Contemporary corn plants carry material histories within their stalks and cobs. Corn provides the foundation for much of the world’s agricultural industries and each plant is a product of centuries of genetic manipulation. Native to the Americas, the plant called mahiz was an agricultural staple for the Indigenous Taíno peoples. In the 16th century, Spanish invaders colonized the Americas, laying waste to Indigenous cultures through colonization and the spread of disease. Yet maiz (the Spanish term for mahiz) survived and flourished, and today, known a corn, it is one of the most ubiquitous crops harvested for human and animal consumption on the planet.
At first glance, Santini’s sculptural installation “Maiz” presents three stands of golden corn that seem to be growing out of the gallery floor. Upon closer inspection, however, it becomes clear that these naturalistic forms have been cast in bronze, a medium long associated with Classical, Western ideals. The sculpture adopts a hybrid stance, suggesting a fluid connection between past and present cultures. While acknowledging the cultural devastations of European colonialism and industrial incursions on nature, Maiz also makes an aesthetic appeal. Elegant in their earthy simplicity, these sculptural stalks of corn speak to deep, material bonds between historically and culturally diverse traditions and practices.
Material : bronze, copper
Date : 2016
Dimension : 222 x 500 x 110 cm
Place : Institut de Recherches Cliniques de Montréal (IRCM), Montréal, Canada
MOBILE is a floating sculpture, conceived to suspend from the ceiling at the center of a stairwell. It is composed of five sections, each an actual tree branch, from the olive, oak, laurel, maple and cypress varieties. Each section carries a particular symbolism and features bronze cast directly onto the branches. The branches are separated and hung with a system of stainless steel wires, that allows the sculpture a certain mobility and rotation, caused by human touch or air draft. As you climb or descend the stairs, a close view of each branch is revealed, with its details, particularities and individual character and humour. These details are not perceivable from the top or the bottom of the stairs, where you have a an overall view of the sculpture. Nature, living within it, bringing the outside indoors within a specific architectural space, was the main concern of this project.
Material : bronze, iron-or, stainless steel
Date : 2015
Dimension : 300 x 164 x 164 cm
Place : private collection, Montreal, Canada
This work refers to an escape from the modern world of disposability, consumerism, waste, non-renewable products, and sometimes lack of respect for nature. A magic carpet of sorts, this piece offers the observer a path back to a time before we lost our footing in the natural world, before we started trampling on the delicate balance that is essential to survive and thrive on this planet.
It is a reminder that the origins of many of the cheap, synthetic, stylized products we use today were once simple, objects that were found in nature, used in their natural state, and returned to nature.
Cette oeuvre réfère à l’évasion d’une réalité moderne caractérisée par la perte, le gaspillage, le consumérisme, les produits non renouvelables et un manque de respect envers la nature. Vue d’un certain angle, cette œuvre est un tapis volant. Il offre à l’observateur un chemin de retour à une époque antérieure à celle-ci, avant qu’on perde pied dans le monde naturel et qu’on commence à piétiner sur l’équilibre précaire essentiel à notre développement et à notre survie.
C’est un rappel que l’origine de plusieurs des objets que l’on utilise aujourd’hui, bon marché, synthétiques, stylisés, étaient autrefois trouvés dans la nature, utilisés dans leur état naturel, et remis à la nature.
Material : bamboo, sorghum branches, rope, metal
Date : 2014
Dimension : 244 x 226 x 20 cm
Place : Evergreen Brick Works, Toronto, Canada
Material : bronze, copper
Date : 2012
Dimension : 180 x 94 x 63 cm
Place : Royal Botanical Gardens, Burlington, Canada
A window represents light, entry, and opening as well as a barrier and confinement. What if your world was a channel with window after window opening your mind to more and more possibilities until the final barrier, the last window was reached and there was nowhere more to go? LAST WINDOW is a work that signifies an end and a beginning, the hope of a window with the finality of concrete. What lies on the other side of sanity seems dark; it may not always be understood by from the perspective of sanity and clear light.
Material : resin
Date : 2014
Dimension : 175 x 114 x 10 cm
STELLA is made with materials from the site -- a combination of clay, sand and hay. A coat of oyster shells has been inserted and layered into the compact mixture.
STELLA alludes to the origin of the site - the ocean of Champlain - sand, clay and seashells are still found in the ground.
Oysters are small, insignificant and forgotten but part of an ecosystem seriously affected by pollution. STELLA could be a giant starfish that resurfaced where the ocean was there once or, when the sun lights up through the trees the multiple tones of the oyster shells, a star fallen from the sky.
Material : sand, clay, hay, willow branches, oyster shells
Type : installation
Date : 2013
Dimension : 50 x 330 x 330 cm
Place : Land Art, Mont Saint-Hilaire, Canada
This life-size sculpture depicts a fully-grown male polar bear lying on its stomach, head and body supported by a wooden structure and filled with organic materials so that its full dimensions and power are perceived. This mass is covered by layers of wire mesh to which hundreds of oyster shells have been woven thus imitating the thick and uneven fur of the polar bear with its beautiful palette of tones.
“The polar bear is a powerful symbol of the Arctic and its people. The aim of the sculpture is to raise awareness on the issue of extinction and the endangerment of the polar bear, the largest and most powerful land carnivore, and the small and often overlooked oyster, once thriving along the Canadian and U.S eastern seaboard and now also threatened by climate change. XTINCT is designed to make viewers reflect and act on these issues,” states Laura Santini.
XTINCT is made up of organic and recycled materials. The repetitive, methodical and tedious technique of weaving the oyster shells emulates the irreversible and relentless cycle of destruction that is occurring on the planet.
XTINCT is designed to make viewers reflect and act on these issues.
Material : organic matter (paper,leaves,branches,cotton,wool) metal net and wire, wood, oyster shells
Date : 2011
Dimension : 110 x 252 x 290 cm
Place : Centre de Recherche du CHUM, Montreal, Canada
Commissioned for the centenary of Selwyn House School, a kindergarten student, dressed in school uniform, reaches for truthfulness "Veritas", the school motto.
Material : bronze, steel, granite
Date : 2010
Dimension : 185 x 400 x 170 cm
Place : Selwyn House School, Montreal, Canada
Visitors at the artist`s studio are photographed in the nest as the artist`s personal and social documentation, a sort of guest book and creative record.
The nest underlines the welcoming, captivating and imaginative qualities particular of the artist`s studio.
It is constructed with organic, recyclable materials that are usually discarded.
Material : paper, branches, hay, cotton, cloth, mud
Date : 2005
Type : installation
Dimension : 200 x 70 cm
Place : Artist's studio, Montreal, Canada
Material : bronze
Date : 2009
Dimension : 200 x 138 x 77 cm
Place : Golf Griffon des Sources, Mirabel, Canada
Monumental sculpture, commissioned for the new Millenium by the Leonardo Da Vinci Centre. From a trowel, symbol of the faithful tradition of builders in the Italian community in Montreal, a diver thrusts into the new building.
Material : cor-ten steel, stainless steel
Date : 2002
Dimension : 350 x 1100 x 600 cm
Place : Centro Leonardo Da Vinci, Montreal, Canada