Camargo, Chihuahua, 1947 -
Not far from the sprawling desert, on the parched land beneath a limpid sky, Enrique Carbajal was born one November 16, 1947, in Camargo in the state of Chihuahua, Mexico. Years later, when he moved to the nation’s capital and enrolled in the Academy of San Carlos, he adopted the name Sebastian. “At first”, the artist remarks, “everyone used to asked me: Sebastian what? So I simply added a surname: Sebastian Sculptor.” After more than forty years in the visual arts, the recipient of five doctorates honoris causa from universities in Mexico and abroad, and numerous international distinctions, Sebastian is now regarded as the foremost Mexican sculptor in the contemporary art scene worldwide. His works are known in countless cities where they stand as creations transcending cultural boundaries.
His career began in the mid-1960s when he formed groups devoted to artistic exploration, such as the Grupo Marzo (March Group), the Laboratory of Urban Art, ms+, the Grupo Arte Otro (Other Art Group), and he has made major incursions in the Mail Art movement, by assembling and curating the first international exhibition of this interactive art form in Mexico at the Carrillo Gil Museum. Likewise, he began to develop his constructive sculptural language -at the time of visual movements including Pop Art, Minimalism, and Kineticism- with the creation of conceptual projects, such as his Manifiesto de la escultura más grande del mundo (Manifiesto of the largest sculpture in the world) and Secuencia de momentos (Sequence of movements), which awed the viewing public in the 1970s. However, it was in 1970 when he exhibited his first articulated sculptures or Transformables, conceived three years earlier, and those that now total some three hundred pieces, including Leonardo, Dürer, and Brancusi. These interactive works mark Sebastian’s visual approach to an art in which the spectator’s participation plays a key role. Thus, in these projects arising from visual and scientific foundations, the concern for space-time substantially marked his beginnings and has gone on to become a constant in the artist’s oeuvre.
From 1968 to recent times, Sebastian has mounted more than 190 solo exhibitions in cities throughout Mexico and abroad. During the time of his consolidation as an artist, his first individual exhibition opened in the National Hall in the Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexico City, in 1986. From that time on, countries such as Germany, Belgium, Brazil, Colombia, Spain, Portugal, the United States, France, Italy, Switzerland, Japan, and Egypt, to mention some of the leading venues, have presented his work in numerous galleries, museums, and even in the streets of their major cities.
Among the many prizes that Sebastian has been awarded are the top prize, granted by the Hakone Open Air Museum in Japan in conjunction with the competition-homage honoring Henry Moore; the bronze prize from the ABC Asahi Broadcasting Corporation of Osaka, the jury prize of the Norwegian International Print Triennial, as well as the grand prize and gold prize in the ORC (Osaka Resort City) competition. In 1998 Sebastian was awarded the Kinki Nippon Railway Prize for the second time in the Osaka Sculpture Triennale; in 1999 he received the Médaille de la Ville de Paris in the French capital, and by 2002, his sculpture Arch of Peace was granted an excellence award during the International Urban Sculpture Symposium and Exhibition of China, held in Beijing and sponsored by the Cultural Ministry of the People’s Republic of China and the Beijing municipal government. (Source: Sebastian Cuantica / Quantic Sebastian, por Galería Oscar Roman y Fundación Sebastian)
As for Mexico, without doubt his most well-known and popular urban works are Horse’s Head, some 28 meters (almost 92 feet) tall-even the passersby refer to it as “Sebastian’s Little Horse,” on the Paseo de la Reforma and Avenida Juarez, marking the boundary between the downtown Historic Center and modern Mexico, one of the most important urban enclaves in the Mexican capital, where several public and private sites have been graced with his work; and Coyote, in homage to the Poet King (Nezahualcoyotl), which towers at 40 meters (131 feet) in Ciudad Nezahualcóyotl, in the State of Mexico. Similarly, in various other states in Mexico, he has created other monumental sculptures. (Source: Sebastian Cuantica / Quantic Sebastian, por Galería Oscar Roman y Fundación Sebastian)
In 2001, Sebastian made in San Antonio, Texas, the sculpture named "Torch of Friendship", a 65 foot-tall orange steel work. The sculpture’s design represents two cultures, two languages and two roads merging into one. it was commissioned by the Asociacion de Empresarios Mexicanos (Association of Mexican Businesspeople). The sculpture was presented as a gift from the Mexican government to the City of San Antonio.