Jorge Oteiza

Art
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Jorge Oteiza
Jorge Oteiza. Caja Vacía

Attention: You're about to see works by one of the best artists from the Iberian Peninsula of all time. The name Jorge Oteiza (Orio, 1908 – Donostia, 2003) should be mentioned, all things being equal, along with Cézanne, Mondrian and Malevich. The experimental work he did between 1948, when he returned from the USA, and 1959 embodies a prodigious decade in the odyssey of the spirit in search of the confines of space. Consistent with his findings, he decided that it wasn't worth carrying on, let alone repeating himself. And so he dedicated himself to pedagogy, Basque anthropology and poetry. According to Oteiza, 'What the artist transforms is himself. And it is this man, transformed by art, who can transform reality from life.'

The only time there's been an Oteiza retrospective in Barcelona was in 1988. Now there's an entire museum dedicated to him in Alzuza (Navarra). But it's worth taking the opportunity to see his work in Barcelona at La Pedrera, no less, where you can learn how, in just over ten years, the sculptor moves from expressionist figuration to the use of the sphere or cube, in subtle ways that your soul will understand before your brain does. Remember the monolith in '2001: A Space Odyssey'? Well, Oteiza's cubes are what the astronaut must have perceived after touching God. Oteiza is a mystic who excavates space through geometry – the same as Gaudí but with a completely opposite purpose.

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