Carlos Aguilar y Linares, Mexican Sculptor (1945-2010)
Sculpture chose him. In his hands and his soul he always had the necessary impulse to create with plasticine, plastic, newspaper and especially bronze, pieces that have crossed borders and conquered unthinkable spaces.
Carlos Aguilar y Linares, “the wizard of bronze” did not imagine becoming a famous sculptor, it was his talent that led him to meet distinguished personalities such as the mime Marcel Marceau and the jazz great BB King, Tony Bennett, Milt Hinton and Ellis Marsalis among many others.
Music was always his greatest inspiration, in it he found the perfect ideas to create memorable sculptures such as those of jazz musicians who are part of his collection “The magic of bronze”, which allowed him to devote himself as one of the greatest sculptors today and occupy a privileged space in important events such as the Jazz Festival in Bern, Switzerland.
Aguilar began his work as a sculptor as a child. “He was wiping out all the objects of that material that were placed in front of him; with a blowtorch it was giving heat until it was transformed into a material malleable enough to shape it. So they were disappearing buckets, covers, brushes, etc.”
It was that need to create new forms that allowed him to reach the Chapultepec Gallery when he was just 22 years old. There was his first exhibition "Sculpture in plastic".
At that time, Carlos did not even imagine that he would become one of the most recognized Mexican sculptors, much less, that he would find in the bronze the magic that characterized him for much of his life.
It was almost 20 years before Carlos Aguilar realized how sculpture would shape his life.
He saw it as a hobby, a great passion and nothing more. “I am having so much fun (with sculpture) that I didn't think it was work,” he once responded to Luis Carbajo, a television host, when he asked him why he had not dedicated himself to that activity before as a profession and not just as hobby. Carlos Aguilar was born a sculptor, in his veins he always carried that love for the creation of new forms but he did not notice it until an aunt taught him the figure of a little king.
One of the main characteristics of Carlos Aguilar's work is the deliberate absence of forms. His sculptures seem inconclusive, but they are more complete than initially believed, thanks to the imagination and interpretation of those who see them.
But how did the sculptor begin to create floating figures? “They gave me a calendar with photographs of jazz musicians, a musician who was playing the bass was very interesting and I decided to do it in sculpture, I made the bass, the hands, the face, but I realized that the background is say the curtain where he was was black and was confused with the black tuxedo that the musician wore, which did not allow his full body to be seen, only the hands, fists, face and his instrument were seen, so only that is what I did, ” described the sculptor.
The bass player was the first musician that Aguilar made floating. Some time later he completed the jazz band with the sculptures of the trumpeter, trombonist, pianist, clarinetist, saxophonist and drummer.
Angélica Gómez de Aguilar, wife of the sculptor, recognized that her husband hardly made sculptures on commission, but in 1997, when the US Embassy asked him to immortalize then President Bill Clinton, it was practically impossible not to accept, because the idea to capture a president linked with music caused him great emotion.
Carlos Aguilar recalled that experience: “ In May 97 I was at the jazz festival in Bern, Switzerland, when I received a call from my daughter asking me when I will return, because they are looking for me from the American Embassy , I answer that I return in three days but that there is nothing pending, I already gave them the sculpture and they paid me and even spent my money. 'Dad, they wanted to send the sculpture to the White House in Washington but just warned that it is coming to Mexico and since the sculpture was bought among several, it seems to them that the right thing is for the sculptor to deliver it.' ”
Days after the delivery, Aguilar received a letter of thanks from Clinton, who said he was very honored "for being the subject of your artistic work."
And indeed, it was no accident, but a consequence of his talent, that Carlos Aguilar became the creator of the sculpture that was delivered to the Jazz Festival in Bern, Switzerland.
In 1994, Aguilar was in the Garden of Art of San Ángel exhibiting his work. A Swiss couple who had traveled New York, Las Vegas and New Orleans approached her to ask for the trumpeter sculpture, they wanted it as an award for the Jazz Festival, but the next day the couple left their flight to Bern, and the sculptor left to Cancun.
A single day passed the marriage in Mexico City. In one day they found what they so longed for: a sculpture for jazz players. They were about to give up when they ran into Aguilar. They found him when they stopped looking for him.
Aguilar confessed that he didn't even remember giving them the phone number to locate him on the beach, "to be honest I didn't get excited, or maybe I didn't believe them."
However, the lady did her best to locate him again, until she succeeded; He told Aguilar that he wanted me to send him three sculptures or better yet, that he himself traveled to Switzerland with all the expenses paid to deliver them.
It was not easy to convince him but finally he decided to make the trip, in which he lived with his jazz idols. Hans and Marianne, the couple who invited him to Switzerland informed him that the mayor of Bern would deliver one of his sculptures as a trophy; the US ambassador would grant the second and he the third.
Milt Hinton, a jazz legend, went to the sculptor who handed him the trophy. “My legs were shaking, I couldn't hold back the tears, that photo of the calendar that had defined my style several years ago, of that bass player whose only face, hands and bass I saw, was in front of me… so many times in everything This time I had wanted to meet him and thank him for that photo in that calendar and there he was smiling in front of me. He was definitely one of the most important people in my career, although he didn't know it. ”
Since 1994, Aguilar sculptures are delivered at the Bern Jazz Festival. In addition to Milt Hinton, renowned musicians such as Louie Bellson, George Wein, Oscar Peterson, Clark Terry, Benny Carter, Stéphane Grappelli, Bob Wilber, Ellis Marsalis, Hank Jones, John Lewis, Illinois Jacquet and Gerald Wilson have received as a trophy the figure of «The trumpet player», created by Aguilar. Undoubtedly one of the most rewarding experiences for Carlos Aguilar began thousands of kilometers away from his home. In 1990, at the Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, a man ran into a young couple who carried a mime sculpture with them. He asked them where they had obtained it and even asked them to sell it.
The young people told him that they had just bought it at the Garden of Art, and even made a sketch for him to get to that place.
Two years later, the individual traveled to Mexico City and with the sketch in hand arrived at the Garden of Art. He did not find the sculptor, but he was put in contact with him.
Carlos Aguilar went to the hotel where the man was staying. He could not hide his happiness for having achieved a sculptural piece of the series inspired by the famous mime Marcel Marceau and even said: “Did you know that you are the Marcel Marceau of the sculptors, because you make things look where there are none ?
After paying the bronze figure it was time to ask the names. The hitherto unknown man, with a huge smile told Aguilar: "Nice to meet you, I'm Marcel Marceau."
Since 1992, Aguilar and Marceau became great friends; The mime bought two sculptures inspired by him and Aguilar gave him another two. Currently, those four pieces remain in the Marcel Marceau Museum, in Paris, France.