15 Questions for Fernando Botero

Fernando Botero has often referred to his rotund figures as an “exaltation of volume and sensuality.” Several of the Columbian master’s large sculptures can already be seen in Singapore: his 1990 giant Bird sits on the riverbank near Raffles Place, while Resorts World Sentosa has one of his gigantic "Adam & Eve" sculptures in the lobby of the Hotel Michael, and the St Regis has a small Dancing Nude Couple, circa 2005, outside its ballroom and a giant reclining nude greeting guests outside the hotel.

More of Botero’s works will be seen here soon as International Art is dedicating its booth at Art Stage Singapore 2015 to the artist’s works offering a mix of bronze sculptures, marble sculptures, and paintings, including a 2013 marble of Woman on a Horse, and a 2012 oil on canvas titled Two Musicians.

Ahead of the art fair, I talked to the artist:

What does 2015 look like for you?
Busy! I have an exhibition in Colombia in the Museum of Medellin in February, and then a large retrospective of 90 paintings in the Hangaram Museum of Seoul. Two important books will be published this year as well, one by Skira and the other one by Assouline.

What subjects have interested you of late?
I did a series of 90 paintings, drawings and a sculpture inspired by eroticism. I called the series ‘BoteroSutra.’

What did you enjoy about this series?
When you use two people instead of one, you have a chance to do a more interesting composition.

You showed some drawings from that series in 2013 at Galerie Gmurzynska. When can we see more?
The complete series will be exhibited by the Museum W√úRTH in Germany and then also in Switzerland this year.

Tell me about the works selected for Art Stage?
I selected the paintings for Singapore first based on quality and then based on subject matter. You’ll see several of my favorite themes: Musicians, Family, Picnics, etc…

Where do you work nowadays?
I work in Tuscany on my sculptures because the Foundries are there and also I have a very large studio. Otherwise, I paint in different mediums in the other studios that I have (in Paris, Monte Carlo, and New York).

Is there a medium you haven’t worked with yet that you’re interested to explore?
I use all the traditional mediums in art: oils, watercolors, pastels, etc. I even did some frescos on the walls of a Chapel in Pietrasanta, Italy — a real fresco, preparing a piece of the wall every day. The only medium that I’ve never used is acrylic. The idea that it is plastic makes it unattractive to me.

What's the most indispensable item in your studio?
The light is the most important thing. It should come from the North.

Where are you finding inspiration for your work these days?
The inspiration comes when I am working. I do a little sketch and that is the beginning of a new painting.

Do you collect works by other artists?
I was a collector of other artists, I had very important works of the 19th and 20th centuries. I donated this collection to my country, Colombia, and with these works they opened the Botero Museum in Bogota. I stopped buying Art when I made that donation.

What work of art do you wish you owned?
The Baptism of Christ by Piero della Francesca. Unfortunately it is already owned by the National Gallery in London.

What would you do to get it?
Steal it.

What international art destination do you most want to visit?
I don’t go to “art” destinations, I just follow my life.

What under-appreciated Latin American artist, do you think people should know about?
Sorry I have little contact with other artists because I keep busy with my work.

Who's your favorite living artist?
I don’t have any favorite living artist. The artists of the past are very much alive and they are my favorites!

First published on BlouinArtinfo.com