cities and remote landscapes, as a site of pilgrimage for humans or as a habitat for animals. Time is an essential element in these large-scale works, which often combine the rhythms of water with flowing through cast metal forms that resemble plants or rocks.
Cristina Iglesias’s most recent commission is a site-specific permanent work for the new wing of the Museum of Fine Art Houston, designed by Steve Holl, alongside international artists including El Anatsui, Carlos Cruz-Díez, Olafur Eliasson, Trenton Doyle Hancock and Ai Weiwei.
About the Artist
Cristina Iglesias was born in San Sebastián, Spain in November 1956. She currently lives and works in Madrid. Throughout her career, Iglesias has defined a unique sculptural vocabulary, building immersive and experiential environments that reference and unite architecture, literature and culturally site-specific influences.
Iglesias constructs suspended pavilions, latticed panels, passageways and mazes rendered in metal, stone or resin. Walls and canopies may be made up of texts or ripple with organic form, poetically redefining space by confounding interior and exterior, organic and artificial. Combining industrial materials with natural elements she produces unexpected sensory sites for the viewer.
Her work has been shown recently in solo exhibitions at Centro Botín, Santander, Spain (2018); Musée de Grenoble, France (2016); BOZAR, Centre for Fine Arts, Brussels, Belgium (2014); a large retrospective at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain (2013); and at Casa Français, Rio de Janeiro (2013). Earlier solo shows have been exhibited at the Fondazione Arnaldo Pomodoro, Milan (2009); Ludwig Museum, Cologne (2006); Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2003); Whitechapel Gallery, London (2003); Museu Serralves, Fundaçao Serralves, Oporto (2002); Guggenheim New York (1997); and Guggenheim Bilbao, Spain (1999).
She has participated in a number of international exhibitions and public commissions and has represented Spain at the 1986 and 1993 Venice Biennales and at the Sydney Biennale in 2012. Recent public commissions include Forgotten Streams at Bloomberg Headquarters in London (2017) and the enormous permanent public commission with Artangel, Tres Aguas – a Project for Toledo, Toledo, Spain (2014). In 2020 she was awarded the Royal Academy Architecture Prize, London.