About Faith, Spring and Hope
An interview with the winners of the sculpture network Award: Pablo Redondro and Marian Rodríguez.
Let me be honest. When I was asked to conduct an interview with a Spanish artist who was awarded a prize by sculpture network at some art fair somewhere in the north of Spain, I thought it would just be another interview with the chance to get to know an interesting artist and his work. Easy as pie. However, this adventure developed into quite a complex structure of people, locations and events, plus some extra obstacles along the way – including my total lack of Spanish. However, after quite a lot of e-mails, phone calls and the interview itself, it turned out to be an inspiring story about faith, spring and hope. And of course, sculpture.
So, to avoid you having the same difficulties as I did in understanding the background of this whole story, I would like to give you some essential information right at the beginning and introduce the main characters, events and locations that play a role. For those of you who know all of them: feel free to skip the next few paragraphs!
Here we go.
SCULTO is an art fair in Logroño, Spain, which focuses on contemporary sculpture. It was founded in 2017 by Beatriz Carbonell Ferrer, together with Enrique Martínez Glera and Josémaría Esteban Ibáñez. Beatriz is also a member and coordinator of the sculpture network.
sculpture network is an organization you probably all know, as there is almost no chance that anyone reading this article has no connection whatsoever to our beloved network. [For the unlikely case though, just to be sure: sculpture network is an organization which promotes contemporary three-dimensional art in Europe by connecting artists, mediators, collectors and lovers of sculpture.]
Through the personal connection and the uniting aim to promote sculpture and artists, SCULTO and sculpture network maintain a close partnership.
The sculpture network Award is one of the results of this cooperation. Members of the sculpture network board are the jury behind awarding this prize, which is presented to an artist and/or gallery at the SCULTO art fair. It includes a one-year complimentary sculpture network membership. 2021 saw the prize being awarded for the third time. (Here you can find articles about the former awardees Teresa Esteban, 2018 and Tamara Jacquin, 2019).
This year, the artist Odnoder, whose real name is Pablo Redondro, was the winner of the sculpture network Award. Together with his wife, Marian Rodríguez, he founded the gallery Espacio Primavera 9. This gallery also received the Award.
So, to put it in a nutshell: The artist Odnoder and the gallery Espacio Primavera 9 were both granted the sculpture network Award at the SCULTO art fair in Spain. Everything clear now? Perfect. Then let’s find out what Marian (MR) and Pablo (PR) think about all of this!
When you got the message that you are the winners of the sculpture network Award, where were you and how did you feel?
PR: First of all, we were totally surprised. We had no idea. We were told when we were at the fair in Logroño. It is such a great honor to receive this prize from an international organization.
Pablo, you started your career as an architect – what were the steps from architecture to sculpture?
PR: I was always a sculptor. Even as a child I was interested in different materials and shapes. For me, one link between sculpture and architecture were models and miniatures. These always fascinated me. Then I started to study architecture and developed my personal style during the past 25 years. About 10 years ago I began experimenting with sculpture again.
What do you like about working as an artist?
PR: Architecture involves working with constructs, where you have to follow certain rules. I felt very limited. In sculpture I discovered my creative freedom and I could follow my projects from start to finish. I consider it more mine, my personal work.
Marian, what is the story behind the gallery Espacio Primavera 9?
MR: I fell in love with Pablo, and I always loved sculpture. He basically gave me the gallery as a present after our honeymoon. I manage the gallery and we want it to be a place for people to connect and show works of both established and emerging artists.
PR: I designed a special place for artists and especially for three-dimensional art. So the room can be seen as a sculpture in itself.
The gallery is called “Spring 9”. Why did you choose this name?
MR: That is because the gallery is located in the Travesía Primavera 9 – the Spring(time) Street Number 9. It is quite a short street which has its beginning in the Calle de la Esperanca – the Street of Hope, and ends in the Calle de la Fe – the Street of Faith. So spring connects hope and faith. Which gives the gallery a very nice setting.
Pablo, your sculptures are all made out of wood. Do you use this material in your architecture, too?
PR: Yes, for example the gallery has two huge wood columns in the middle of the exhibition room.
And what is your connection to wood?
PR: Wood is an organic material and I really like to work with it. It is a very intensive process and for me it is also important to honor the material. There is a certain essence or soul in wood.
Is there a special kind of wood with which you like to work?
PR: I do like to work with wood from local olive trees. But every type of wood has its own character. Different shapes require different kinds of wood, so I also work with Burmese teak, oak and ipe, a South American tree. I always search for the most suitable timber for a certain shape. Sometimes the structure of the wood changes the original idea to something new.
From where do you get your inspiration?
PR: I find my inspiration in nature and in the human shape. I then create very spiritual pieces that express the essence of the soul. This happens on a figurative level but also in the way I handle the material. An artist I really admire is El Greco.
What do you think is the role of art in general, and sculpture in particular, in society?
MR: I think we both agree that art and sculpture are fundamental for feeling, understanding, experience and learning about society. It is about bringing people together. For us it’s important to not only elevate art into white cubes and create prestigious places, but to invite people from outside to come into our gallery.
PR: That’s why we also organize a lot of events and see our art-space as a place for recreation. Through art we have created a very beautiful kind of community where you can make new friends.
Oh, I like the idea of Spring Street connecting hope and faith, and the fact that art and your gallery is used to connect people.
MR: Yes – that’s a nice way of seeing it.
Thank you to Marian and Pablo for taking the time for the interview and Ying, for translating! Last but not least: here are some extracts from the jury’s statements:
“The jury is touched by the dedication with which these slender wooden figures are made. They are the result of an intense dialogue with the material wood, and its source: nature.”
“The gallery Espacio Primavera 9 distinguishes itself by its focus on three-dimensional art. It doesn’t walk the trodden path of the familiar well-known names but searches for international sculpture with a high quality.”
Author: Elisabeth Pilhofer
Elisabeth is a freelance editor and cultural manager based in Munich.
Published: March 2022