Six Questions

Six Questions: Alejandro Leonhardt

Tique | art paper asks six questions to an artist about their work and inspiration.
This week: Alejandro Leonhardt.

Artist Alejandro Leonhardt
Lives in Santiago, Chile

How do you describe you own art practice?

My practice can be understood as the desire to revert the condition of waste through sculpture and installations. An exercise based on observation, selection and manipulation of material I gather from the environment. It’s a way to inhabit, a constant rhythm that’s interrupted by occurrences and waste that push me into experimenting with new interpretative breaches for what already exists.

Alejandro Leonhardt
Su aparente fragilidad solo rehusaba la monotonía
(It’s apparent fragility only refused monotony)
Whole and fragment concrete lattices found in Queveda, España
410 x 30 x 30cm
Photo: L21 Gallery

Which question or theme is central in your work?

Questions change since there’s always a contextual variable that, being applied, singularizes the type of waste and, therefore, it’s problems. Nevertheless, there’s always an elemental impulse: to generate new meaning with objects whose associated language is in no way a synonym of beauty. The purpose is that this impulse will affect the spectator, that it will summon an experience that will question how the environment is inhabited and observed by this spectator.

Alejandro Leonhardt
Lo necesario puede ser tan arbitrario como caprichos tengamos
(Necessity can be as arbitrary as the whims we have)
Raincoat on found window
164 x 132 x 20cm
PHoto: L21 Gallery

What was your first experience with art?

One of the first I can recall happened when I was 7 years old. It was a Sunday and I had been asked in school to make a sculpture with unconventional materials. I asked my father for help, since I hadn’t done anything and I had to present it on the next day. We went outside and he asked: What do you like the most? I chose an antenna that had been recently built on a hill. Then he asked: What materials do we have to build an antenna? My backyard back then was filled with firewood to warm ourselves in the winter, so I said: firewood. That’s how we built an antenna with pieces of firewood. We managed to create an inaccurate tower of sticks glued together.

Alejandro Leonhardt
341 Pasos
(341 Steps)
Exhibition view
Photo: L21 Gallery

What is your greatest source if inspiration?

I tend to avoid the word inspiration since it’s very closely linked with another one: revelation. A word that is usually employed on a religious context. In this sense, I’d rather say “source of study”, and that is day-to-day experience. I mean the temporal development in which I summon conscious encounters motivated by the will of entering the unknown through what seems more familiar.

Alejandro Leonhardt
Junta de vecinos #7
(Neighbourhood reunion #7)
Wall containing 468 fragments of paint removed from the facades of houses and shops from the commune of Santiago, Chile.
760 x 290 x 2cm
Photo: Museo Arte Contemporáneo, La Coruña.

What do you need in order to create your work?

As I mentioned, each work implies a singular process, therefore the material needs can vary a lot. Even so, the base process for these needs is guided by the mood and by the conviction that there is no work I could be doing that would make me feel more excited.

Alejandro Leonhardt
Cracked windshields on scaffolding
400 x 257 x 109cm
Photo: Teresa Fischer

What work by an artist has most recently surprised you?

The first thing that comes to mind is not the work of a visual artist, but of a Chilean musician called Tiare Galaz. Under the name “Niña Tormenta” she released a luminous album called “Loza.” It’s a group of songs on which through an ukulele and minimal instrumentation she conducts states of cold and warm emotions. The truth is I feel closer to artists that have emotional consequences through minimal decisions, and I think that “Niña Tormenta” does is with the grace of those who are busy playing.

Alejandro Leonhardt
Recluido en giros #1
(Secluded in turns #1)
Whole and cut tires found in San Francisco Street, Santiago, Chile
150 x 68 x 68cm
Photo: L21 Gallery

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Tique | publication on contemporary art #3: Six Questions