Saudi Gazette : "When waste becomes art"
Saudi Gazette - Thursday, 24 April 2014 - 24 Jumada Al-Akhir 1435 H
JEDDAH — What to do with the metal leftovers in construction companies? Where they usually go to waste, Louis Romero has found a way to give them a second life. The Frenchman who lives and works here for a major construction company metamorphoses metal remains into sculptures that are currently on display at the French Consulate under the apt name “Metalmorphose.”
Romero is not just an employee at a construction company who recently discovered a passion for metal sculptures.
He is rather an art and steel enthusiast who happens to work for a building company. Or, perhaps his passion for steel, which started at a very young age, made him decide to have a career in the construction field.
Whatever it may be, the sculptures exhibited at Metalmorphose are proof that this is not a man who just enjoys his free time tinkering with steel.
Romero creates stylized sculptures that are beautiful in their simplicity and elegance. This simplicity is not only found in the shapes of his figures, but also in the fact that they do not try to convey a deeper meaning.
“People who [make] sculptures try to understand why I do this, but I don’t have a message,” Romero says about his art, adding that the only thing he sticks to is to change his style every time after making two or three sculptures in the same style.
“I don’t depend on one special style, and [I get] my inspiration everywhere: on the streets, on vacation,” tells Romero.
Born in Madrid in 1958, Romero’s family soon had to leave Spain during the Franco dictatorship and went into exile in France.
His passion for steel and everything related to sculptures began around the age of 10, when he used to create faces from wires.
His work took him to places like Los Angeles, Geneva and Moscow before coming to Jeddah 31 years ago.
Art has always been a companion, and Romero successfully exhibited his work in Long Beach, California; Grenoble, France; and Moscow, Russia. In Jeddah, he had not picked up his hobby due to time constraints until around a year ago he got a different position at work that allowed him more spare time. Creating the sculptures before work or during his two-hour lunch break, the artist produced no less than 41 pieces in about two months. All of them are on display at “Metalmorphose,” his first exhibition in the Kingdom.
The 41 sculptures are all made of black steel, a material Romero enjoys working with more than iron, a material he worked with previously.
“You have different colors when it is new, a bit old, very old, or rusty, but it’s all black steel.”
A sound and light show accompanies the exhibition, giving the sculptures an extra dimension. The show was developed by light and sound engineer Georges Rodrigues. The opening of the exhibition was attended by several VIPs, including the director-general of Air Transport Facilitation Sami Ashi, who said he had never seen an exhibition like this before in the Kingdom.
Currently, the artist is in touch with a gallery in Riyadh that is interested in exhibiting his sculptures.
He is also working on a giant 20-piece frame, about which he did not want to reveal more.
The exhibition “Metalmorphose” at the French Consulate in Jeddah is open to the public daily until 30 April.