Lika Mutal (1939-2016) was a Dutch sculptor known forher dynamic stone pieces. Mutal moved to Peru in 1968, where she became inspired by the unique stones and ancient Incan history. Through the long, meticulous process of sculpting and hand polishing, she reveals what is inside each stone she uses. She carefully decided which parts were left raw and textured, and which were opened to reveal the sparkling effects of certain minerals or the changing colors of particular materials.
Mutal’s process of creating a sculpture begins with finding the material. In her wanders around the Peruvian mountains, shores or deserts, the artist finds what she calls “humble stones of the road,” that are at once beautiful and significant. She uses these stones to create both her monumental sculptures and her smaller, more intimate pieces. The treatment she gives to the materials expands the organic qualities that they have, almost to the point of becoming alive, turning and adjusting through cracks made in them, interrelating and synchronizing between each other.
The foundation of her work is in the concept of bi-unity, generating different structures held together by a link, and conceptualizing them as opposite forces that are interconnected and interdependent. The dual nature of her work is replicated in the contraposition of materials, contrasting the rough natural cut of the stone against the smooth worked surface. This tension is also found in her own ideas about sculpture, of how the found material and the shaped material become complementary to each other.
Through her combination of solid blocs of travertine, diorite and granite, Mutal builds structures made of two or more monoliths that refer to the universality of ageless stones. They represent the worlds and the energy of earth and water that are deeply embedded within us.
Mutal exhibited extensively throughout the United States and internationally. Her work is in impressive collections such as Centre Georges Pompidou - Musee National d'Art Moderne, Paris, France; City of Lima, Peru; City of Utrecht, The Netherlands; Nike Building Terrace, Queen’s Square, Yokohama, Japan; Organization of American States, Washington, D.C. (1990-1994); Grand Cypress Resort, Orlando, FL, among others.