Stephen Todd, October 7, 2021

Anyone for molten puddle mirrors and squishy stone sculptures?

The founder of a leading furniture showroom mixes the ethereal creations of a Swedish designer and the hefty work of a Spaniard for her first foray into the super-hot collectables market.


Stone that seems floppy and fleshly. Mirrors that appear to dissolve into space. A new exhibition at Melbourne’s Criteria tests the limits of art and design.


The soft sculptures are by Spanish artist José Manuel Castro López. For more than four decades, he’s been working with granite and quartz, bedrock of the Iberian Peninsula, where he was born, raised and still lives. Slowly carving into the amorphous surface, he remodels the age-old material into apparently pliant pieces featuring flaps that unfold and edges that seem to have been ruched, scrunched and otherwise draped into shape.


“In my culture the stone is mythologised, and this influences my work in important ways,” López says by phone from his studio in Galicia, not far from the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.

 “Softening her (la roca is feminine in Spanish) is a transgression and a magical way of relating to her. In many ways, I am not the sculptor – the rocks are the ones who bring themselves into being. We understand each other.”

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