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National Gallery of Modern Art
Jaipur House, India Gate
New Delhi - 110003
tel: +91 11 2338 6111     fax: +91 11 2338 4560
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Signs of Skin
Date: 11 Nov - 30 Nov 2009

To commemorate the celebration of 50 years of diplomatic relations between India & Colombia, National Gallery of Modern Art presents Signs of Skin; a solo show of metal sculptures by Colombian sculptor Claudia Hakim from November 11, 2009 to November 30, 2009 at National Gallery of Modern Art, Jaipur House, India Gate, New Delhi.

Says Prof Rajeev Lochan, Director, NGMA: “The constant factor in Claudia’s different thematic investigations throughout the diverse stages of creative process is a sense of modular construction, geometry and purity. Claudia Hakim’s sculptures, a significant milestone in Colombia’s artistic landscape, communicate a particularly rich artistic language in a clear, direct and concrete manner and are being shown in India for the first time.”

Beginning her artistic career in the late 1970s, Claudia Hakim has explored different thematic interests and always proposed precise and clear responses. In the creative process, she applies her skill and clarity to the definition of the sculptural language. She transmits her ability to see beyond appearances through the diversity of her formal creations; constructing forms by building, weaving and assembling the different elements which she later wraps and unwraps in a playful definition of her sculptural aesthetics but, always within an essential modular format.

Hence, inspired by fabric weaving, jewellery (magnified necklaces and arm rings) and textiles, the sculptor manipulates and transforms basic elements into superlative large sculptures with the use of rings, bolts, screws, nuts, springs, metallic sheets and steel mesh to create geometric shapes, triangles and circles for her present exhibition. The work proposes a variety of orderly and rigorous geometrical forms. At times, the forms are looser, they move more freely. The multiplication of forms leads, invariably, to a purist aesthetic proposal - clear, clean, defined. The tactile, sensorial appeal and the malleability of the sculptures make them even richer and more magnificent environmental sculptures.

The themes that the sculptor addresses and the new ideas that are suggested are conveyed to the visitor in a magical way, encouraging them to participate in her works. She has the capability to induce senses to the point of generating a wish to interact with it and, even to caress them, by a spatiality that generates in the observer a shuddering surprise before leading the observer to immersing in the always encouraging environment of fantasy. Perhaps the apparent contradiction that takes place between the materials and the idea, without leaving aside an astonishing result, establishes a game that has a playful intention and, in turn, an undertone of irony. In this process, the assembly of objects and the ensuing formal findings, that entangle with the most uplifting modernist tradition, has allowed the artist to move about the twists and turns of a permanent essay which is in turn, and fed by a meticulous rigor, pushes away the results of any type of formula, or of a conceptual monotony, to produce an endless number of images and insinuations.

The need to express herself through a textile language, in which she makes the eastern expression of her lineage and the Andean richness of her living environment manifest, the artist is able to establish an unsettling grammar of geometries and suggestions that bring to mind an untold number of associations with some of the large art movements in the 20th century. It is a piece of work with an exceptional refinement, which endless readings establish many possible levels of interrelations with the spectator based on a deep reasoning by the artist that, consequently, suggests a permanent reflection by the audience.

Thus, her piece of works exudes extraordinary formal freedom and suggests very long-winded paths. There is no doubt that, based on what could be defined as a visual instigation established by a series of elements apparently unusual, Claudia Hakim ends by rendering valuable, and especially audacious testimony, of the unending possibilities that matter has when related to art and, in particular, with the plasticity that, no doubt, struggles between abstraction and figuration, without losing sight, in any way, of a lucid dimension that fascinates the spectator.

Claudia Hakim is, thus, a weaver of dreams and of radiance, who works with materials that result from the industry and from the overt contemporaneousness of everything that is related to technology. She proposes, in line with the great constructivists, all kinds of geometric and luminous abstractions thanks to the masterful use of spaces or orifices. It is then, a proposal that nourishes particularly from that counterpoint offered by light and opacity and that strives to give a new dimension to the creator-spectator and creator-space relationships, based on the establishment of some sui generis environments, like immersed in a universe of fiction full of poetry, that arise from the interaction of everything that under other circumstances would have a commonplace and un-transcendental reading.

She oscillates between two artistic proposals: bi-dimensionality and tri-dimensionality. This oscillation is typical of those who craft their work on the basis of the multiplication of a basic element. Hakim understands the language of weaving, and she applies it and transports it to the realm of sculpture, where an oscillation is created between the rigidity of the material and the flexibility of the results. There are hardly any Colombian artists who can handle such extremes. The power of conviction, the passion and the creative charisma are the best weapons of Hakim’s sculptural communication. Another constant in her work is the presence of industrial materials. During the years in which she worked with fibres (1978-1990), preparing the basic modular element implied weaving the fabric. In the last two decades, her work is being made out of industrial remnants. For many, the use of industrial material involves recycling. In the hands of Claudia Hakim, industrial refuse is turned into sculptures of tremendous artistic magnificence

Image: Claudia Hakim, Metal Morphosys (Platinum Steel), 2009

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