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An Artist Chops and Sculpts Pastel Chunks of the Human Body

Cristina Tufiño makes whimsical, tropical-hued clay bits.
Al images courtesy the artist and Galería Agustina Ferreyra, San Juan. Cristina Tufiño ©

By exploring her identity through disembodied body parts, a Puerto Rican artist is pondering feminism while taking aim at dismantling overused tropes. Cristina Tufiño's most popular installation, Jacuzzi Muse, a pastel-colored disembodied head, is currently going through an expansion process at LISTE Art Fair in Basel, Switzerland. Each disembodied work is designed with a smooth, opaqueness, which brings to mind the appealing softness of Miami architecture in the 80s.


 Jacuzzi Muse is an aesthetically amiable symbol for deeper issues. Tufiño shares, "Jacuzzi Muse is about exploring identity and landscape through the conditions of disembodiment. I attempt to describe our most elemental relationship to the physical world as one that is displaced, one where the art object and the individual ricochet between places, definitions, and identification. Carefully arranged this figure travels through the fair preoccupied with timelessness as well as fashion, female representation, and a myriad of personal anxieties, functioning as a paradoxical figure of convention and freedom, loud and colorful she remains a cipher for this confused time."

Jacuzzi Muse, 2017. Ceramic, underglaze, moss, box, pigment, and packing peanuts, 21 x 25 in

Her forte in sculptures has the artist taking on industrial waste and an indulgent population who lives for consumer goods. She describes her process as similar to an "archeologist hoarder running through a broad cultural system of references." Her work has shown at NADA 2017 and will show at LISTE Art this June. In addition to sculpture, Tufino works in prints and photography.

As an artist with a diverse background—American and Puerto Rican—living with contradictions and fierce opposing viewpoints is a way of life ingrained into Tufiño's artwork. Maintaining tolerance within her craft is significant to how the artist completes her media. "My working strategy has been one of subversion," shares the artist, "where I aim to maintain a perspective that is indiscriminately open and exposed to contradictory suggestions, ideologies of identity, and history."


A portrait of the artist in her studio

Baby Ghost, 2017. Ceramic, underglaze, 12 x 4 in

Soledaddy, 2017. Ceramic, underglaze, 21 x 15 in

Urn, 2017. Ceramic, 8 x 15 in

She & Me (Vase #2), 2016. Glazed low fire stoneware, 12 x 14 1/2 in

Hombré, 2015. Glazed stoneware, 16 1/2 x 5 in

Flamingo II, 2017. Ceramic, cold finished, 25 x 14 in

Peppermint Hippo, 2017. Ceramic, 16 x 14 in

Drifter, 2017. Ceramic, 8 x 16 in

Giacometti, 2017. Ceramic, chain, dimensions variable

Private Friend #4, 2016. Ceramic, underglaze, 6 x 16 in

To keep tabs on future artistic developments from Cristina Tufiño, visit her website, here.


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