Cristian Diez Sanchez
Born in Santiago de Chile, Cristian Diez Sanchez spend his youth working with copper in a family arts craft business that opened the world of sculpture. The 5 years of academic training were spent also in Chile studying architecture and when it was finished, he moved at the beginning of 1976 to Barcelona, Spain and began working as a designer to earn a living. What should have been a short period, turned into nearly 30 years working as an industrial designer, graphic designer and image consultant, varying in years and with different companies. From 2000, he add to his skills housing renovations and nearly in parallel he took in charge the development and management of a website of a tourist apartment company.
It was not until 2014 when his work started going slower, that he could look back to the incipient work that had been left in the art craft workshop back in Santiago and decided that it was time to get back to it closing the gap in between. Having studied drawing, metal engraving, architecture and with all the years of experience as an industrial and graphic designer in sculpture, he began as a self-taught person working in sculpture and using the materials that were more close to him and to the workshop that needed to be completely transformed from the old design studio.
The place itself has many limitations to be a real sculpture workshop – to start with has very little natural ventilation. So as a first step and in an experimental way, he decides to use the materials that could be more related to his previous works as a designer, and that he could work more easily with: cardboard and recycled cardboard boxes, some pieces of wood, normal glue and acrylic paint. Very economic materials have allowed him to work intensely without having to be in financial trouble. Working all this time manually with basic tools and recycled material has been an interesting exercise. This has served to highlight the meaning and importance of learning the manual trades of the artisan in an industrialized world, and it turns to recover in some way the organization of the work learned at a very young age in the artisan workshop with the family.
The concept of Arte Povera is closely linked to the basis of the work carried out by the use of very basic materials and tools and also the concept of Minimalism by trying to simplify the figure as much as possible to achieve a strong expression with minimal elements. The work done is completely defined by these two bases adding Brutalism, due to the expressive violence that the works done reduced to their minimum expression take from their interior. The simpler the figure, the harsher the reality it expresses, with no traps or veils. Its been a constant in the work the idea of getting to basis removing everything that could be superfluous to arrive at a series where the bare cardboard is the only thing used to build the figures.
Here is where Rationalism appears because nothing that has been done is improvised; the different stages have been planned to be able to build the following steps on top of these. Even more, the themes vary, as it is a way of forcing the imagination constantly, needing also to have several projects in line waiting to come out when another is finished without an interruption or also to be able to develop two different projects at the same time. And within all these variables of work the human being and his ability to connect with others, is the constant that relates everything. In all the work the human figure is always present, expressed in different states of abstraction and in different forms of relating to others, being loneliness a constant that ends up giving orders to all the work.
It is recurrent to see the human being surrounded by people who not only do not help but also can create barriers and make it even more difficult to build up relations with others. We know that coexistence is difficult and sometimes people look the ways to make coexistence even more difficult when the value of individualism gains over all the others. This time of greater isolation as a result of the Covid pandemic has shown more clearly how people react as individuals without thinking that the real solutions need to be global on a global scale and not only protecting small groups.
This time of reflection has put all the work done in a more clear perspective, knowing nearly from the beginning that working with recycled packaging cardboard, due to its characteristics, can be easily damaged and can be affected by the effects of damp. It’s clear that the low investment in materials has allowed working with great freedom; without having to be linked to the world of galleries and with no need to transform creative work into money. Taking this into account, the work carried out during these years, has more the characteristic of prototypes or models, of projects to be developed in the future. It has been a very creative learning period that needs to be expressed in a different way, as the feeling was that the pieces should be in much larger sizes: the spectator is no longer a passive viewer but can interact with the work, walking under, playing around or just having the feeling that the forms part of the work.
In the years ahead, after having been working along for many years with recycled cardboard, there was the need to change: this year I made some experiments in plywood and Corten steel. This is the time to get involved with the industrial processes and get in contact with metalworkers, foundry, wood workshops and different new technologies such as the digitization of work, 3d prototypes, etc. A complicated time, in which external financial resources will be needed; the craftsman in his workshop will need the support of Patrons or Sponsors and Curators to be able to transform the prototypes into real pieces in much bigger sizes. A great challenge full of unknowns that will need the support of investors to move forward.
Keeping the concepts of Arte Povera and Minimalism, which are the basis together with the Rationalism and the Brutalism, as a form to impact the viewer that needs to become part of the work also. The artist doesn’t want to alien himself from his work but wants to be the protagonist making the viewer not only a spectator but a participant in the work, to share the experience.