As Seen by Her: Sculptor Carla Cascales Alimbau Finds Beauty in the Forgotten

The Barcelona-based artist explains what drove her to ditch stability for art and love what people throw away.

We’ve found our soulmate! Introducing As Seen by Her—a new, Barcelona-based platform celebrating modern women with the ambition to share honest and intelligent perspectives. Sounds pretty similar to us, eh? Since our goals come from pretty much the same place, we’ll be sharing As Seen by Her’s stories written by creative women every week.

Today, meet Barcelona-based multidisciplinary artist Carla Cascales Alimbau. She writes about finding the courage to quit advertising and pursue art, the beauty of imperfection and what we can learn from Japanese culture.

I was born into a modest and hardworking family where we all shared an appreciation for the artistic disciplines. My father is a model maker, my mother an interior designer and my sister a musician. We lived through a very hard time in the family when, with the arrival of the digital 3D design and the laser cutting machines, my father had to close his model-maker studio where everything was made by hand. Due to his experience and also the influence of the social ideas of ‘being successful’ and economically stable, I decided to study Advertising and later specialize in Design.

For a few years I felt comfortable working as a designer, but something inside me was telling me I was not true to myself. In 2015, I found myself in a very good job position working at a famous international design corporation. I was economically stable and well respected as a company member, but feeling completely empty inside. My values weren’t aligned with the ones of a mass production company. It was time to devote myself to what always moved me, so I made a decision: I quit my job and started on the path I had always wanted to take.

With lots of effort and dedication, I started to develop my own career as an independent artist and designer. Since then everything began to make sense; I feel at peace even though every day is a new challenge.

 At the same time, I am thankful to see how my previous years as a designer enrich my current work; as one can see in my sculptures, there are influences from design, furniture, and architecture. I am specially inspired by the architects of the Modern Movement like Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe, Frank Lloyd Wright and Alvar Aalto; also artists such as Barbara Hepworth, Jean Arp, Constantin Brancusi, Eduardo Chillida, Jorge Oteiza, Ellsworth Kelly, Henri Matisse…
I am also fascinated by the Japanese view of beauty, specifically by the ‘Wabi-Sabi’ movement and their admiration for imperfect, mutable, and incomplete things. It is so different from the admiration of perfection or the fear of the passing of time that we have in western countries. I deeply admire the work of Toko Shinoda and Tadao Ando.

Another concept I love in the Japanese culture is ‘Kintsugi’. It’s a technique to repair fractures of ceramic with resin sprinkled with gold. It suggests that breakage and repairs are part of the history of an object and it’s shown instead of being hidden.

These concepts apply not only to objects but also to people. We need to accept that time passes by and consider it an element of beauty. Showing our scars makes us stronger. All these concepts about being in harmony with life is what I try to communicate in my work. I like my pieces to be a mix of these different streams, organic shapes with geometry, and the beautiful imperfections of nature with the purity of polished materials.

Most materials I use to build the sculptures are pieces that can no longer be used in industrial manufacturing, like broken or irregular parts of marble, wood or metal. I love to find beauty in discarded pieces and give them new value.

My upcoming plans include a solo exhibition at the Gallery Castellana 22, organized by the We Collect Club, during the ARCO Art Fair in Madrid.