Homenaje a Mallarmé (Homage to Mallarmé)

Jorge Oteiza

Orio, Guipúzcoa, Spain, 1908 - San Sebastián, Spain, 2003
  • Date: 
  • Material: 
    Steel sheet
  • Technique: 
    Welding, bluing and construction
  • Dimensions: 
    54 x 60 x 40 cm
  • Edition/serial number: 
    Original unique work
  • Category: 
  • Entry date: 
  • Observations: 
    Entry date: 1988 (from the redistribution of the Museo Español de Arte Contemporáneo [MEAC] collection)
  • Register number: 

The core of Jorge Oteiza’s abstract sculpture took shape in the 1950s, after his experiments with models in the Laboratorio experimental (Experimental Laboratory), leading to a focus on the definitive work in stone and iron that made up the majority of his prize-winning exhibits at the 4th São Paulo Biennial in 1957, entitled Propósito experimental (Experimental Proposal). This was followed by sculptures that the artist referred to as Obras conclusivas (Conclusive Works), produced between 1958 and 1959, which formed a body of deep and conclusive sculptural work, which this piece is taken from. Despite its simple syntax, Homenaje a Mallarmé (Homage to Mallarmé) is a complex sculpture, creating a summary of all the sculptor’s artistic ideas and vocabulary. To use his own terminology, it is composed of a combination of “Malevich units” (a reference to one of the fathers of abstraction, the creator of Suprematism) with basic planes that are negatively open or empty, creating a calm “empty box” alongside diagonal “Malevich planes” that complicate the structure and the space. The work is a homage to the avant-garde spirit and is dedicated to Stéphane Mallarmé, a writer whose poetics, like Oteiza’s, signified a search for the absolute, a model of abstraction and a paradigm of the union between poetry and art.

Carmen Fernández Aparicio