Federico Carbajal

It is interesting how inspiration follows the unlikeliest of paths. Born to a surgeon father and a dentist mother and an architect by education—it was natural for young Federico to understand anatomy and view architecture from a technical perspective. Brought up in Mexico, with a Bachelors degree from Universidad Iberoamericana Leon, Federico completed his Masters from Université de Montréal (Canada).

He was first introduced to sculpting during an internship with Holton Rower, grandson of sculptor Alexander Calder, pioneer of the ‘mobile’ methodology, also known as ‘kinetic art’. It believes in forever motion, an installation held together by single wires and held in place without the elements actually coming in contact with each other. ‘Mobile’ toys with space and the prolific nature of its being, with a focus on the presence of an individual element. It is this core belief that is addressed by Federico too, displaying how artists continue to traverse this intriguing domain.

He creates tridimensional artworks based on human anatomy - parts and the whole. His choice of raw material is the common galvanised wire, owing to its plentiful nature and low cost, lending the necessary humility and earthiness to what he seeks to communicate. “Using a wire is like drawing in space, gives me the necessary flexibility and strength.”

Federico understands that a wire can be bent to form a shape, giving an impression to hold much more space than it actually occupies. As a result, it has an impact on its surroundings, interacting with considerable dominance and representing a concept greater than what it was born to represent. He uses acrylic and stainless steel too—each exuding the freshness of life.

The human sense of being goes beyond our natural physical state, and that reflects in our impact on the physical reality around us. Our emotions and expressions define our world, beyond our bodies and limiting physical presence. It is this metaphysical space that Federico seeks to explore through his work, identifying varying elements that make us whole, and giving each its own identity.

He challenges the perception of a boundary, offering us a look within, arguing against the traditional construct of what ends here and what begins there. Federico effectively captures how ideas transcend human limitations and overlap and form new ones. Akin to Calder’s concept of forever motion, Federico contributes to our understanding of self, suggesting that perhaps we may need to look deeper within and all around us at elements that come together but not so - and redraw and rewind and relearn all that we may have assumed to know.

“I believe that the human body is the best design piece ever made. The three main principles of architecture - shape, function and structure - are well balanced and inserted properly in every structure.” It is this wonder of all pieces fitting in perfectly together and working in harmony, like a perfect resolution, that inspires Federico to further his quest.

“In architecture, we focus on the external structure of the building and work towards the sensibilities of a being living within. In psychology, we start from within and work towards external factors.” The fascination for this belief was a nudge for Federico to explore human anatomy with architectural tools. He continues to sculpt manipulations of the organs that work together to seemingly complete us, initiating a dialogue of what truly creates the sense of what we are.

It is wonderful to sense a question in each of his works. Federico does not offer a solution, but asks sincere questions, tempting us to indulge in a conversation, an endeavour worthy of a lifetime.