Xavier Mascaro, “The iron Guardians”, Cast Steel, 2010, Spain
Xavier Mascaro’s work “Guardians” calls to mind – albeit in iron – the terracotta warriors of Ancient China. Up to 10ft tall, these faceless sentinels manage to look imposing yet protective at the same time. Again, unlike so much contemporary sculpture, which revels in its ephemerality, these works – you think – could date back centuries, even millennia. They command those old-fashioned artistic virtues: awe, solemnity and respect.
Mascaró is also of interest for anyone with a particular curiosity about Spanish sculpture. His fondness for iron reflects that of his Iberian predecessors, Julio González, Jorge Oteiza and Eduardo Chillida. Yet, he rejects the abstract approach so popular during the later years of Franco’s regime – a form of subsumed political dissent – in favour of the figurative.