The work of the sculptor Jesus Cepeda Conde (Seville, 1988) is firmly established in the tradition and methods of the Seville school of sculpture. He is a classical artist who struggles to establish a differentiated personality, but always avoids the inclination for extravagance that distorts the mystical and contemplative message that is always linked to sacred creation. He makes a clear commitment to innovation and risk without renouncing his status as the maximum guardian of the sculptural heritage that has made imagery a unique phenomenon in the art world.
Judging by his artistic evolution and by the dedication to each work in his studio on Castellar street -an emblematic place in the historic centre of Seville that is the factory of many of the most renowned sculptors of religious images in the state- Jesus Cepeda can be classified in the line of demanding artists, with the will of being author and the ability to face any commission with the greatest rigor and punctuality. Despite his youth, he is an enterprising and committed artist who opened his own studio when he was eighteen years old. Therefore, he accumulates considerable experience, which is a guarantee of a serious and committed job and, above all, of a job well done.
As a good contemporary author, he makes clear his fidelity to the great masters without underestimating an interest in new aesthetic languages. Jesus Cepeda’s work is based on a style that mixes many previous references to which he provides a sensitive and intuitive vision. A style that can be described as eclectic, based on Sevillian essences, which he honours, because his experience with the religious heritage of his hometown was the catalyst for his talent. At the same time he adapts his style to his personal concerns that navigate between the dynamism of Bernini, the paradigm of Rodin and the inclusive prototypes of current beauty.
“The sculptor takes out everything superfluous and reduces the material to the form that is in the mind of the artist”
The creations of this young author, spread throughout Spain, are the perfect example that imagery is not a limit or a one-way panorama, but rather an enriching field open to the entire public, whatever their creed, education or provenance, in which its creators still have a lot to say. In the case of Jesus Cepeda, the realistic conditions that have prevailed in imagery since the Golden Age -present from the first moment in his career- have been nuanced thanks to increasingly ambitious and risky projects that recover other stylistic resources to connect the Christian ideal to the viewer. In short, everything is the result of his constant desire to improve himself.
Sculptures stripped of useless ornaments that focus on the inseparable dignity of religious art. Works that also intelligently choose to enhance the human aspect of the divine icon to be represented, giving the viewer a strong capacity for conviction. Entering the studio of this sculptor is to feel with familiarity the vision of his creative world and of his deeply rooted aesthetic and religious conceptions, which, far from showing the sacred image as an empty and superficial idol, conceive it as the carrier of a great emotional charge that facilitates empathy between people and God.
Jesus Cepeda’s artistic presentation is dominated by a romantic aspect that should not be interpreted as outdated, because he also wants to rescue the intellectual trace of a branch of sacred sculpture -a difficult task devalued for a long time by a prejudiced criticism and mediocre and repetitive production- which, together with its spiritual purposes, is linked to a cultural transmission. And he does it through studied images, elegantly crafted, ambitious compositions and fine finishing, which seek the emotions of those who approach them and revitalize the timeless message of the Bible.