Exhibitions, Chile, Santiago, 06 December 2017
Artist Statement
Elvira Valenzuela
Chilean sculptress

Always expressing myself through the medium of stainless steel, at times I have spoken of memory – of how it is formed abstractly in our imagination. I’ve also spoken of the dialogues between our consciousness and our inner self. Finally I have welcomed a new material: stone.

Seeking to understand the form of this new material and its confrontational relation with stainless steel, I’ve wanted to approach the difficult subject of time.

I’d like to speak of time “as the general form of sensitivity”, in the words of Kant. I want to refer to its passing – the passing of years in nature, especially on stone, and the tangible impact of its changes.

Time leaves vestiges on matter – profound and lasting marks.

These vestiges of time to which I refer transform nature, revealing new forms and issues beyond our understanding. They also unveil our human endeavours. Man’s impact on nature is well known; less so are the forms, relationships and tensions that nature awakens in us.

We might grow “accustomed to seeing” the retreat of glaciers, the eruptions of volcanoes, the descent of rivers, lakes in the landscape, but it would be far better to start anew with a fresh look, and again become conscious of our surroundings.

I am not trying to reconstruct the past, nor to ponder new cycles of time producing new combinations. I only wish to recreate this passage of time in our habitat, think of its form and feel its meaning. That is my challenge, in the words of Kant:
“space and time are the forms of our pure sensitivities and intuitions, which give structure to the things we know. Temporary determinations necessarily assume the intuition of space with the representation of objects and the perception of changes and movements.”

These changes and movements of form are what attracts my attention. When I portray them in drawings and then in three dimensions, unconsciously the relations between the materials surface, the unexpected equilibriums that are only possible in a nature subject to pressure and constant movement.

By including geometry, I want to emphasize civilization as a studied structure, mathematically in balance. But when geometry is related to “parts” of nature it acquires a confrontational, invasive, and even encompassing character.

Just as the forms of nature defy our space and time, occasionally they also need to be contained, conserved. After all, they were left in the hands of man, to be reinvented.

Let’s talk of nature. How do we contain it? How do we confront it? Or how does it also defend itself, and challenge us?

I cannot avoid mentioning nature’s presence, which bursts into our geometry. Is it the wish of having it present despite its absence? Or do I simply want to have evidence of our consciousness of its pure and ingenious existence, to assuage the destruction we generate by simply coexisting with it?

Energy in retreat which reveals an image, a story, and why not, a surprise for our soul.

These thoughts about nature appear unwillingly today because of the effect of time, but I willingly show them through my practice of art.

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