The 150 years of Torres García

The 150 years of Torres García

The 150 years of Torres García: the Uruguayan who turned the map around and formed a generation
The MACA in Punta del Este celebrates the 150th birthday of Joaquín Torres García with an exhibition that covers his artistic legacy.

Soaring skyscrapers, bustling shops, winding streets, moving trains, dynamic ports. All this, all these visual elements, are typical of the perception that Joaquín Torres García (1874 – 1949) had about the modern city.

And all this appears in a large part of the Uruguayan artist's work. Currently, the Atchugarry Museum of Contemporary Art (MACA) in Punta del Este, has an exhibition titled “The discovery of oneself” because that plastic artist who was so important for the Uruguayan and international scene, turns 150 since the birth of him. The exhibition, which will be open to the public until March 31, includes more than 140 works collected from the Torres García Museum.

Strategically located under a red timeline stretching from 1900 to 1940, a black and white analog photo. That is the beginning, the Torres García of the beginning. The evolution will take place over four decades.

Next to the portrait, a sign advertises the "Toy Manufacture", presenting detachable and transformable figures sculpted in solid wood. Among them, a bearded character stands out, another with a black hat, a car with red wheels, a toucan and a dog, all made of wood.

Wooden toys not only anticipate Torres García's future plastic solutions, but also represent an ingenious form of subsistence.

The room is a universe of creativity with notebooks full of sketches, manuscripts and notebooks of collages and watercolors. These elements coexist with the works of Torres García himself, merging into an artistic expression that is very much his own. Very Torres García.

On each page, the Uruguayan highlights elements of the urban fabric of the cities that he explored and inhabited throughout his life. Torres García, born in Montevideo, was the son of a Catalan father and a Uruguayan mother. Recognized for being a pioneer in the avant-garde of abstraction in Europe, he is remembered for his contribution to Constructive Universalism and for his emblematic phrase “Our north is the South.”

The works on display are proof of Torres García's intimate interaction with the metropolis. It is clear how the city, both in his work and in his life experience, played a fundamental role in his constructive conception.

The exhibition not only the presentation of his works. It is, in reality, the world of the artist. Explores his artistic evolution and his deep connection with the urban environment.

“Bringing the archive into evidence and exhibiting it alongside his famous paintings is also a way of revealing Torres García's creative and investigative process to the public, demystifying and exposing his work to better understand his artistic career,” says Cecilia Rabossi, curator of the sample, to LatidoBEAT.

“We work with the archive at the same level as his pictorial works, the archival material is not complementary, but is displayed on the walls, interacting with his pictorial works,” she adds.

For her part, Aimé Iglesias Lukin, who also complements the curatorial team, comments that “Joaquín Torres García left an indelible mark in the history of Uruguayan and Latin American art and, in some way, on a global level.”

Two maps in the exhibition guide the journey. The first, a cartographic representation of Europe and America that traces the routes followed by the artist from 1891 to 1934, with Montevideo as the starting and finishing point.
The second map, conceived by Torres García, represents his theoretical and political proposal after decades exploring the world. After returning to Uruguay in 1935, after living in Madrid and after forty-three years of absence, he proposed a radical change with his text “The School of the South.” This second marks a point of arrival, consolidating his ideas after countless experiences and reflections.

“On the one hand, the artist looks at the urban environment, which is rediscovered, that is why we took the 1917 book called “The discovery of himself” as the title of the exhibition and, in parallel with that interaction with the urban areas, this artist, educator, pedagogue, who needs to work with others, is represented,” says Rabossi.
“In the exhibition, the strategies are deployed from conferences, radio broadcasts, manifestos. In an article by Alejandro Díaz, director of the Joaquín Torres García Museum in Montevideo, it is stated that, from the time he arrived in 1934 until the day of his death in 1949, Torres García gave more than 777 conferences, which reflected the instance of interaction and I work with the other,” says Iglesias Lukin.

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