It cannot be underestimated how much of a shock it is to come into a contemporary art gallery and instead of being greeted by white walls and a science lab level of cleanliness, to instead be confronted with charcoal grey paving stones and sunken pools of audibly trickling water in beds of metallic roots.
I had come to Marian Goodman Gallery to see the Jeff Wall exhibition. A singular artist and photographer that was the first to challenge the scale of photos, blowing images up to the point of subject and viewer at a 1:1 ratio. Upstairs in the wonderful architectural space are four or five of his giant images. Only one, with a vast blue desert sky captivated me for very long. But downstairs my jaw had dropped.
Cristina Iglesias heralds from Spain and her last and most significant show in the UK was twelve years ago at the Whitechapel. She has represented Spain twice at the Venice Biennale and although a permanent installation was commissioned by Artangel last year and is in situ in Toledo, this is shamefully the first I have seen if her work.
Wells and water springing from the ground are mystical and necessary in equal measure. Their allure and need has gone hand in hand with man since our first settlements. These are themes and concerns never far from Iglesias's practise.
The aluminium used in these works appears as if the veins and workings of an organism, as though the very gallery floor, once pulled up, shows an urban jungle, a biotech zone of reeds and cables, shining branches and roots.
Closer to the viewers' eyes, in a smaller space a weighty lighter stone sarcophagus holds not a body but another mercurial landscape of shine and twinkle, trickle and flow. The molten metal reflects and reacts to the water within it, all carefully framed by a minimal aesthetic.
A final gallery, before the stairs up to the Wall's, collects some recent wall based work. These are monochromatic paintings of alternate schemes, future realities in the oeuvre of Iglesias. They depict further impossible topographies and their settings. The frame of these underground zones a clean lined, architectural space - complete with trees as street furniture.
Perhaps very fitting of her next project; the press release talks of Iglesias, a sculptor of a very horizontal focus working with Renzo Piano - an architect most famous for the Shard and reaching higher than anyone else.
http://mariangoodman.com/exhibition/2404/installation-views until 19th December