I know there are a lot of people who are mad, angry or just generally enraged at the sculptor Sebastian because of the monumental X being erected here in Juarez, but at Friday night’s lecture at the El Paso Museum of Art, he explained some of the underlying ideas behind the sculpture.
Among other ideas, he cited the X as a symbol of mestizo, the melding of Indigenous and European cultures which is at the heart of Mexico, in addition he cited pre-hispanic cultures which use symbols referring to the four directions and include the sun in the center. There is also the X in the word Mexico and he also mentioned a sense of reaching up and straining to attain a goal
All of this encourages a separation of the aesthetic considerations from economic ones. I could make a very good aesthetic case for having a ferrari or a porsche, but cannot economically justify it regardless of how much it might “enhance” my prestige. The question of whether this sculpture was an economically justifiable expenditure should be considered separately from the purely artistic merits, and I think that his explanation went a long way to show many in the packed auditorium that there was more to this huge sculpture than a letter of the alphabet.
His lecture was half presenation and half Q and A, and in the first half Sebastian playfullydemonstrated, rather than simply explained, the concerns underlying his work. He has always been fascinated with geometric forms, and he showed some models he had created a long time ago which contained hexagonals and rectangles within cubes. In something of a geometric magic show, he took out a cube, opened it up and twisted it outward to reveal within a hexagonal or another such form which he removed and set aside. Opening the forms up removing them and then reintegrating them back into one unified whole was actually much more entertaining than it sounds on paper. It was playful and delightful, but also showed how all of his later works have come about to be basically the same idea writ large. One large elongated cube was a tribute to Constantin Brancusi, and using the same type of form within a form he not only revealed the play of geometry but also copied the look of Brancusi’s work. A fascinating demonstration by an extremely amiable and internationally famous sculptor. He was unable to stay around for a reception as he had to dash to the Juarez airport for a flight to Monterrey, but said he would be back in May for the final touches to the X and will presumably make himself available to answer more questions then.-david sokolec