Transformable Spatial Structure

Activation - FEMSA Collection

During a four-week period (April 29 – May 31, 2017), Sandu Darié’s piece “Transformable Spatial Structure” from FEMSA Collection comes into conceptual and aesthetic conversation with Luis Barragán’s home and legacy, poetically revealing the weight of the spaces created by the architect.

Sandú Darié’s sculpture is exhibited in the library, with the contextual dialogue set off by the interest Barragán showed in the vanguard’s artistic movements and their direct links to rationalist architecture. With more than 2000 books, Luis Barragán’s personal collection frames the artist’s work, visually and conceptually enmeshing it within the store of books that are treasured in this home.

The use of colors, geometric shapes, and planes that characterize this sculpture—as well as the works by artists known as the “Diez Pintores Concretos” (Ten Concrete Painters)—connects with Barragán’s phenomenological and conceptual understanding of the chromatic values he used in his architecture.

Roman, Romania – Havana, Cuba

Born in Romania in 1908, Sandú Darié lived and studied in France before moving to Havana and becoming a Cuban national in 1941. Upon his arrival, he came into contact with the Argentinian group “Arte Madí,” with which he presented his first exhibitions, absorbing its founder Gyula Kosice’s theories on rationalism and aesthetic materialism.

During the 1950s, Darié began experimenting with geometry as well as kinetic and abstract art, producing his first series of “Transformable Structures,” which were shown in the University of Havana’s Department of Architecture in 1955. At this point, he came into contact with other Cuban artists who were interested in neo-plasticism, constructivism, and post-cubism.

In 1959, the exhibition Ten Concrete Painters Show Paintings and Drawings was shown in Galería Arte Color- Luz, marking the founding of the “Ten Concrete Painters” group, which included Pedro Álvarez, Wifredo Arcay, Mario Carreño, Salvador Corratgé, Luis Martínez Pedro, Alberto Menocal, José M. Mijares, Pedro de Oraá, José Ángel Rosabal, Loló Soldevilla, Rafael Soriano, and Sandú Darié.

Even though this group’s interactions with the Batista regime were relatively peaceful, the group clashed with the government Castro established as of the Cuban Revolution, as the abstract language the group used raised suspicions given its prior association with radical and utopian groups. Consequently, many of the artists in the group fled from the island, but not before their third and last collective show took place in 1961, at Galería de Artes Plásticas in the city of Camagüey. Though short lived, the group had an enormous impact—not only in the history of Cuban art, but in the international abstract movement’s trajectory throughout the twentieth century.


© Estancia FEMSA, 2017. Photographs by Ramiro Chaves.