Torres Garcia

Torres García is probably the most famous Uruguayan plastic artist, and the "Pax in Lucem" one of his best known picures.

The style, or more precisely, the school created by Torres García is the Universal Constructivism, based in many concepts, being one of them the dissociation between color and form, there is a message written in the lines and a second message written in the color. Accordingly, we can remove color from a Torres García Painting and still have part of the message. The "Pax in Lucem" deprived from his colors is similar to this picture,

My house

There is a story that relates the width of the Challenger propellers with the width of the roman war cars, the story is large but funny and possibly apocryphal. The story that relates myself with Torres García's "Pax in Lucem" is also large, but although possibly not so funny it is real.

In 1999 we bought a new house for the family, the house was in a more or less ruinous condition, so we had to repair it. I did by myself much of the repair work. Among the interesting things that working in my own house has is that now it belongs to me in a different way, I developed a deep relation with the place, because under this paint lay the bricks my bare hands put one over another.

Anyways, this is not the idea of this page. To repair my house I had to learn many things, including learning to work with Iron. The house had two iron-made ruinous skylights, at first time the condition was so bad I thought to replace them, but my friend Fernando taught me how to repair them, my friend Rafael taught me how to weld and my brother taught me how to place the glasses over the iron structure. The result was incredible, but more important to me was the discovering of the possibilities of iron-working. With iron, you can build complex and resistant structures in little time and with relatively little difficulty, I suppose this is more or less the same the humanity discovered in the Iron Age but I do not have as many neurons as I wanted and some things are difficult to understand.

Another thing I needed for the house was a transparent corridor, iron is not precisely transparent but I promise that a relation exists. It happens that natural light was a scarce resource in the house, so Piojo (the architect) designed a glass corridor for the second floor in order to let the natural ligth to reach the first floor. But the glass has to be supported by some structure, and for that we have the iron structure. We build an iron grid and place the glass over it, this has at least three objectives. First is to protect the glass, the corridor has 1 meter width per 5 meters large, without a supporting structure the glass will determinstically broke. Second goal is security, if the glass breaks the iron structure holds you and at least you do not fall form the second to the first floor. And third goal is to diminish the vertigo generated by standing in the middle of the air.

But when I was about to star building the grid, something happened.

Steel

In the "Ciudad Vieja" of Montevideo, the historical neighborhood of the city, there is a museum that holds his name, and that exhibits, among other things some of his works. Among the other things, there is a wonderful iron work, by an artist that reproduced one of Torres García paintings in iron. My wife Gabriela, told me that instead of a grid, I should make something like that for the corridor.

I guess that she said that because she did not believe I was capable of doing it, between my family and friends I have the reputation of being manually clumsy (I accept it is a fair reputation). But what I thought was that between welding the irons forming a grid and welding them forming a picture the extra work was really little.

The first thing I tried was making a picture by myself, I read some of Torres García's books to sadly discover that my artistic talents were not enough, so I started to look for a painting I was able to replicate in iron. This was not easy, the corridor has certain dimensions and I needed a painting with the same ones, or at least the same aspect ratio (1 by 5 meters, 2 by ten, and so on). The most similar I found was the "Pax in Lucem"which has 1 by 4 meters, so I decided to enlarge it to get the 1 by 5 meters I needed. I guess Torres García would jump from his grave If he knew I enlarged one of his paintings. Constructivism places a lot of emphasis in relations between dimensions, but I beg pardon for this.

After this, it only remained to do it. This was about 1 year of work, 270 kilos of iron, 293 pieces, 816 welding points and 2.7 kilos of welding electrodes, the result is the following,