Antonio Soler is a Spanish artist born in Lorca in 1969. His studio is currently located in Madrid. A sculptor of the trade, he has dealt with all kinds of materials and challenges for decades. With a clear predisposition for marble, Soler manifests a technique never seen before on this material. With baroque soul and through an expressionist prism, extrapolating loose brushstrokes to stone, he tears hidden emotions and illusions into space.
Son of an artist, he excelled in drawing and music from a very young age, studying at the Superior Conservatory of Music and winning prizes at local and national levels in the field of the visual arts.
He is a self-taught sculptor with an innate ability for this art. He made his first large-scale sculpture at the age of 17. We must consider that the result of the practice of this art is, apart from the innate ability to develop any sculptural technique, the sensation of having done it before. A feeling that he shares with the people that have taken part in his artistic life. He has always said that he was born a sculptor: “The path of the artist is made not of searches but of encounters”.
A phrase that is not his own and that defines him: “he has proved all in all materials”. From solitude and the artistic sensibility inherited from his fathe stems the conviction that, to be authentic, a lot of faith in yourself and in your own ideas and works is necessary; because this path is travelled in solitude.
Inspired by sculptors from different periods such as Bernini, Ernst Barlach, Rodin or Brancusi and painters such as Goya, Egon Schiele and Dalí, among others, he has always sought volume and shadow, transferring them to his sculptures as if they were paintingsas if it were paintings. For him, creation isn´t understood without the prior and vital need of expressing a feeling and stirring in some sense the inner self of the person that beholds the work. Antonio Soler’s works have been described as hypnotic.
Artistic evolution and the contact with all kinds of noble materials have made the arousal of interaction and communication between human beings the aim of his Works when they come into contact with spectators. He thinks they somehow express how we are, how we perceive our exterior and inner worlds; from hence stems the need to express an idea or a feeling. The restlessness and nonconformity he discloses when it comes to carrying out his Works technically leads to his constant pursuit of new solutions in order to meet his expectations in different materials and styles. Thus, his artistic career is a constant learning path; a constant search of his new opus. This way he teaches us that he is reflecting constantly and that he does not belong to any particular place. His origins and forms of expresión are always different.
“The work of this sculptor is part of a collection of originary works with magical elements and great inner strength”
Although of Baroque roots due to his pursuit of shade and volume, his natural evolution is expressionistic; where he feels comfortable. Describing the human being in a subjective way, he prioritizes the expression of feelings rather tan the objective description of reality.
Inflicting the idea on matter with hands bare of fear, Is an ode to talent.
Coming soon: March 18-24, 2022. Täby Gallery, Sweden.
Coming soon: May 28, 2022. CAC Mijas, Madrid.
Coming soon: From May 25 to 29, 2022. Madrid International Contemporary Art Fair. Spring Edition
2022. Sjohasten Gallery. Stockholm, Sweden.
2021. Riddaren Gallery. Stockholm, Sweden.
Original recording (Spanish)
I have met many artists throughout my life, including Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, Botero, and really my experience with Antonio Soler is one of the richest I have had, not only as a friend but also as an artist […] He is a scholar of the form, the matter, the structure, even the physics of the work. I consider him one of the Spanish artists who should have a better place than he has, because I believe that no one in this country works marble like him. And not only the marble but all the techniques, we have done projects together and I have been amazed by everything Antonio knows and the quality he has, not only as an artist but also as a human being. It’s an honor for me to be his friend, to work with him when I can, hopefully more times, and to fulfill the dreams we have together. I think he’s the best marble sculptor in this country. So for me as a person and as an artist he plated a ten.
Antonio feels the stone. As so many sculptors do. But his genius lies in the fact that the stone also feels his pulse when he caresses it. And it shakes, it shudders in an ecstasy that becomes in splendid forms so many centuries there imprisoned. That’s when the author and the piece become one and so they will beat together for generations. It is enough to contemplate his creations for a moment to feel that the greatest achievement of this universal Murciano is to endow them with the only thing that nature failed to give them: an immortal soul.
WRITER AND HISTORIC DIVULGATOR
Through a natural language he trails the movement with the line of a purity specialist, tending to abstraction. In his artistic creation the taste and joy for the madness of art wins, the wild, and also the most dramatic naturalism.
