San Juan de Nepomuceno, Colombia, 1975; lives in Bogotá, Colombia
Even though he is Colombian and earned his degree in industrial design in Bogotá, Gabriel Sierra says that he has more affinity with Brazilian art than with that of his country. It is therefore natural that a good part of his production is fueled by a fertile relationship with neoconcretism, considered as the first moment of Brazilian art’s independence, originality and overcoming in regard to its European origins. One of his key neoconcrete references is Lygia Clark, whose works, like his own, transit between the object, space and the body. Due to his background in design, Sierra’s work also dialogues with architects and designers, such as Mies van der Rohe (1886–1969) and Bruno Munari (1907–1998). He considers the modern utopia as an open paradigm, and says that he would have wanted to be an architect at the time when they did not only design buildings, but also the objects that filled them.
Among Sierra’s first works, Estantes Interrumpidos [Interrupted Shelves] are hybrid in the sense of revealing his initial interest in furniture design, though in a subverted way. Constructed with wooden planes arranged in vertical and horizontal vectors, his shelves have their use interrupted by the modification of their state. Form and function operate here in a strange collapse. Sierra is interested both in the state in which the object can fulfill its role as a shelf – that is, an element extracted from the industrial universe and inserted in the context of art – and the other state in which its function is not present, when the piece of furniture begins to resemble geometric, monochromatic paintings hanging on the wall. It could be said that his greatest interest lies in this moment of transition, between the two different states, facilitated by the use of articulated planes, recalling the Bichos [Craetures] by Clark.