Leonora Pardo is a sculptor working on figurative pieces themed around childhood. She has travelled from Chile to do the Residency at the Barcelona Academy of Art.

Why did you decide to do this Residency? What were you doing before?

I studied Fine Arts at university so my profession is visual artist, specialised in sculpture. Before coming to Barcelona I worked like many artists – I gave sculpture classes in a university in Chile and I also had my studio where I worked every day on my own work.

I decided to come here in order to travel, to see more art. I always felt that my art would not work as well if I just stayed in Chile; I needed to see other realities and other forms of art.

 

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Tell us about your current concept and ideas. What do you hope to achieve during the Residency?

My work has always been themed around childhood, and around the materials or popular iconography of the 90s in Chile. Anime is the source of my work, that’s where I get my inspiration. I’ve been working on the iconography of the Nenuco dolls for a while. My work is about childhood in general. I was born in 1990, so I grew up with the adverts that were on television in that time that were all these Nenuco dolls and this was the same for all of the little girls of my generation back home. All the women who are now 27 to 30 years old can identify with la Rosalba or any Nenuco that was on television.

 

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I work with these dolls with the idea of dignifying childhood and that’s why I work with materials that last a long time. Before coming here I worked with classical materials such as stone and iron. While childhood doesn’t last, the sculptures do. There’s also a dark side to it because I’m an adult and wanting to represent something of childhood has to be filtered through the adult mind and then it becomes something not completely clean, it’s not an inoffensive image anymore.

At the moment in the Residency I am working on a series but getting into it slowly since I’m in a new country. I’ve come with the plan to learn new techniques. I’m not sure what exactly yet but I’m working with moulds that I’ve never tried before like silicone moulds and I also discovered a material that is called jesmonite. This has worked very well for me and I had never worked with it before, so I’m discovering that right now. It’s a resin that sets very quickly.

What’s your work process like?

Everything starts with an observation model, such as a plaster cast figure or a doll that I make out of clay to scale and then I make a mould and work from there.

 

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How do you see your work before compared to now?

It’s changed in the sense that I’ve had to get used to all new things. At the beginning the scale that I’m working on changed a lot and so I started with very small sculptures, the jesmonite ones. Then I started to take mineral water bottles and other elements that I had never used before and include them. It’s all changed because I have to get used to new materials and ways to best resolve my pieces with the materials that I have here.

What is the most unexpected or surprising thing that you’ve learnt or discovered while doing the Residency?

I think there’s still time but really it’s everything. Everything is surprising because it is all new to me.

What first inspired you to take up art?

I think that life itself led me to art. I had never been good at drawing or sculpting and I didn’t even know what sculpture was but life pushed me towards art and I discovered that sculpture was a medium that worked to express myself.

 

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What contemporary artists do you look up to? And are there any classical artists you are inspired by?

I really like Rodin. I recently went to the Rodin exhibition in Barcelona and it was really good. In general I also like the work of Camille Claudel, who was Rodin’s wife.

In terms of contemporaries, I really like Ron Mueck. His work is very powerful, I feel like if the world ended and these works were all that were left you would be able to understand perfectly what a human being was.

Do you have any other key inspirations?

I really like cinema and poetry. If a filmmaker were to come to mind now, I’d say I really like Peter Greenaway, an American filmmaker who is also a painter. He has a very good film called The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover. I really like the aesthetic in his films, and that of many more filmmakers such as Fellini, Godard and Woody Allen. And of course anime from the 1990s is a very important source of inspiration for my creativity.

 

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What are your plans for the future?

In the short term, I would like to finish the Residency and get a good sculpture out of this process. Sculpture makes me anxious at times too when I keep trying new things and they don’t work out so my main goal is to achieve a good result from this.

Is there a random object that you always have in your studio?

I think it would be the dolls. This is a new studio but I always have my dolls, they are where I get the moulds from.

If you could own one painting what would it be?

I’ve always thought that I’d have Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Delights.

 

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Interview by Eloise Gillow