Alberto worked on the modernisation of sculpture using the language of the avant-garde but without going via the established centres such as Paris, and basing his work on ideas suggested by the land, as can be seen in the shapes, materials and finishes he used. The monolith Maternidad (Maternity) was the central piece of Monumento a los niños (Monument to Children), a sculpture group that introduced the artist to the National Sculpture Competition in 1930, and which was never fully materialised. The sculptor’s reference was vegetal forms, where growth begins as a breaking off into branches, and he used the hollow as a formal and symbolic element relating to the womb-space where human life begins. In Maternity, the body of a child emerges from a maternal body with a trunk-like form covered in abstract signs, like a branch growing away from the tree. The birth leaves an opening in the body it is emerging from, revealing the dual plant/human nature of the figures. In form and concept, this work is directly connected to the monumental monolith presented at the Spanish Pavilion in 1937, El pueblo español tiene un camino que conduce a una estrella (There Is a Way for the Spanish People That Leads to a Star). The idea of both works is the vindication of farm landscapes, echoing the telluric inspiration behind regenerationist debates on the role of rural land in the modernisation of Spanish society.
Carmen Fernández Aparicio