Sebastián DÁVILA




Space Project
March 12 to April 11 2015


Text Room

In 2005 I left the Faculty of Architecture in Barcelona and started working as a photographer. Architecture fascinated me, but I understood that I could develop my interest in space through a medium without restrictions almost immediately, where I did not depend on anyone else.

Recently, immersed in the transition from photography to sculpture, I remembered my time as a student of architecture. I really enjoyed the time to decide where to draw the character representing the human scale in the finished blueprints. The moment to inhabit the space. A moment that has been present and has been instrumental in all my work.

I am interested in the relationship between space and scale of the human figure as an allegory of our experience in a reality full of questions that have no answers. In my street photography, I have explored this relationship looking for the moment to inhabit meticulously studied spaces with the presence of a passerby. When I decided to create my own spaces for Monólogos [Monologues], I could relax the constraints of reality, avoid geographical connotations, and do what I could never do as a student of architecture: things do not have to have a justification. The absurd became an essential element to explore the existential ambiguity in the space-individual relationship. The transition was gradual, first with paper and cardboard models built to be photographed, and then by working with paper as a sculptural medium to finally arrive to the sculptures made from found objects, concrete, iron and wood.

By working with found objects and materials I had the pleasure of discovering a very similar process to that used in my street photography. Seeking spaces and studying ways of inhabiting them based on existing geometries. Giving importance to random elements within the composition such as stains, cracks or imperfections of a surface. Seeking architectural abstraction.

In Monólogos, there is no individual with which to contrast space: this is the first work in which I have not included a character. The chairs, doors and stairs suggest this character and give us references with which to measure the space.

I hope it is easy for the viewer to become the absent character, to sit in the chair, to inhabit the space, to recite his or her own monologue. They are places to think out loud. Places with a lot of silence. Stage designs waiting for something to happen. A geometric game based on defining the limits of the vacuum. Constructions that generate a visual contradiction, that force us to determine the same distance as great and small at the same time.

I think it is hard not to get into the room and walk from one chair to the other, from the edge of space to the stairs that go nowhere, to climb that stairs even though they go nowhere, to generate minor irrational narratives. They are spaces where the absurd is allowed, where the act of being is not subject to rational activity.


Sebastián Dávila


Press Release

For this exhibition, his first for sculpture, Dávila takes the moment when humans inhabit a space as his starting point. This ambiguous and continuous reflection on existence becomes the focus of Sebastián’s work. Monólogos (Monologues) is created as a project resulting from the artistic and thematic process that Dávila has been developing over the past two years. The artist began by photographing spaces he built on paper, and then spent time working on paper as the medium itself. Later, he embarked on a sculpture project mainly using iron, concrete and wood. Monólogos (Monologues) arises from opposite objects and elements that the artist rethinks as scenarios where the encounter between space and the human scale breaks all spatial and dimensional limitations and invites the audience into the piece, to become the absent character and recite their own monologue. Seeking an architectural abstraction and a rigorous geometric composition that started with his photographic work, Dávila manages to synthesize and control the limits of empty space. He resumes the study of the subtleties and imperfections of the material and collected objects to inhabit them based on existing geometries, achieving a balance between the rigidity and mutability of matter. These spaces, full of empty chairs and doors and stairs that go nowhere, suggest small irrational narratives. They are spaces where the absurd is allowed, where the act of being is not subject to rational activity.

Dávila’s work has been exhibited at international art fairs such as ArtBo, ArteAméricas and Fotográfica Bogotá, as well as in major museums and galleries, including most notably the Museum of Latin American Art in California (MOLAA). His photography has been exhibited in cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Washington, Miami, Barcelona and Kyoto. In 2010, Sebastián Dávila received the Solo Exhibition District Award at Galería Santa Fe.