City life in miniature: the tiny cement sculptures hidden across Europe

The Spanish sculptor Isaac Cordal sees the city as his playground. He specialises in miniature street art, producing tiny figures as a social commentary on the spaces they inhabit.

“My work is a filter to try to understand and change the world we have created,” Cordal says.

His sculptures, about 15cm in height, often represent a social stereotype as a critical observation on capitalism, power and bureaucracy.

In one installation in a puddle in Hackney, east London, for example, a group of men dressed in suits with apathetic expressions represent “a very archaic form of patriarchy, and capitalism”, he says.

Cordal first models the sculptures in clay then reproduces them in cement.

“As a material, it seems very symbolic because it is one of our most recognisable footprints against nature,” he says. “Today we have turned cities into a kind of natural habitat.”

For several years he’s been working on the project, Cement Eclipses, referring to the state when a building covers the sun: “It’s a critical reflection on the idea of progress.”

These tiny cement figures have appeared in cities across Europe, found sitting on top of bus shelters or drowning in gutters, small interventions in the big city. “The street became a perfect setting in which I could find infinite semantic landscapes on a small scale,” he says.

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“Due to their small size and colour they blend really well into the urban environment. They even normally go unseen by passersby. I’m very interested in that moment of surprise when someone accidentally discovers them.

Nowadays there is a fear of not being seen in the public realm, so everything is always big and bold. We become a product of this and do not focus in as much. I think it is good to pay attention to small details and my work is a reward for those who do.”

His work can be seen on the Instagram account @isaaccordal.

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