Monday, June 25, 2012

Joaquin Torres-Garcia | "Constructivist Composition" | Constellations

Sorry for the long wait, check out this Washington Post article to perhaps better understand the delay.

"Constructivist Composition" (1943) by Joaquin Torres-Garcia,
Collection OAS | Art Museum of the Americas, Gift of Nelson Rockefeller

Joaquin Torres-Garcia 

Exhibit: Constellations: Constructivism, Internationalism, and the Inter-American Avant-Garde
AMA | Art Museum of the Americas

The Artist
A pioneer of modernism, Torres-Garcia was born in Montevideo of a Catalan father and a Uruguayan mother. His family moved to Spain in 1891, settling in Barcelona. By the end of the decade he had become, along with Pablo Picasso and Julio Gonzalez, part of the bohemian milieu of the cafe Els Quatre Gats. Torres-Garcia moved to Paris in 1926 where he me Theo van Doesburg and Piet Mondrian and later founded the group Cercle et Carre with Michel Seuphor. 

While in Paris, he also became interested in prehistoric and primitive art, including pre-Columbian objects. The style of Constructive Universalism he developed at this time retained a gridded structure related to Neo-Plasticism but he invested each compartmentalized rectangle with a schematic motif, emblematic of autobiographical, mathematical, spiritual, or metaphysical concerns. His compositions, often based on the proportions of the Golden Section, were in primary colors or nearly monochromatic. 

Returning to Montevideo in 1934, he founded the Asociacion de Arte Constructivo and in 1943 the Taller Torres-Garcia, an arts-and-crafts workshop devoted to pedagogy and collective work. His landmark theoretical book, “Universalismo Constructivo”, was also published in 1943. Within his fairly well defined repertory of signs and symbols, there are frequent references to the pre-Hispanic world. In many works, the geometric patterning is reminiscent of pre-Columbian textiles or Inca masonry and ceramics. His ideas on the relationship of man to the cosmos also draw on pre-Hispanic sources. He saw the function of the Latin American artist as one of recovering the ancestral dignity of the rich Indo-American tradition in order to create a uniquely South American art.

by Joaquin Torres-Garcia, from the Archives of the Art Museum of the Americas