Approaching Antonio’s work is an immediate and inevitable journey to honesty. An aesthetic honesty that starts from the simplest, expressive spirit, which is embodied in a work whose theme revolves around characters full of naivety, scepticism, erosion and, why not say, pain. I work very far from the conceptual academicist tendency that pervades the whole panorama. Geometric figures, decorative lines, outdated tendencies of an aging modernity. No, no. Antonio’s work is overflowing, but overflowing in the strictest sense: it flows, it emerges, it surpasses the medium in which it is made. Dominated marble, full of textures of expression and life. Work that connects with the most transgressive avant-garde of the last century, with isms that still resonate in the depths of our culture. Yes, sifted by callous hands, a cracked skin that tools, dust and the sun have molded . Antonio is about to find his way, after crossing a desert of not little misunderstanding, spokespersons and whimsical. You will find it because your work above all exudes honesty.
Acercarse a la obra de Antonio es un viaje inmediato e inevitable a la honestidad. […] La obra de Soler es desbordante en el sentido más estricto: fluye, emerge, supera el medio en el que se realiza. Mármol dominado, lleno de texturas de expresión y vida. Obra que conecta con las vanguardias más transgresoras del siglo pasado, con ismos que aún resuenan en lo más profundo de nuestra cultura. Eso sí, tamizadas por unas manos callosas, una piel agrietada que las herramientas, el polvo y el sol han moldeado. Su obra ante todo transpira honestidad.
On the occasion of the 400th anniversary of the writer Miguel de Cervantes, A. Soler created this impressive work.
On October 1 it opens next to the main door of the Faculty of Letters of the University of Merced in Murcia.
In the 9GAG project Antonio Soler was chosen internationally to make the largest time capsule in history. For content, 9gag selected memes by user vote. Over a week, the vote attracted 623,256 users from 114 countries.
The chosen memes were carved by Antonio Soler on a 28-ton stone slab that was buried on April 19 somewhere in the desert in Spain (the exact point has not been revealed).
Tribute to Lorca
After the seismic disaster in the city of Lorca, Soler created and donated a work in commemoration to all those affected.
The work “Consuelo” is surrounded by phrases of support provided by the youngest of the city, since Antonio wanted the future of the city to be symbolized by those who will make it and live it.
Biennial of FLORENCe
Dream of Velázquez
Antonio Soler participated as artistic co-director of the work “El sueño de Velázquez” created for the artist Pedro Sandoval for the 2019 Florence Biennale. The piece won second prize in the contemporary art and design contest.
Soler co-directed the team of sculptors for the adaptation of the samba wood project.
Exodus: Gods and Kings
Under the orders of the award-winning artistic director Benjamín Fernández, Antonio Soler worked as a sculptor for the set of the Fox blockbuster produced by film director Ridley Scott in Almeria.
Carrying out an ambitious process of sculptural and architectural reconstruction based on the Egyptian era.
"My brain goes ahead of my hands"
“The desert of art is crossed in solitude and sometimes to the abyss”
Placeta de Lorca
«I always try to create with meaning, beauty and emotion, with skill and honesty»
La Brillantes sensaciones
«Interview with Antonio Soler, sculptor»
"Sculpture in the sky"
Where are your from and where are you living?
I was born in Lorca and I currently have my studio in Madrid, a city in which I feel very well.
Tell us something about your land:
Well, in Lorca, I lived all my childhood, memories and family. Music from the hand of my dear uncle Ángel, studying at the Murcia Conservatory and later being a member of the municipal band of Lorca, of great prestige and in which I left great friends and memories. Love for his history and proud to belong to that land. I like everything about Murcia, gastronomy, art, the sea, its people. Very proud to be and also proud of it wherever I go and travelled.
And also something about you. Your hobbies, your favorite places, your trips…
Art covers all those gaps. «I am only happy and I am truly me when I have a chisel in my hands». I like to travel and learn, transport myself to those moments of other times and feel the chisels and traces of other times, times of great masters and of a trade in danger of extinction, feel that calm and mystical atmosphere, because the stones speak to us, we do know how to listen. I have always felt in some way that I belong more to that era.
How did your passion for the ancient art of sculpture come about?
As a child and five years old, he already won drawing contests and this was repeated during the following years. Inherited from my father, it has come naturally to me, also with the feeling of having done it before and an innate love for art.
And about the sculpture, what can you tell us?
Feeling what others have felt for millennia is a privilege and a gift. The challenge in front of the block, tons in front of you, the wounds, the lever and rollers, the chisels and the hammers, the smell! You must love it to feel it, as others did, that is the true and best pay for the sculptor.
What is before, impulse, sketch or meditation?
