Políptico VII, 2002

Polyptych VII, 2002
Installation, 250 x 600 cm

Cristina Iglesias belongs to the generation of Spanish artists who came to prominence in the late eighties, and who repositioned Spain’s artistic production on the international scene. Iglesias is interested in the relationship between objects and space, and her body of work includes objects that create moods and open up impossible, illusory or contradictory spaces. Another recurring element is her interest is texture, which she reproduces on a large scale in her organic works. Both of these aspects are present in the objects she transforms into architectural elements (canopies, blind walls, false ceilings and doors, for example) and also in her silkscreen prints on copper or fabric, mounted on large steel or aluminium panels. Políptico VII falls into this latter group. In her silkscreen prints, Iglesias usually works with the idea of the series, creating several works with similar titles: the name of each work refers to the number of elements that it consists of (diptych, quadriptych, or polyptych), along with its numbering within the series. Like the other works in this series, Políptico VII consists of silkscreen prints on copper mounted on six large steel sheets, which create the illusion of architectural spaces and three-dimensional sculptures. Iglesias dramatises the space so that the spectator seems to enter a stage set.

In spite of its apparent simplicity, Políptico VII is the result of a process that brings three different media into play: the creation of scale models or small sculptural stage sets, photography and silkscreen printing. Art critic Michael Tarantino describes the process as follows: “Take a cardboard box. Flatten it. Cut it at the joints. Cut a rectangular piece in one of the flaps. Suddenly, a door appears. Cut out a rectangle. A window. Put one piece in front of the other and place another piece on top. A roof. Place a third and then a fourth piece. A house. Do this ten times. Photograph it. A city. The structures that appear in Cristina Iglesias’ series of copper photographs are deceptively simple.” (Tarantino, Michael: «Cristina Iglesias: entre lo natural y lo artificial», Cristina Iglesias. Barcelona: Polígrafa, 2002, p. 99) Cristina Iglesias takes wooden or cardboard boxes and uses them to make ephemeral sculptures, and then combines them so as to form an urban landscape made out of waste and detritus. She then photographs these models and enlarges the images, emphasising their distortion. Finally, the image is screenprinted onto a shiny surface that makes it lose its photographic trace, so that it becomes an undefined architectural element or structure. It is no accident that her work process starts with scale models – they play a key role in her work because they offer her a three-dimensional laboratory in which to explore the notion of space.

Iglesias uses architecture and photography, and their transformative potential, to create a space that we recognise as false (the fragments of words on the cardboard boxes immediately alert us to this) but somehow interpret as a contradictory geography. A trompe l’oeil that we read as illusion and simulacrum, as dysfunction, but that nonetheless attracts us. The scale, the precarious materials and the ephemeral aspect of the structure all contribute to making the work somehow vague, and place the spectator in an ambiguous position. An additional element, aside from the illusionist effect of the space created by the scale models and photographs, is the spectator's reflection on the metal surface, which brings an extra dimension to the work in terms of space and scale.

Technical details

Original title:
Políptico VII
Registration number:
Iglesias, Cristina
Date created:
Date acquired:
MACBA Collection. MACBA Foundation
Object type:
Screen print on copper
250 x 600 cm (height x width)
Edition number:
Ed. 2/2
MACBA Collection. MACBA Foundation
© Cristina Iglesias, VEGAP, Barcelona
It has accessibility resources:

The MACBA Collection features Catalan, Spanish and international art and, although it includes works from the 1920s onwards, its primary focus is on the period between the 1960s and the present.

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