Throughout palm-sized sculptures, Argentinian visual artist Claudia Fontes‘ work questions the meaning and connotations associated with the word ‘foreigner.’
Each figurative sculpture in Fontes’ most current project investigates the connections between the individual and the physical environment. Born and raised in Argentina, Fontes has spent the last ten years working and living in England. Her expertise as a foreigner there forms the foundation of this work. The faceless characters are portrayed in varying molds: alone, couples standing side by side and hugging in a bunch, highlighting human companionship as well as the connections between individuals. In a broader sense, Fontes is considering living organisms and how they relate to wider biopolitical systems. Gaining inspiration from the blossoms, sea sponges, natural stone and creatures found in the forests and fields close to her home in the English countryside, her works resemble organic materials despite being produced from English flaxseed porcelain. They become a physical manifestation not only of how she knows the landscape there and also a reminder of nature’s affinity with individual life. With these little characters, Fontes tries to “denaturalize” the word ‘foreigner’ — a word that she considers has come to be associated with discrimination and negativity in English culture.