New sculptural design: The Spanish stone artist Jordi Raga assembles his monumental sculptures from individual parts

Jordi Raga: „Spark“, Tuwaiq Sculpture Symposium.

He is less interested in the form itself than in the effect of this form in space

Jordi Raga is active in the broad field of modern plastic design, where an artist no longer carves a sculpture out of a raw block, but rather, in a variation, puts individual parts together to form an overall composition. He created his most recent work at the beginning of 2024 as part of the four-week Tuwaiq Sculpture Symposium in the Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh: “The Spark” consists of six triangles made of solid granite, which interlock with each other and stabilize each other in a complex way.

The work posed some special technical challenges, such as the fact that where the individual parts are fitted together, tensions arise that could easily cause a stone to crack. Raga had created a true-to-scale model, but when the two heavy-duty cranes went into action at the end of the symposium, he said, he felt uneasy.

Jordi Raga: „Spark“, Tuwaiq Sculpture Symposium.

But everything went well, he writes in an email: “The team from Egypt with experienced crane operators came up with creative solutions.”

Is Jordi Raga perhaps more of a tinkerer than an artist, or an engineer playing with an oversized stone building set?

Jordi Raga: „Interlocking Dolmen“.Jordi Raga: „Interlocking Dolmen“.

Let’s take a look at another work, “Interlocking Dolmen.” He describes it in detail on his website.

He wanted to free himself from the pure form of classical sculptures and create a work for the space, he writes – what interests him in particular is how a work of art interacts, e.g., with the surrounding landscape.

Jordi Raga: „Paradise Lost“.

He therefore speaks of “Landscape Sculpting”, which was a way of artistic expression for people long before ancient sculptures.

What concerns him are questions such as: What does the space around Stonehenge look like since the stone circle was there? How would it appear if the monument were suddenly gone? Conversely, how did the landscape influence the artists of the time when designing their stone circle?

Jordi Raga: „Meaning of Life“.

And finally: What does it mean for us that the ancients passed on something of themselves in stone circles, in megalithic tombs or in the rows of menhirs?

Raga is convinced that everything works on and with each other, that the whole can be more than the mere sum of its parts, as the Japanese artist Isamo Noguchi postulated, and that there are “rules for these synergies” (Raga).

Jordi Raga: „Portfolio“.

He wants to understand these rules, or rather: his artworks are small experiments that, when they are finished and standing somewhere, are allowed to take their own paths in the minds of the viewers. “I remember how public sculptures occupied me as a child,” he says, looking back to the beginnings of his way of thinking.

We quote his CV from his webpage: “Born in Valencia in 1979, Jordi Raga Frances studied Arts in Spain, Italy and Greece, obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts and a scholarship to study marble sculpture in Carrara, Italy in 2001. He spent over a decade working on Heritage restoration in different countries of Europe before settling in Oxford as a full time sculptor, where he is currently based.“

Jordi Raga: „Souvenir from Hereafter“.

Most interesting for him is Dualism which he understands as a basic principle of our world: “the abstract-mathematical-symbolic and the organic-natural-chaotic.“ He writes in a mail: “I think in all of us both sides play an important role in a dual (interconnected) tandem.“

This is the position of the neutral observer. However, he is also aware of his own preferences: “Personally I enjoy the analytic side of things. The engineering inventive problem-solving, manually-engaged-adventurous finding resonance in the association of ideas.“

Jordi Raga was certainly in the right place at the Tuwaiq Symposium in Riyadh. Not only do around 30 sculptors from all over the world present current trends in monumental stone art there every year. The finished works are to be distributed throughout the entire capital of Saudi Arabia and enrich the streets and squares there.

Jordi Raga

Photos: Tuwaiq Sculpture Symposium 2024 / Jordi Raga

Jordi Raga auf dem Tuwaiq Sculpture Symposium.

(14.06.2024, USA: 06.14.2024)