Day & Night

Yesterday, I referred to the Spanish painter, Antonio Lopez Garcia.  This is one of two bronze head sculptures titled, “Day” (eyes open) and “Night” (eyes closed) out in front of the newly opened Fenway entrance to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.  The artist had an exhibit here in the Spring of 2008 and these heads were originally out in front of the Huntington Avenue entrance which is now closed due to a huge Museum expansion project.

Garcia did these sculptures (he had never ever done scultpures in this size before) in response to his grandchildren and they were completed uncharacteristically in a very timely manner.  He is well known for taking a very long time to finish his projects and even then, sometimes he does not finish.  I loved his attitude toward this phenomenon that might cause breakdowns in others: He says in the interview here that he does not apologize or agonize over things that are not completed.  He says, “You have to respect the reasons why the work was interrupted.”  He says that the layer upon layer of painting over something adds “weight’ to the evolving work.

In this same interview, he says his work is in response to  “something that bursts into my life that moves me” and that can be an open refrigerator, a bathroom, a table, a clothes rack.  In other words, simple, every day things.

He goes on to say that this foray into monumental scale in these bronze head sculptures he has found very interesting because although they are of his granchildren, the scale makes them transcend into a world where they become about many things, known or unkown.

When I left the museum yesterday, I had read nothing about these sculptures.  I wondered why they had been chosen to be outside the museum.  I wondered why the one with eyes open was facing west and the one with eyes closed was facing east.  I would have thought the reverse would have been right.

As I stood there, I thought well, here’s my reason that they were placed out in front.  Visiting a museum for me invariably leaves me feeling that my eyes are more fully open walking out than they were walking in.  I simply “see” in a different way as a result of exposure to the vision of the artists within.

When I got home, I googled my way through this artist and these sculptures.  They shall go from Boston to the Madrid train station where the terrorist bombings took place in 2005. Gulp.  I think this falls into the category of art in monumental scale taking on meaning, known and unkown, don’t you?

And, OH, YES, one more thing!  The artist said in one of the articles I read that the child’s head sculpture with the eyes open should be facing east.

“Yeah,” I said, polishing my brass buttons. “I knew it!”

© Pat Coakley 2008

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7 comments on “Day & Night”

  1. However, since they are of children, perhaps the mix up is art reflecting life?
    See, many children are awake when they should be asleep, and asleep when they should be awake. Perhaps the open eye to the East actually being shut is an unintentional reflection of that.

    Or perhaps the rising sun was too bright, and the sculpture closed it’s eyes. Then as the sun set in the West, the other opened it’s eyes to watch the colours as they sprayed across they sky.

    Or it could be a reflection of…..
    Or some college kid…..

    Yeah… See, again, I should NOT leave comments early in the morning.

  2. Sorry. That sculpture freaks me out a bit. Disembodied heads always do that to me.

  3. That is one incredible statue, I think I would’ve been in awe. Right now I feel so cut off from the world, such beauty to be seen and yet so far from me. Ah one day I shall see this statue face to face. One day.

  4. Great statue! and I like your ruminations about the eyes open/closed-East/West.
    The eyes opened and closed reminded me of the Shisa (lion-dog) statues seen outside of temple, shrines and other places in Japan. One shisa has its mouth open and the other has its mouth closed: open to keep away bad spirits and closed to keep in good spirits.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shisa

  5. A very different lawn ornament from the image I received today!

    I understand his statement about why his work can’t be rushed.
    Does it get done fast, or they way he invisions it.
    That’s his decision.

    I like your rationale of the facing direction of the eyes, because truly, had you not mentioned it, I might not have noticed right away.

  6. L: I love your idea of the “mix-up”! Early morning comments are encouraged!!
    S.Le: I’ve had two disembodied heads in past two weeks or is it three (funny how time flies when one is terrified) anyway…I promise, no more!
    Sanity, what I loved about this artist was his choice of subject: an open refrigerator, for example (we don’t have to wonder why I liked that, now do we?) and so it makes me think that no matter what my circumstance (or the world’s) there is something of value right around you. It’s comforting to me for some reason. Maybe cuz I don’t like to travel anymore even though I can? I don’t know.
    PR: Thanks for this link. I can see why you saw the similarity. These creatures are scary looking even when they are holding in the good spirits. If I were an evil spirit, I’d be staying away from Shisa, open or closed!!
    BL: Yes, I love that comment about the incomplete work. If you have time listen to the whole interview and google some of his work. He is the most obsessive painter which accounts for how long it takes him to complete something. That’s why when he chooses and “open refrigerator” he is committing himself to looking at the subject (he likes to paint in front of something not from a photograph) perhaps for years!

  7. […] in life, once learnt or realised it can be like a Full Moon Rising Over Crescent, it can be true Day & Night that lightens the load and brings you to “Quick! Pull my finger!” moments of joy. Its […]


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