I needed to make an artwork of the World Trade Center but understood it couldn't be physical; too much steel and concrete had already been negotiated. I wanted the work to exist out of time; it had to be both before and after September 11th. Mostly, I wanted to see that blue, blue sky and in my heart once again hear the voice of a cherished friend, if only as a distant echo. – Christopher Saucedo
Christopher Saucedo first experienced the World Trade Center as a massive hole in the ground. In 1969, his father had taken him and an older brother to the site of what would become the world’s tallest buildings. Absent from the expedition was Gregory, the youngest brother, born that December. Almost 32 years later, Gregory Thomas Saucedo would be last seen in the North Tower responding to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks with his firehouse, FDNY Ladder Company 5. A few days after 9/11, Christopher packed the gear that he used as a sculptor in metal and stone—boots, gloves, respirator, crowbars—and drove to New York City from his home in New Orleans, determined to find his brother in the wreckage.
Ten years later, when Saucedo turned to art as a way to process the terror, loss, grief, and destruction, he rejected his usual materials. Instead of steel and stone, he used lighter materials, creating a series of 10 ethereal paper works, one for each year since his brother’s death. Three of these are on display.
Saucedo created these images by pressing layers of fine white linen pulp onto a large blue field of handmade paper. The forms seem to be floating clouds, but on closer inspection can be seen as an ethereal representation of the World Trade Center.
After Christopher Saucedo’s brother Gregory Thomas Saucedo was killed on September 11, 2001, the artist faced two natural disasters: Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in 2005 and Hurricane Sandy in New York in 2012. In the aftermath of each of these calamities, Saucedo turned to art to help make sense of his experience. Primarily a sculptor, Saucedo typically uses materials such as steel, wood, and cast metal, but also creates drawings and works in mixed media. His art frequently explores themes of loss and survival.
Saucedo remembers the week following September 11, 2001, when he and his family waited for news about his younger brother, Gregory Saucedo, who responded to the 9/11 terrorist attacks with his firehouse, FDNY ladder 5.