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Paloma Torres

Miquel Adrià

Paloma Torres’ work belongs in a territory where sculpture and architecture meet and overlap: between the monument and the city, or between ornamentation and functionality. To a certain degree, her work reverts to a Mexican tradition that has tended to close the gap between both these disciplines until they blend into each other. The forerunners Juan O’gorman, Luis Barragán, Mathias Göeritz, Ricardo Regazzoni, or Alberto Kalach gave us fine examples of this, on both sides of that intangible frontier that allowed a library building to become a mural, a wall to become a monument, and some water towers to become urban icons.

Paloma Torres’ metropolitan landscapes are a synthesis of a moment in time, extracts of a cluster of apartment buildings in relief or a fragment of the city among a tangle of electric cables.

Her columns are autonomous --they are milestones that commemorate themselves. They are objects. In architecture, what counts is the space left free between the columns. Perhaps it is the same in a forest. The columns are instrumental and the space they define is the protagonist, the object. Nevertheless, here the values are inverted, the columns become positive. They draw from architecture their before and after: buildings in the process of construction and ruins. Metal rods open to the sky or a flattened platonic prism, these are subjects that paradoxically do not support anything --they lose their usefulness in order to acquire significance.

The metropolis is Torres’ preferred scenario. She is fascinated by its impermanence, by the artifact --she fixes instants in ceramic and bronze allowing one to perceive an aesthetic delight rather than a critical reading about the triviality of urban artifice. Beginning with the literary titles that she gives her pieces, Paloma Torres traps the urban landscapes in a pentagram of wire loops --a web of electric cables, to freeze what is ephemeral and flexible.  Her subjects --as well as her materials-- crystallize the ethereal, solidify fluids. They fix a time and define a space. Her forests of tattooed columns, like buildings with bindings and buildings with cables, depart from the literality of an architectural reference, to distance themselves in the process, to retreat into their essence and from there tell their story, their parts, their unions, and their scars. In Conjunto de ciudad, the bronze columns converted into a representation of a conglomeration of skyscrapers, cylindrical and terraced, on a human scale, depart from the germinal reference to become abstractions in the sensuality of the material, in the repetition of the parallel platforms, in the tension generated by their proximity. The phalluses in Paisaje blanco are probably the most sensual anthropomorphized pieces. Columns without capitals or torsos without heads in which, from beneath the bindings one can distinguish the shape of a column or a body. Paloma Torres creates images --with objects-- those already extant. She reaffirms them and interprets them.

Architecture is not construed from space and stones, but from impressions. It is not a building that is constructed, but an idea. Sculpture, on the other hand, is made of matter. Of clay that is handled --made by hand-- caressed and baked. And for both --architecture and sculpture-- the important element is not the space but the atmosphere it generates. And this, in the recreation of an urban atmosphere, is where Paloma Torres leads us.

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