Joaquín Torres-García: The Arcadian Modern

*Formas abstractas ensambladas (Assembled abstract forms)*

Joaquín Torres-García. Formas abstractas ensambladas (Assembled abstract forms). 1937

Joaquín Torres-García. Formas abstractas ensambladas (Assembled abstract forms). 1937. Tempera on cardboard, 39 3/8 × 31 1/2″ (100 × 80 cm). Collection Clarissa and Edgar Bronfman Jr. © Sucesión Joaquín Torres-García, Montevideo 2015

Narrator: Assembled Abstract Forms dates from 1937. By this time, Torres-García had been living in his native Uruguay for three years, where he remained for the rest of his life.

Luis Perez-Oramaz: Between 1935 and 1938, Torres-García produced a series of apparently purely abstract works, that refer to architecture in a very bold way to both modern and pre-Colombian architecture. This is one of the first works in that series. However, it also bears the signature of his dealings with the avant-garde in Paris in the 1920s. It’s a work that represents both an abstract building, but also a machine. It’s both a motor and a monument. And in that sense, this is a work that, again, embodies this collision of different ages.

Narrator: Here, Torres-García’s abstract forms are not entirely flat.

Luis Perez-Oramaz: It's a work that announces the interest on playing with the vibrational dimension of the surface. We are looking at something concrete that suggests the idea of endless movement. And this is a perfect example of the way Torres-García would animate the surface through shadows.

And it's that middle between the concrete and the abstract that makes this particularly striking and successful, and if we keep the feeling of a monumental classical presence, then this is timeless.

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