The poplar can be transformed not only into attractive furniture but also into art and culture. So has been proved by Erin Pladevall, an outstanding Catalonian sculptor, in his last work of art “Fantasma” (meaning Ghost) where he has used Garnica’s poplar plywood as his main material. Why has he chosen this very material?
As Mr. Pladevall says “due to its stability, because it maintains its thickness in the whole surface and because it is reliable against tensions and changes”. However, its technical attributes have not been the only reasons to choose poplar, its beauty has also played an important role. The artist considers this material in terms of colour as the most uniform and white material and, as he said, “this enabled me to slide plaster and acrylic paint over its surface emphasizing its ethereal appearance”.
Pladevall was born in Catalonia in 1951 and his sculptures are known worldwide. They are displayed in important museums such as those of Contemporary Art in Barcelona, Madrid y Cuenca, Juan March Foundation, Lehigh Art Galleries Museum in Pennsylvania, Atlanta History Center or Urban Redevelopment Authority Collection in Singapore.
Furthermore, his public art may be sold in Korea, Barcelona, Vic; Manresa; Reus, El Prat del Llobregat o Girona. Among his sculptures we can find some as interesting as Androgyne Planet at Centennial Olympic Park of Atlanta (USA) and El Árbol de la Vida en el Cosmocaixa de Barcelona.
Even though the project “Fantasma” has just been born, its roots have been growing for decades. The idea was conceived in the late nineties when the artist was involved in two projects (the Somium Athleticum and Box of Ideas) that explored the organic world focusing specially on wood. It is a simple idea: “the appearance of a ghost, a white sheet that embraces the observer with a longitudinal eye that allows light to go through”. The project is absolutely groundbreaking and, as Pladevall confesses, he has taken too many years to feel ready to undertake it. However, he has now taken a step forward with help of recent technologies, precisely thanks to new computer programs like Rhino that allow the user to create 3D models and then transform them into Autocard 2D.
The answer is obvious: How has the chosen material behaved? The answer is given by the artist in one word: “perfectly”. A CNC machine cut and drilled every single piece. Once these were ready the puzzle was completed with the plugs and then glued and polished: “this process was slow but it allowed me to correct small mistakes that wouldn’t have been solved by using a 3D cutter”. Finally, “the finish look was given with plaster and by re-polishing manually and varnishing”.
It may sound funny to listen to such technical explanations given by an artist about his own work of art. Nonetheless, it is without a doubt the technical process and the success in choosing the material what makes this project so great. That is the reason why the sculpture assures that he has felt a “great emotion and satisfaction when achieving such an artistic and technical challenge”. He believes that “the scale, morphology and texture of the piece are right”. What about the final result? Unquestionably it is a work of art that suggests mystery and attraction.
But this is not the end, as any good artist the Catalonian has in mind new pieces and future projects in which, he assures he will use his beloved poplar plywood. Pladevall thanks Garnica for their cooperation in the project, in return Garnica thanks him for this interesting opportunity of demonstrating that poplar can contribute to the creating of true pieces of art.