It’s been a while, at least in my case, that the mental work is ahead of the sketch. But sometimes impulse and emotion prevail and the results are usually surprising. The visceral prevails over reason and order. The clear visualization of
that contain the block or, as Michelangelo said, remove what is left over from the block and free what it contains.
How do you catalog your sculptural work?
Expressionist with Baroque roots. Volume, light and shadow, modeling with light and applying the brushstroke to marble, wood or bronze. “Because the shadow owes its birth to the light.” At a dinner to talk about my work, among other phrases, one that describes me very well was pronounced: «Antonio Soler’s figuration, far from any conformism and difficult to pigeonhole, is almost expressionist, although of enormous baroque influence. With a natural language, he runs through the movement with a line of essentialist purity, almost tending towards abstraction».
Which of your works would you highlight?
It is very difficult to choose one, each one carries something of me. But for feeling and for the context, I prefer the monumental work “Consuelo”, in bronze and that I damaged the city of Lorca, due to the terrible earthquakes and in homage to the victims. I thank the then mayor, Francisco Jódar, for his involvement in everything and for his affection. It is a simple work that gives prominence to a gesture, the hug, this is the best way to express a feeling when we do not find the right word. And he inspired me, that day the mobile phone went down and people were looking for each other, we saw many hugs of relief and consolation. My whole family was affected and that same day I welcomed several of my relatives in Murcia.
In the work I put four sentences that showed what I wanted to express in it and above all and the most important, that of thirty-five children out of 3,500 who participated in a contest, so that Lorca’s future would be the one that would encourage belief in city recovery. An encounter of feelings very difficult to forget, that day will always remain in my heart.
Who or what has influenced you the most?
All art and my experiences inspire me. There are also artists that I have always admired, Bernini, Rodin, Dalí, Barlach, Egon Schiele among others and I have them more like
encouragement, to continue in this struggle or tortuous path of the artist in this country. But when I delve into expressionism, it is when I feel in my place, it is without a doubt where I feel most comfortable. Full and hypnotic, visceral and free works, more personal and intuitive art, where the inner vision of the artist predominates, the expression as opposed to the shaping of reality, prioritizing the shaping of feelings rather than the objective description of reality. . That doesn’t keep me from experimenting and having the freedom
to express in other ways and materials.
What did your collaboration with Ridley Scott mean to you?
A unique experience, incredible to see yourself in a blockbuster of these dimensions. Memories come back to you of seeing his films in the cinema as a child and of course, also as an adult, very exciting. He also taught me that this was not my place, everything is diluted and everything becomes as ephemeral as a few seconds. I stay with the experience
without a doubt I lived with emotion, and he taught me that he was capable of being among those magnificent professionals, responsible for great film titles, some already, friends forever
Is it true, that there is a time to meditate and sculpt, and also for the silence of both?
Without a doubt, silence for me has been the prelude to creation, although silencing the mind of an artist is very difficult, and more so in times when everything goes so fast and the environment is clearly hostile to creating.
Have you been afraid to show your work to the public?
No, because I sculpt for myself, the relationship with my works is intimate and long before I show them. That bond will bind us forever. It is a privilege, to be able to work with my feelings and also outside of them through sculpture.
What do you think is left over in the artistic panorama at a national or international level and in particular in sculpture?
It’s not up to me to judge anyone or his work and all my respect of course, or give titles to anything, for that there are already too many connoisseurs. Masking the lack of craft and experience by sculpting only with words sooner or later discovers itself and never lasts over time. The most worrying thing is the number of palmeros that denote the lack of culture that predominates, in addition to the wrong path on many occasions, of some schools, seeking more the concept than the trade with archaic techniques and nothing adapted to the work, as it is developed at the moment. The student must know everything, they will be his weapons to go out and demonstrate; then talent and experience will do the rest.
What do you think about “everything is art”?
Not for me; one thing is to express and feel it and another to improvise. The work not only expresses, it also represents the talent, ability and craft of the artist.
A tip for those who want to start in the world of sculpture:
Train well and always be open to learning with humility, enrich yourself as much as possible and know the trade and its language, so you can create. This trade teaches you every day and will teach you to the last, whether you are a student or a teacher. The great Michelangelo defined it perfectly: “If people knew how hard I had to work to earn my master’s degree, they wouldn’t find it so wonderful at all”
You can’t make poetry if you don’t know the language well and some try to run before knowing how to walk.
If they feel it, there will be nothing to stop them and they will feel privileged, because you have to go through many difficulties and more in such a difficult country to be an artist.