Kasmin, Blain|Southern, and Galería Hilario Galguera are delighted to announce the unveiling of Atlantes, a new monumental site-specific work by Mexican artist Bosco Sodi on March 4, 2019. Situated along the Oaxacan coast nearby to the artist’s foundation, Casa Wabi, in the largely uninhabited area near to Puerto Escondido, Mexico, Atlantes is the most ambitious work of land art in the region in recent years. Demanding over two years of construction, the project consists of 64 clay cubes of 7 feet x 7 feet x 7 feet; each cube is composed of 1,600 clay bricks made by hand by Sodi and a team of local craftsman in a traditional Oaxacan kiln nearby to the site. In total, the installation is the sum of over 102,000 clay bricks, weighing over 700 tonnes.
Atlantes’ monumental scale and gridded structure form an observatory for experiencing the dramatic variance in light and landscape at different times of day, and over the course of the year. Standing amongst the cubes, the dramatic sightlines of the landscape are reconfigured according to the viewer’s orientation, emphasizing the power of perspective and inducing a feeling of reverence and awe in response to the ocean, desert, and mountains that frame the area. As well as providing an opportunity to connect with the present environment, Atlantes also traces a sense of the land’s entropy and various environmental effects over more significant periods of time—through erosion, the inevitable growth of plant life amongst the bricks, and the shifting vista of the beach and dunes nearby.
As Dakin Hart, curator of the Noguchi Museum, said of the project: “Eventually, it will leave the artistic conceit of a sublime, preindustrial minimalism behind: pass gradually from art to archaeology, then to nature, and return dust to dust.”
Sodi employs methods of production that retain the essential character of the local elements of earth, water, air, and fire from which the sculptures are created. He begins his sculptures by extracting raw earth, mixing it with water and sand to form clay—an ancient medium. The clay is shaped and smoothed by hand into solid cubes that are left to air dry in the sun at his studio. Once cured, the cubes are fired in a traditional brick kiln with wood, jacaranda seeds, and coconut shells—a process that imbues the cubes with varied terracotta hues, streaks of green and black, and a multitude of fissures in the surface, giving each cube a unique identity.
Image: Atlantes installation view, Oaxaca, Mexico, 2019. Photo by Sergio López.