Cristina Iglesias’s exhibition “Monotypes on Copper and Paper” is an expansion of Hondalea (Marine Abyss), 2021, a site-specific public artwork in Spain for which the artist retrofitted an abandoned lighthouse off the coast of San Sebastián with a cast-bronze cavern, hydraulic machinery, and 26,715 cubic meters of churning water. Each a unique evocation of ocean sculpting rock, Iglesias’s prints collectively help to unmoor Hondalea from its remote physical location by introducing new perspectives, materials, and processes.
Sharing an Arte Povera sensibility with Giuseppe Penone’s bronze tree and branch sculptures, Iglesias’s prints on copper—Cave Study II, VII, and XIV, all 2022—honor the ephemerality of nature with materials that are, conversely, solid and stable. The three “Cave Studies” are copper plates that have been silk-screened with images of a wax model of Hondalea and then spot-treated with acid. The mint-green and turquoise splashes and rivulets wrought by the acid resemble marine erosion, in terms both of the imagery they create and the corrosive process by which they were made. The fact that these compositions read as water crashing onto rocks at multiple scales is a reminder of the universality of Iglesias’s subject—they could just as easily be a satellite image of a mountain river as a close-up of a tide pool.
Five works from the “Hondalea Study” series, 2021, conjure watery depths in two dimensions. Painting on top of lithographs made from aerial photographs of Hondalea, the artist has added spirals of translucent blue or green intaglio. The overlaid inks read as whirlpools but also recall Jasper Johns’s targets (especially the more fluid ink-on-plastic iterations.) Similar to the way Tacita Dean’s 2013 film, JG—an homage to Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty—untethers an icon of Land art from time and space, Iglesias’s monotypes provide unexpected formal and conceptual associations that help Hondalea transcend its site-specificity to be experienced from entirely new perspectives, both geological and art-historical.