Chilean sculptor finds himself reflected in the stone of Korea

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Chilean sculptor finds himself reflected in the stone of Korea

A sleek but otherwise bland building in downtown has attracted an unusually artistic crowd recently.
An art exhibition, “The State of Spirit,” features a collection of 14 stone sculptures by a 36-year-old Chilean sculptor, Marco Bustamante, who is now based in Korea. The exhibition at Hungkuk Life Insurance Building is his first solo show in Korea.
Mr. Bustamante was born in Iquique in Northern Chile. Growing up, the young Bustamante was inspired by countless stones laid out in the wild like natural art works on the rolling plain surrounding his town.
He went to Toulouse in the south of France and lived there for three years before coming to Korea two years ago. He has worked on Korean stones in the Latin American Cultural Center in Gyeonggi province.
To Mr. Bustamante, stones in nature are evocative objects that remind him of the living space in the wild; stone represents the inner wakening of one’s true identity in the making.
In the past, the artist has collected and used various types of natural stone for his sculpture, but in Korea, he has concentrated on three kinds: marble, granite and calcario.
“Granite is especially great in Korea,” says the artist, “because it is strong, and to me the strong image is important.” Granite is available in different colors and patterns, and Mr. Bustamante prefers to work with black or with stone with “beautiful gray lines.”
In Korea, he found Buddhist images in the form of stone sculpture and age-old stone works interesting. “The impressions I received from Korean stone work may not directly show in my pieces, but I know they have indirectly influenced my work,” Mr. Bustamante says.
Each of his works is minimal, yet delicate and expressive, representing “the artist’s own conversation with himself and personal wandering in search of his spirit,” according to the cultural director of the French Embassy, Francine Meoule. To the artist, it shows “the inside of my soul, like a mirror of my own spirit.”
After he finishes working on a piece, he sees a reflection of himself in the stone, making a strong connection between the stone and himself. “Aesthetics, of course, is important, but to me, my works represent therapeutic processing of my own spirit during the making,” says the artist.
Mr. Bustamante will hold another exhibition in October at the Latin American Cultural Center. “The State of Spirit” runs until May 30.


by Ines Cho

For additional information, call the Embassy of Chile at (02) 2122-2600.
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