Absence and Presence

Commission Winner

Location: National Pablo Neruda Memorial, Santiago, Chile

Description: This sculptural concept is envisioned as a work that you look through as much as you look at. A monumental boulder cut through with a perfectly square void sits improbably balanced atop a hill. The surrounding land, sea, sky, and even time itself, are as much a part of the work as the granite that composes the enormous stone. As visitors move throughout a gently rolling landscape that seasonally blooms with Neruda's beloved poppies, they experience changing framed vistas of sky and ocean from one side of the stone, while they witness views of the Chilean terrain from the other. These become the distilled "words" for a visual poem to Pablo Neruda. Evoking a sense of mystery, the granite boulder prompts us to ask, has it been here forever, or has it just arrived from some other place? Is it from the nearby rocky shore, a local quarry, or from a far off land, perhaps the mystical mountains of Machu Picchu in Peru? The boulder exists outside of time unifying earth and sky in a surreal gesture. It is a constant observer while time moves around and through it. As in Neruda's mind's eye, the work is a manifestation of opposites. From opacity to clarity, the monolithic stone becomes the ultimate lens through which to see the world around us. From permanence to continual motion, the archetypal obstruction becomes a portal or gateway that connects Chile's present landscape with the horizon of its future.