1945 - Hugo Zapata was born in Colombia. He studied sculpting from a young age, eventually becoming a professor at the National University of Colombia, Medellin. Following his tenure, Zapata’s primary and professional focus became his craft. His initial work in the 1970’s was oriented towards serigraphs, balancing various techniques to express the tension between geometry and free style, man and nature, a method that would prevail throughout his work. Zapata’s serigraphs evolved into 3-dimensional form, created by carving into extracted riverbed rock, which resulted in numerous large-scale, award-winning public installations throughout Europe and the Americas.
Zapata’s process is complex in both its labor and philosophy.
In communion with the stone, the sacred rock, he begins the labor of decanting, stripping to expose that which is its own unique essence. The task is to unmask the nature of that rock “being”. The rock is geography; geography, the morphology of the natural world. It is part of a place, of a specific territorial image, of a physical identity located in time and space.
Utilizing Earth’s sacred geographic elements, Zapata’s work represents the landscape of the lived experience, in which man and nature coexist as witnesses of one’s reflection from the other. His work exposes the history and mysteries of the landscape by stripping away the layers of its identity. Through the materials of the earth, he makes the occult visible, reminding us about the notion of art as the activity which creates new meanings.
Hugo Zapata's work has been celebrated and revered worldwide in various internationally recognized venues and institutions.