Etsuro Sotoo

Plaster Models

Birth facade with the singing angels' sculptures

Willem de Klerk
Utrecht. Holland

"Dear Gaudi-people!

One sunny week before december 2000 I interviewed Mr. Etsuro Sotoo, the japanese sculptor who has been working on the new sculptures on the older facade of the Sagrada Famila and on ornaments at the outside and top of the new walls of this fabulous church.

The interview is published online this year on our new site (The'Evangelische Omroep' is the major dutch christian Dutch broadcasting company)

The original article I wrote on him and his passion for Gaudi is written in Dutch, but the two (real media streaming) video interviews are in English.

I would like to share them with the Gaudi community!

Yours sincerely"

Thank you very much, Willem for your collaboration!

© Willem de Klerk

Etsuro Sotoo

How Etsuro Sotoo discovered Gaudi, nature and God at the Sagrada Familia

(Willem de Klerk, Dutch Gaudí-fan)

Everyone who visited Antoni Gaudi's famous Sagrada Familia recently knows that there is a lot of activity around there. Craftsmen are working on the new walls, columns, and ceiling between the two facades.

One of the men working on the Sagrada Familia is Mr. Etsuro Sotoo. He is the Japanese sculptor who has been involved since 1978. He made all the ornamental sculptures on the new-build parts of the church. He also worked on the old Love-Façade. Until the end of the year 2000 there was a big, empty space, reserved for sculptures of musicians celebrating the human birth of our saviour Jesus Christ. But the original plaster models by Gaudí were lost in the fire. So what did they look like? No one knew.

There are two online video fragments of this interview (by Willem de Klerk, December 2000, a week after the placement of the new sculptures on the old façade).

Etsuro Sotoo discovers Gaudí and Christ
(Interview 2)

Etsuro Sotoo's mission was to make sculptures that would fit into Gaudi's Sagrada Familia. Therefore, he had to study the works and few words of Gaudí. But, like Etsuro said to me, he did not succeed until a few years ago, when he met Gaudí, nature and God. I asked Mr. Sotoo what happened along his way with Antoni Gaudí.

Etsuro Sotoo: "And you look to Gaudi, you study Gaudi, everytime you LOOK to Gaudi! But never, you UNDERSTAND Gaudi. I teach you, how to do." Etsuro discovered you shouldn't be looking at the work of Gaudi and make look-alike sculptures, but do exactly the same as Gaudi: Etsuro started to look at nature.

"Gaudi looked this direction: nature. Look this direction. Not: look at Gaudi! Gaudi looked every time to nature and this directions and how to do this church.

If you look to Gaudi, you cannot discover him; what is Gaudi. If you want to discover what Gaudí is, you have to do like Gaudi.

For 23 years, I was looking to Gaudi, studying Gaudi, but: nothing."

But following Gaudi was more than just studying nature. For Sotoo, it was almost like having the same heart as Antoni Gaudi, being the same soul:

"I tried to look like Gaudi, this direction, nature.
This time, Gaudi entered my heart. And I entered the same.
This is very simple: Gaudi is a christian.
Okay, (that's what) I have to do. I am a christian.
Same place, same place as Gaudi.
And you have to do the same as Gaudi.
Not LIKE Gaudi. And LOOK to Gaudi, no.
You have to do the same as Gaudi."

Watch this interview:

Etsuro Sotoo tells about himself working with stone
(Interview 1)

Sotoo: "I am working with stone. This is not breaking the stones. No.
Each time, I ask the stone: How to do? I… How to do? I'm nothing! God made this nature. Perfect. Nature is perfect.
We have to study nature. Through nature you can see God. God 'speech as' through nature. Stone is nature.
Stone is my machine. And my heart. My teacher."

Watch this interview:

Especially for the Dutch Gaudi-fans!
Speciaal voor de Nederlandse Gaudi-fans!
The original Dutch article/ Het originele Nederlandse artikel:

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