7000 … Issue #4


Spring Fever Issue is finally here! Even though spring officially  arrives only end of March, we are cheating and pretending it`s here already. Just cannot wait anymore! To chase the cold away 7000 Issue 4 features a Cover Story with the most private of french cinema today – Vincent Cassel ! Direct from the sunny beach of Rio de Janero. Fashion interview with Dries van Noten, amazing shootings with Ellen von Unwerth, Harri Peccinotti, Arthur Elgort, Jill Wolf, Oliviero Toscani and Jean Francois Lepage. Also discover especially made for us « Girls with Cameras » 24 pages portfolio signed Steve Hiett. For the first time- free english language supplement with Bonus features. Go and get it!






By: Carolina Niso


Hugo Zapata, a famous Colombian sculptor, lives in the wooded mountains approximately one hour from Medellín city. A few steps from his house in the forest filled with birds and squirrels, he has his workshop, a very big airy shed equipped with numerous water sources and air extractors for the dust produced by the stone. In his sitting-room, Professor Zapata speaks about his work to Carolina Niso. ____________________________________________________________

CN: Why did you decide to use a solid element like stone? What does it symbolize for you?

HZ: I explained it in a poem that I wrote:

UNPUBLISHED POEM Oh, rock of night and dreams /  that cherishes the memory / of playful clouds in water./ You keep winters and sun, / you keep inside / the trimming of birds, / the sounds of the sky, / the trace of the winds, / and the running of water. / You can tell about the time / of dinosaurs, / and of ammonites. / Oh immortal rock that sings / while rolling along the rivers of God, / you know about immense geographies; / You dwell in your soul the path of history, / of ruins, and of scriptures. / You are the track of everything, / Oh rock, you are fresh and free, / and you keep waiting for someone / who might receive your message, / for someone who can transmit / the loving energy inside you. / Oh lively rock, you heel me / when I hear your secrets, / when I touch your skin and you tremble, / and you play along, / and in your dark transparency / I find the echo of butterflies and reptiles, / of herons’ steps, / of leaves that gave you shelter / during the harsh winter times. / I feel you close, I can speak with you. / I can express with your body / the desires of my soul. / I can make you vibrate, / and make you speak / about the infinite night / that comes with your eternal light; / rock of God, of memory, of life.


CN: Hugo, could you tell me when you decided to follow the enchanted path of sculptural creation?

HZ: By accident… I used to work as an engraver and, once, I had the engraving paper on the drawing table, but I had no ideas and nothing was coming to my mind. Then, with a scalpel, I pierced the paper. Suddenly I saw the irregularities and the paper in the air and I understood that my work had to be three-dimensional. This accident led me to see the third dimension. I was studying architecture and until that moment I had not perceived my work as three-dimensional.

CN: Did you continue studying architecture?

HZ: I began by studying plastic arts and I had a group of bohemian friends then. We used to meet in a small café called ” The Feast ” and we adored partying. One day, I began thinking about my future and I realized that if I continued in the same way I would not get anywhere. Art was not a temporary activity for me but a real vocation. It was almost like a religious vocation, and therefore very different from what my family expected. So I looked for a career close to art and chose architecture. It became the big miracle of my life because almost everything I learnt about sculpture came from architecture.

CN: Was your experience empirical?

HZ: Yes, it is incredible, because before learning how to sculpt, I began by studying stones in the geology laboratory in the Faculty of Mines at the national university. While I was there, I became friends with the engineers. I obtained an authorization to work every Saturday and Sunday in the laboratory! I studied the hardness and the colour of the stones and I understood that stone was an absolutely flexible element, that it was not as hard as I thought, that if I worked it with a certain tenderness, with water, attentively, it was one of the most generous elements.

CN: Is there an important relation between stones, your life and your childhood?

HZ: It does indeed come from my childhood: when I was a child I collected pebbles and always returned home with my pockets full! On all the photos of family walks I was always looking down at the ground!

CN: Where do you find the stones that you use for your sculptures in Colombia?

HZ: They are not exactly close by but come from about 800 kilometres away, from the eastern mountain range of the Andes, which crosses Colombia. It is there that we find the stones called “lutitas ” which contain a moderate amount of iron. They are black inside and very oxidized on the outside. There are many types of stone but those are the only ones that offer me so many possibilities to express myself. Some others are too black. “The lutitas” are very generous stones and, without the character of the stone being lost, personal expression is possible. There is a real communion between us, and this allows the creation of the third element: the artwork. In all my sculptures we see the stone but also my hands!

