The Sculptural World of Jose Buscaglia

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The images shown here represent a life-long effort to create an iconography, a vocabulary through which I have invented myself. The objectives of this invention are contained and preserved in the shapes and materials of these sculptural works, and constitute a network of interrelated agendas.

First, there is the fundamental drive to be and act upon reality. This defensive and aggressive existential process, when defined as a humanistic goal, can be harnessed to supply the required strength to produce art. Yet, art needs more than a self-serving goal to achieve any significant degree of excellence. We all exist within the context of our time and place, and the content of what we come to know and remember. However, most of what we learn and use to build our own minds are not things of our own making, but that which is provided or that which we purposely seek out to complete meaning. We are at times the syntax, and most of the time the drive to make sense of it all. When we find the right shapes to encase meaning ... we produce art.

Another essential objective is required for art-making to fulfill its sociobiological purpose - it must add to the world vision of the specific cultural group in which the artist finds himself immersed. The lack of interest in this basic source of meaning is precisely what has divorced most of contemporary art from the phenomenon of civilization. As far back as I can remember I have been, or have purposely made myself aware that I am, and that my work is the work of a Puerto Rican artist. In that sense I do not shy away from addressing the social, political and philosophical specifics of my native land and its own tragic existential struggle. The colonialist tragedy of my people is my own personal tragedy. This, I believe, instead of narrowing the meaning of my work, is precisely what makes it universal. The great mystery and paradox of this phenomenon rest upon the principle that the deeper the specificity, the more universal its meaning.

Each of us learns originally to organize thinking and speech in his own native language. Behind this seemingly all verbal world, lies multiple strands of interconected images which link all narratives and feelings to our own private life experience. It is, in my view, the artist’s social responsability to turn these images outward so that they become a shared visual vocabulary and part of a collective public identity. In Jerome Bruner’s words, “ Human mental activity depends for its full expression upon being linked to a cultural tool- kit”. I have tried my best to nourish the “ cultural tool-kit” of my people. In this sense, I consider myself a cultural nationalist in the belief that only within a strong cultural identity can a society properly develop its own potential. As my other friend and mentor Ben Shahn so wisely reiterated, “ Form is the visible shape of content”. And, that content is precisely what makes us human in the many particular and yet so universal ways of being so.

José Buscaglia sculptor

All Images © by Jose Buscaglia 2007