Christian Wedel

Costa Rica, b.1985

Lives and works in San José

Christian Wedel works with a variety of mediums, from charcoal, pencil, oil paintings, ceramics and found objects, to explore the intricacies of the tropics, forging a connection between inert matter, plants and the human body. Part of his inspiration stems from his time spent living in Puerto Viejo on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica, where he was surrounded by the rainforest.

Concerned with the vitality of plants, how they grow and what they need to live, Wedel deconstructs the jungle, whether in his paintings or in his intricate ink drawings, simplifying shapes and melding organic forms with contours of the human body, which make them teeter between the familiar and the alien. Wedel’s work takes on an eerie, uncanny quality; though reminiscent of nature, his forms have a surreal, spiritual dimension where plants transcend their earthly existence.

Reflecting on his commitment to environmental consciousness, Wedel notes, “There is an ambiguity between bodies, between what is human and what is plant, what is natural and what is man-made”. This ambiguity is linked to the theory of Postnaturalism, another central theme in Wedel’s work, where his forms are a nod to the natural vs the artificial, and the deliberate manipulation of organisms to fulfil distinct cultural objectives.

Wedel’s art has been shown across Costa Rica, including the Museum of Costa Rican Art and The Museum of Contemporary Art and Design. Notably, he contributed to the “Next season: Art and science in the face of the climate future” residency and exhibition, aligning his work with environmental consciousness and the challenges of the changing climate.

Christian Wedel in his studio, 2023 (Photography by Juan Tribaldos)

“A restlessness of form manifests a desire for closeness to the other; a desire to merge, to inhabit.” Wedel, 2023