On the occasion of the opening of the exhibition “Elemental” at Museo Anahuacalli, we interviewed Mexican artist Bosco Sodi together with the curator Dakin Hart, to share with our readers the making of this show, organized in collaboration with Hilario Galguera.
Mara Sartore: Let’s start from this amazing exhibition you’re having at Museo Anahuacalli. I think the first question that may rise when approaching your artwork and, in this specific case, your exhibition, is: What is your relationship with nature? Could you tell us about the process of creation behind your artworks?
Bosco Sodi: To me, the most important part in the creation of an artwork is the process. The act of researching and experimenting with materials is the most joyful part of the workflow. I still believe in the essence of material and the accidents involved in working with organic material like rocks and other raw materials.
M.S.: So do you spend a lot of time in researching materials? Do you travel to find out new elements?
B.S.: Of course, I travel, I do projects and research, which may lead or not to surprising results.
Dakin Hart: You should see the movie of the making of the cubes to understand the process. He prepare the surface, he performs with the material. You realize how simple is the process: he sits beside the fire and it’s all about living with the material, being the materia and research.
M.S.: This leads me to my second question. What about the role of playing with the material? “Elemental” bring us to the essential and the childhood and at the same time this has also references to scientific concepts.
B.S.: I’m a big follower of the wabi-sabi philosophy upon which I base my whole work. It’s about embracing the accident, embracing the non-control, the passing of time. Playing with organic material makes things unique. And in order to embrace the accident you have to play, the scientific approach doesn’t lead to an accident. I always try to play to get completely different results.
D.H.: See, for example, the cubes by Bosco. They are always still surprising.
B.S.: Yes, when I was working in the studio at Casa Wabi, I didn’t expect this result, it was a big surprise and it was a unique result. When I travel and leave my studio for a few time, when I come back to the studio, I see them in a different way.
D.H: You know, Bosco has three children and this probably influence his work. Kids do not worry to much about mistakes, they turn it to something playable. This is also what wabi-sabi is about: is about engaging with nature. Bosco waits for these cubes.
M.S.: When I first came here in this place, the structure of the museum reminded me of archeological sites and even the sculptures in the building have something to deal with divinity. So, how has the curator displayed the objects within this context? During or after the process of creation do you perceive that your artworks have acquired some power or a special energy?
B.S.: My works are shamanic! You might think I’m pretentious stating this, but I really believe they are. This is the reason why I make them solid. People should read them in the simplest way. I really believe that they form an energy point.
M.S. What about leaving the curator all the power of displaying you artwork. Was it a proof of how someone can engage to your objects?
B.S. We are friend since few years and we have many points in commons, as the sensibility. I know I can trust him and he has the sensibility to understand my artwork.
D.H.: Great objects can bring to very different interpretations and Bosco is able to create artworks that can be interpreted by visitors. This is the strength of his art.
M.S: What about your relationship with Mexico City? During the press conference you stated that you often visited this museum when you were a child. In which area of the city did you grow up Why did you leave Mexico City?
B.S. I lived in the south of the city. My family was strongly engaged to the cultural scene of the city. We often went to museums and art exhibitions. In particular, I remember the garden of this museum which is one of my best memories. So when I was asked to have a show here, I thought that this was the perfect place to present my work.
M.S.: Now you live in New York, you have a studio there and in Barcelona too. Don’t you miss a bit living in Mexico City? How do you feel in New York?
B.S. Well, actually it’s 20 years I left Mexico City but I don’t miss living here. I like the city a lot, but I enjoy living in New York and I would like to keep my position in this city. In New York you can live in the way you prefer, artists are free to express their identity.
M.S.: Is there a place in Mexico City you love more than others? Where do you usually go when you come back here?
B.S.: I really enjoy spending my time with friends around bars and cantinas. El Mirador in Chapultepec, is one of my favorite places. Another restaurant I like is Nicos in Azcapotzalco.
M.S.: A last question about your friendship…When did you start working together?
D.H: It was almost 2 years ago when Agustín Arteaga, the director of the Museo Nacional de Arte (MUNAL) in Mexico City connected us to organize an exhibition together and since then we started working together.
Born in Mexico City in 1970 and currently based in New York City, Bosco is known for his richly textured, vividly colored large-scale paintings. Sodi has discovered an emotive power within the essential crudeness of the materials that he uses to execute his paintings. Focusing on material exploration, the creative gesture, and the spiritual connection between the artist and his work, Sodi seeks to transcend conceptual barriers. Sodi leaves many of his paintings untitled, with the intention of removing any predisposition or connection beyond the work’s immediate existence. The work itself becomes a memory and a relic symbolic of the artist’s conversation with the raw material that brought the painting into creation.
He is senior curator of The Noguchi Museum since 2013.