Lisson Gallery

Pedro Reyes' large-scale public commission 'Citlali' unveiled in San Antonio

10 October 2022

Now installed along the River Walk in San Antonio, Texas, Citlali by Pedro Reyes is a direct carving in stone commissioned by the city of San Antonio to commemorate its historical origins.

Reyes' approach to the commission focused on offering a work that represented the earth, astronomy, mother nature and the first civilizations of the area, such as the Comanches, the Pecos and the Papaya, among other groups, who inhabited the area for 11,000 years until the city's founding. The word Citlali means star in Nahuatl, the indigenous language of central Mexico, and is also a common proper name. The abstract five-pointed form the sculpture's figure holds between her fingers could be a spearhead or arrowhead found in the area; a fossilized seashell from the region's even deeper ocean origins; or perhaps one of the many stars that shine over San Antonio today and that were contemplated by those civilizations with the same wonder and awe.

Citlali's message takes us out of immediate history to offer us a timeless perspective that incorporates two contrasting but concurrent perceptions: the realization of our minuscule size, and the inspiring certainty of all that we have inherited.

Reyes says of the project: "As a sculptor, I am interested in a return to form as meaning, and to the vocation of permanence implied by working in stone, which for me reconnects the practice of art to moments in time from the very beginning of civilization. Here, both the stone materials and the monumental scale of this work have been chosen to reinforce its message of timelessness and connection to the past; it follows the tradition of ancient large-scale stone works such as colossal heads and pyramids. The San Antonio Riverwalk is an ideal location for this work, as the River Walk has exerted influence worldwide as an example of a vibrant and active public sculpture garden."

Pedro Reyes' large-scale public commission 'Citlali' unveiled in San Antonio
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