To intrude on Nature’s way, 2021
Gonçalo Sena

Found stone, resin, bronze, stainless steel, lacquer, water pump, plastic, adhesive tape, water

CA2M Collection

Region of Madrid Apertura Prize, 2021

This fountain is made through a twofold transformation of materials sourced from nature. Firstly, marble—the material par excellence of classical sculpture—is a previously cut piece which was perhaps originally destined for industrial use. Now recycled, it stands erect with strangely primal and sculptural pride: standing stones are unquestionably one of the oldest forms of monumental sculpture. Secondly, there is a piece of bronze in the centre that serves the function as the outlet for the water in the fountain. This piece replicates the branch of a tree that was brought down in the Casa de Campo park during storm Filomena: the metal captures the natural act of violence; what is destroyed, brought crashing to the ground also becomes a sculpture, thus taking on a sense of permanence. Ultimately, bronze—on a marble pedestal—is the basic element of commemorative sculpture, the monument.

The museum with a fountain at its entrance is a poetic reminder of locus amoenus, the idyllic dream of a haven of peace in nature from bucolic literature. The fountain built from residues and recycled material does justice to the circularity of the flow of water which gives it meaning. Torn between nature and culture, the fountain does not side with either one but rather negates any possibility of opposition between the two terms. The reference to the dangers of climate change and its evident interrogation of forms of production that do not question their material condition make this work a commemoration of the consciousness of coexistence that demands an urgent response to the impending horizon of extinction. A reminder of how the museum dreams of being a space of reconciliation between humankind and everything else.

Gonçalo Sena (Lisbon, 1984) lives and works in Lisbon. His work has been seen internationally, and has garnered critical acclaim in recent years. Apart from his art practice, Sena is also the co-founder, co-editor and designer of the ATLAS Projectos publishing collective (since 2008), a platform for experimental collaboration between artists and authors. Sena is also the co-founder of the Parkour space in Lisbon (2012-2014).