Hyperrealistic sculpture shows the loneliness of older adults


Mercedes, a Spanish woman of almost 89 years, has become a hyper-realistic sculpture with which Mexican artist Ruben Orozco seeks to make visible the loneliness and abandonment in which older adults from all over the world live.

The wrinkles next to the eyes, the expression of the face, the texture of the eyes or the nails, the shape of the body and the gray hair are worked and cared for to the smallest detail by the artist based in Guadalajara, capital of the western Mexican state from Jalisco.

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Each element is important "to give that hyperrealist touch to the sculpture whose expression shows a combination of sadness and empathy," says the sculptor to Efe while working in his workshop.

"The intention was to capture the pure sadness, the loneliness in the piece, but knowing Mercedes and seeing its characteristics I decided that the sculpture had two expressions: sadness and empathy, that when you walk in front of the sculpture you see it sad, but if you you see a more empathetic and calmer face ", Explain.

Orozco decided to join the project promoted by the Spanish BBK Foundation with the intention of making visible that loneliness not chosen harms older adults and has become the "epidemic of the 21st century," according to the World Health Organization.

"He planned to make a hyper-realistic sculpture place it in a public place to see the reaction of people to this problem. And this seeks to raise awareness of the problem and that if you have a friend or relative in this situation give him a call or visit to the person, "explained the sculptor.

In Bilbao (Spain), BBK presented Thursday "Invisible Soledad", a project whose objective is to sensitize society about the little attention given to a problem as serious as the unwanted loneliness in which many older people live .

For this, the entity placed this hyperrealist sculpture, which is named "The last person who died alone", on the Paseo del Arenal de Bilbao made in the image and likeness of Mercedes.

Mercedes is one of the more than 2 million people over 65 who lives in single-person homes in Spain, according to data from the National Statistics Institute (INE).


Orozco (Guadalajara, 1979) has extensive experience and recognition in the development of hyperrealist sculptures of small and large size.

His hands have modeled figures such as singer David Bowie, princess Grace Kelly, painter Frida Kahlo, director Guillermo del Toro, Pope Francisco and a large-scale bust of painter Jose Clemente Orozco.

To create his figures he uses elements such as plasticine, rubber, wood, polyester, stone and bronze.

To Orozco, the sculpture of Mercedes took about two and a half months of work, from the modeling of the face to the details.

With patience, Orozco and his assistants placed hair by hair at the head of the sculpture, defined the wrinkles of the face, and gave color to the fingernails.

In this way, they mounted her body and dressed her in clothes similar to what Mercedes would wear.

The artist, who has exhibited his works galleries and museums in Mexico, in addition to the Museum of Modern Art in New York or the Auto Show in Monaco, says that the most difficult thing was to give the face expression and reflect that loneliness that characterizes the Most older adults.

A paradoxical loneliness, because there is an era where there is apparently a great connectivity between people.

"Because of the pace of life that we have on the networks, we are more dispersed and we do not realize what we have almost in front of us, we are looking for virtual friends having people who may need a little more love. I see that this problem is growing" , he assures.

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