Image: Inma Herrera

Inma Herrera When We Thought the Sky Was Made of Stone


Inma Herrera will be present at the gallery on Sunday 16 June at 2–4 pm.

In Taoist philosophy, yin and yang represent opposite forces or aspects of existence, such as darkness and light, female and male, or passive and active. However, they are also seen as interconnected and complementary, with each containing a bit of the other within itself. In Western cultures, we also seem to have integrated the notion of existing correlations that bind pairs of opposites: the abstract and the concrete, the inner and the outer, the within and the without, the mind and the body. They intertwine in an intricate dance of mutual embrace, and through language and symbols, we articulate the complexity of their relationship.

In the never-ending quest for understanding, science and philosophy have undertaken the pursuit of uncovering the inherent laws governing life. Alchemy, often considered the foundational stone of contemporary knowledge, offers similar insights through texts like the Emerald Tablet, a compact and cryptic Hermetic text which proclaims: “What is below is like what is above, and what is above is like what is below, to accomplish the miracles of one thing”.

Inma Herrera’s exhibition When We Thought the Sky Was Made of Stone at Galleria Sculptor presents a series of works that spring from printmaking but once again come to life through an interplay among sculpture, moving image, and print. Engaging with mineral ores, copper, pigments, copper sulfate crystals, and wood –recent incorporation to her repertoire– the artist seeks to unveil the experimental and poetic analogies she discovered among these materials within the confines of her studio.

By reinterpreting a woodcut from the Nuremberg Chronicles (1) depicting the fourth day of creation—where celestial bodies like the sun, moon, and stars emerge—Herrera employs this image as a focal point to initiate a dialogue among the celestial properties of terrestrial matter. Azurite and malachite, handpicked by the artist in the depths of the Texeo Mines (2), gravitate like stars around a circular line describing the concave arch that envelops the Earth. Adjacent to it, an abstract constellation containing pieces of blue crystals arranged along a copper line that emerges from a woodblock becomes an invitation to reflect on the similarities between the mineral kingdom and the galactic domains.

Building upon this exploration, the project includes other elements: a video filmed in the bowels of a copper mine, vertical lines made out of metal and crystals, stones and vessels sharing a common ground, together with the large-scale woodcut and etching blurring the boundaries of their technical distinctions. They are all displayed around the space to create an immersive experience transporting viewers into the depths of the Earth’s raw and intricate beauty. Running in parallel, the line and the curve become geometrical and symbolic allies, playing a central role in referring to matters of position and perspective, from the first to the fourth dimension, leaving that passage open to interpretation.

“It was inevitable that meteorites should inspire awe. They came from some remote region high up in the heavens and possessed a sacred quality enjoyed only by things celestial. In certain cultures, there was a time when humans thought the sky was made of stone. […] These ‘stones of light’, […] reflect everything that happens on Earth.”

-Mircea Eliade. The Forge and the Crucible

Inma Herrera is a Helsinki-based artist, recipient of the Ducat Prize in 2020, and a former resident at the Royal Academy of Spain in Rome from 2017 to 2018. She has recently exhibited her work at HAM, Amos Rex Museum, Forum Box, ARCO Madrid, and Miró Mallorca Foundation. She utilizes printmaking as her expressive language and dissects and deconstructs the syntax of the imprint and matrix concepts, crafting installations that bridge printmaking, sculpture, and video, establishing both conceptual and material connections.

(1) The Nuremberg Chronicles, also known as the Liber Chronicarum or “Book of Chronicles,” is a landmark work of historiography and early printing. Published in 1493 by the Nuremberg physician Hartmann Schedel and the printer Anton Koberger, it combines written text with elaborate woodcut illustrations to depict historical events, biblical stories, and cultural achievements up to the late 15th century. It provides valuable insights into medieval European perceptions of history, geography, and religion.

(2) Texeo Mine is located at the Áramo Mountain Range in Oviedo, Spain, considered the oldest copper mine in Europe, already exploited during the Neolithic.

The exhibition has been supported by:

Video by: Pia Männikkö
Lines of Ascent (to the left), 2024, sulfate crystals on copper tubes, drypoint, pigment. The Light in the Matter (to the right), 2023, Video HD. Photo: Aukusti Heinonen.
View to Inma Herrera's exhibition When We Thought the Sky Was Made of Stone, 2024. Photo: Aukusti Heinonen.
Magical Havoc (detail), 2024, installation with mineral ores, copper tubes, cement cast, copper sulfate crystals. Photo: Aukusti Heinonen.
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