by Rahul KumarDec 22, 2021
‘Man versus nature’ – I am always amused by this statement. Man IS part of nature, isn’t it? And the sooner we stop calling the two entities separately, we, the humankind, will hopefully begin to see that we are only one part of our planet and that we need to coexist with a much larger ecosystem. Themes of nature have been an area of interest for visual artists globally since time immemorial. Creative practitioners sought after the natural environment for its beauty and mystery, to convey emotions of tranquility, and often as a source of inspiration to introduce the organic in the manmade. Mexican artist Bosco Sodi does all this in his art, but takes it a step further. He ‘collaborates’ actively with nature to produce his works. While his focus is materiality and process, he does not ascribe intellectual meaning to them. “…normally, I work for a few days on the clay or the paintings and then I let it follow its own path. In order to achieve that, I let the elements and the organic-ness plays its own role,” he says.
I speak to the contemporary artist on the sidelines of his solo exhibition titled Totality, presented at König London.
Rahul Kumar (RK): Your practice is an ongoing exploration of material and processes. How do you straddle the two distinct worlds of painting on canvas and sculpture in clay simultaneously?
Bosco Sodi (BS): I think in my work there is a very thin line between sculpture and painting. Actually, in Japan, they call me sculptor when they see my paintings. The approach to both is very similar. I work with my bare hands focusing a lot on the process… much more than the outcome. The density of the clay and the material I use for painting is very similar. Also, my paintings are very sculptural, I use a very thick canvas and I like it to look like an object that has a very important relationship to the space it occupies.
RK: Chance plays a significant role in all your works and experimentative approach is central to your art. How do you balance the aspects of ‘in complete control’ and ‘surrendering to the elements’ ?
BS: I believe that the accident, the uncontrolled, the unpredictable, and aging due to the flow of time makes a work of art unique. In the case of my work, normally, I work for a few days on the clay or the paintings and then I let it follow its own path. In order to achieve that, I let the elements and the organic-ness plays its own role. Even for me, the final result at the end is a surprise.
RK: In continuation, environmental conditions and alchemy are equal partners in the making of your works. How do you address the idea of authorship?
BS: As I mentioned, my work focuses on its process in a very non-dualistic way. I never think about the outcome, rather focus much more on the process. At the end, the authorship of course belongs to me, because I become a tool of nature. I can decide the colour, the shape, and other factors but at the end the final outcome is dictated by the elements and the organic processes of the work. I see it as a collaboration.
RK: Nature and the cosmic seem to be a recurring point of reference in your recent works. Please tell us more about the narrative you wish to achieve?
BS: Since I was a child, I had always been attracted to nature. For me in a personal way it has always been very important. As my work is so organic with chances involved, it becomes a resemblance of nature itself. I try, with my work, that when the viewers see it, it gives them sort of tools to understand the universe, themselves, and their relationship with nature. I hope that my works remind my viewers that we are here for a very short time, and we have to respect our environment.
RK: In reference to your recent exhibit titled Totality, you say that your intent is for your art to produce a feeling of connection to the viewer’s inner world with surroundings and nature. How do you expect the audience to take this journey?
BS: I think the approach to my work should be very elemental. To see it with no preconceived ideas and to take your own conclusion. It has to be read with the senses and not with the mind. At the end, I like to think that seeing my work is like seeing a starry night, a sunset, or a beautiful organic shape. And that will help us connect with our own selves. It has to be a very honest and simple reading. It is not an intellectual work.