Artists Magazine

Álvaro Soler Arpa and his toxic evolution


This innovative sculptor uses animal bones, plastics and rubbish in his works as a way of making a stand against environmental pollution.
Entering the studio of Álvaro Soler Arpa (Girona 1974) is an enduring experience. At times the smell is hard to bear and the presence of bones in every corner is a little overwhelming, but he is at home here. He takes a bone, joins it to another, adds some plastic and slowly the work takes shape into an unforgettable piece of art. “What I’m aiming for, -he tells us as he works- is to draw people’s attention to the pollution of our planet. We humans are so proud of our rationality and have done great things, but for about a century we have also been the dirtiest animal in all the history of creation. The cancer of the Earth is becoming irreversible….”
His latest exhibition “Toxic Life” comprises five installations and can be seen in Barcelona’s El Prat Airport. It is sponsored by the NGO PlasticPollutionCoallition (Berkeley, US). “My idea is to create a fictitious bestiary and, by including plastic and rubbish as a toxic and causal element of these impossible anatomies, the work becomes a social protest that is visually striking and easy to understand.”
Drawing was Álvaro’s passion as a child. After a fifteen-year career in advertising and cinema, drawing storyboards for the likes of Woody Allen or J.A. Bayona, he began to work on an artistic piece. “When I was young I was very apprehensive-he says- I would panic at the site of white coats or blood… and I began to realize that, in fact, it was a fear of death and so I came closer to it.” He gets the skeletons from slaughter houses, dumps, restaurants… “I’m always looking, I even asked my grandmother to let me have her skeleton when she dies, but she doesn’t seem very willing”, he says with a smile. “And rubbish is everywhere, it’s harder not to find it….” And that’s how his imaginary animals come into being, which, despite their coarseness, are beautiful pieces.