When I first entered the city of Valencia, in fallas, it was a real shock; for a sculptor of monumental work to see all that, to immerse oneself in that fascinating world full of great sculptures was like a dream. Over the years the visits were passing, and little by little, a deep critical sense began to appear…
Could so many resources, ingenuity, hard work and creativity create a greater impact? Could other values and spatial sensibilities be generated in addition to social criticism? Can a sculpture or a fault create a more intense, more enriching, deeper and lasting socio-cultural-artistic impact?
These are questions that arise from the acceptance of the great power of transformation that public sculpture has and above all a monumental one (more than 3 m. high). To think that its only use is to be a decorative object is to deprive it of one of its greatest powers. Art has the capacity to touch people’s Soul, to modify their emotions, their conscience, their happiness. Let us remember that they are in sight 24 hours a day, every day of the year and for many years.
For a long time we have been witnessing the sad spectacle of seeing sculptures installed in certain public places without taking into account the impact of the place, the needs of the environment or the very needs of the community that runs it. There is a proliferation of roundabouts with works that, either by speech, or execution, or scale, are clearly inappropriate. (opinions gathered from a large number of articles in the press and on the Internet)
All this clearly leads us to consider:
Can it be done better?
Is the impact of a sculpture so great?
Undoubtedly, and good proof of this are the cases of works that we see and that attract us, suggest emotions or provoke them, this is usually verified by observing the attitude of the spectators or passers-by, in some cases they stay by the sculpture, they observe it, they take photographs of it or the children play around it. A good example of this is the monumental sculpture “Portal del Vent”, in red, located on the Pansa quay in the port of Denia. This may be a good indication that there are works that achieve this.
Could an ephemeral sculpture, like a fault generate these emotions, can impact so much in an urban space, even for three days?
From my point of view it’s clear that it can. I think that every year a fantastic opportunity is lost to create new spaces in the cities where the faults are present; to build places with another sensibility, with another aesthetic and above all, with other spatial perceptions.
It is evident that there are many Fallas artists and Fallas Boards who have sufficient sensitivity, and economic capacity, so that every year modifications are created in the spaces, but they are not very visible. Perhaps they are more focused on large cities with enormous capital contributions, but this could be done with a little ingenuity and other approaches. A square can be transformed into a cave, a forest full of strange beings, etc. There are many possibilities, and with very little variation in budget.
It is a daring and confident act to propose the world, the space of the Falla in another way, and it is certainly possible, we must try, we must have that commitment to the city, with those who support the Falla and the Junta fallera.
My sensibility tells me that there is a pending subject, within this section of the very rich Valencian culture that are the Fallas.
The urban space is the public place in which we move, it is owned by all citizens, is the space where meetings, movements, some shows, etc. These places have an identity that is provided by some architectural, artistic or historical element, for example in Denia: the red cross, the four cantons, the social centre, the roundabout. In all cases we are talking about environments in which life arises or moves. Normally the idiosyncrasy of a city or town is given by what happens in its streets, squares, corners, ports, etc. If in these spaces there is an artistic exhibition it will influence all the people who observe it; according to its colour, form, material, we will have a reaction or another. Example in Denia: the street the road with the graffiti painted, and here I call attention; there is one that is created with recycled materials, in black, its impact is different, it has relief, touchable materials.
One of the peculiarities of the cities that transmit a lot of cultural richness is the proliferation of art samples in its streets, this generates a pleasant impact, you feel like going out to the streets, walking through its gardens with sculptures, mural paintings, musicians in the streets.
All these concepts are applicable to the Fallas world, where sculpture, architects and artists come together.