CN: Where do you get your inspiration from? Is it from nature? Is it from personal experience?

HZ: From everywhere but my first source of inspiration is nature. I exalt in it. All the things that I find interesting, I glorify. It is the energy that I find in stones, forms and suggestions that guide me. Sometimes I fight it. I leave some stones aside then two years later I say to them: ” Today, my beauty, it’s your turn! ” (He laughs).

CN: Is there a process of moulding the stone? Do you use a chemical product or a material to facilitate working with stone?

HZ: I work the stone with a mechanical tool with diamond choppers and sanders. I only use one chemical product, iron oxide. As the stones contain a lot of iron, the manual processes would take millions of years. With the iron oxide I accelerate the oxidation of the stone.


CN: For example, when you make flowers, do you use natural pigments?

HZ: I began initially with natural pigments of iron oxide but there was a problem. In bad weather these free pigments scatter. Then I found a solution using a synthetic material, which I polish and transform into powder. I make a moulding in resin on the naturally wet stone and then apply this powder with a sieve. It forms a layer which resists during bad weather.

CN: How do you choose the title of your artworks?

HZ: Names come much later, and are often based on appearance. One is called “Vestige”, another “Waterfall”, others “Nave” or “Mirror”. But it is also linked to the emotional energy they produce, their attitudes and what they suggest. In the end something emanates from them which resembles a visual memory of nature. That is what directs me in my choice.

CN: What is your favourite artwork?

HZ: From all the works that I have created, there is a piece, a small lagoon, which I gave my wife who unfortunately passed away three years ago. I always gave her the sculptures that she likes best. When people came to our place to buy they always wanted the piece that I had already given her. Once she told me: “do not give me those pieces any more because they are the first ones to be sold. I gave her another sculpture, which she did not want to share. I keep it to remember her by and it is a beautiful piece that my wife would not even allow me to touch! When people arrived, she stood in front of it to hide it…

CN: Which well-known artists do you count among your friends, in Colombia or elsewhere?

HZ: Those who contributed to the history of sculpture in Colombia were fortunately all my friends and they liked my work. At present I exhibit in Europe with Luis Fernando Pelaez who is a great friend and whom I admire a lot. He is a great sculptor.

CN: Which places around the world would you like to discover? Where are the stones that you would like to work on?

HZ: There are many places which I would like to visit and even more places to admire stones: all the volcanic zones, the islands around Australia and Ireland. There are some regions where there are very striking geological formations. It would be interesting just to see them, not to control them or to strike them. I dream about going to Petra because when I was in Israel the duration of my visa did not allow me to go there. It was frustrating but I hope one day to discover this city.


CN: At this moment you have an exhibition in Brussels. Congratulations. You have already exhibited in several European countries: Germany, France and Portugal. This year it is possible that you will exhibit your works in Paris …

HZ: Even if the art market is difficult at the moment, it is necessary to exhibit one’s work. I create my sculptures and try to share them with others.

CN: There was a sculpture that pleased me enormously at the exhibition last October in the Abbey of Cercanceaux, which is called “The lovers”: can you describe it to us?

HZ: This sculpture is part of a series, which are a little more literary I would say, like flowers. The lovers are simply two vertical elements, which look at each other as if they were conversing. The formal attitude consists of the fact that they have a common room. In regarding each other, they are like mirrors.

CN: Tell me about an important event in your life?

HZ: One of my best stories comes from my fishing trips in Solano Bay on the Colombian Pacific Coast. I met a wonderful family there called the Lemus’. Among them was a wizard named Adriano and we became friends. He was the kind of wizard who hunted at night. He had a house full of rabbit and deer skins, of things necessary for magic. I asked him to find me some volcanic stones and I showed him what I was looking for: “Help me to find this type of stone”. When I arrived six months later, he shouted to me from 50 metres away : “Huguito, Huguito, I found you a small saint”.. He had put a very beautiful stone on an altar that seemed to have been fashioned by man. He had enthroned it. I took it to the faculty of geology and they said it was a stone formed by nature. It became my first sculpture.

CN: What would you be if you were not a sculptor?

HZ: An anthropologist, an archaeologist, always a researcher into the past. Stones please me because they are the most ancient memory we have. All that we discovered in history had already been carved in stone. Writings, objects, everything was transcribed on stones. Other stones were not transformed by man but produced simply by nature and also tell us our history. I believe that before man, the stone already wrote history because when a stone is cut we find some signs, which tell us about the past. History was already being recorded. Before man, earth already made notes.

CN: Do you have a dream?

HZ: (laughing) I would like to find a fiancée!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s