“There are a few modalities that operate in my process: one involves the material of light, one considers the residue of the absent body; the other builds the unknown, imagined space that brings forward an object.”
Sculptor Michelle Lopez’s ‘Chandelier II’ (2020),as seen from across the main lobby, is a delicate trace of light, gracefully held within the languid line of the glass sculpture that encases it.
A sculptor deeply interested in materials and their properties, Lopez often aligns form with the history of her chosen material; for this commission, she works with hand-pulled glass,that is, molten glass shaped by the artist as it cools. The work’s ﬁnalshape is determined by the bodies of the artist and her fabricators as they articulate the large-scale glass sculpture with their breath and gesture.
Lopez researched the history of chandeliers and how glass and light could register movement of the body at such a large scale. There are then several registers of “the ﬁgure” to be found in these suspended forms. ‘Chandelier II’ is a trace of the artist’s movement as each segment of glass is blown, then pulled, to create the form of an uninterrupted stroke. It outlines, not a shape, but intimates the action of the artist’s process ofproduction. In this work she combines a grand gesture into a sensitive, dynamic, continuous line.
Lopez is also known for her manipulation of minimal, abstract forms that hint at societal collapse and human vulnerability. Her interests, too, are found in the application and materiality of industrial materials—in this case, ropes and their utility. She writes, “The idea for this work began with my interest in rope(s) and its industrial applications to rig, hang, pull—some of these refer to a kind of historic violence. The rope becomes a stand-in for aﬁgure—an absent or implied body.” ‘Chandelier II,‘ can then be read as a fragile rope of glass and light, drawn through the ceiling, and dropping down to drape the space below with its crystalline shimmer of an unspoken violence.
-Joselina Cruz, MCAD (Museum of Contemporary Art and Design, Manila) curator
Chandelier II 2020, LED lights encased in rope, hand-pulled glass.
Podium, SM Headquarters, Manila, permanent installation
236× 408 × 304 cm