Exhibition CAAM - Los Balcones 11
Since 28 March 2019 to 29 September 2019
César Manrique (Lanzarote, 1919 - 1992) was convinced that art is everywhere, in nature too, and that it was the artist’s task to build this awareness. The driving force behind his creation was Lanzarote’s volcanic landscape; it provided him with visual arguments and, from the 1960s on, became the location of his artistic mission. Manrique was not only a professionally trained painter, a self-educated architect, landscape planner, designer, and sculptor. He also acted as mediator, initiator, promoter and entrepreneur, as educator and activist. He was interested in art that is dedicated to life, a “total art” that also takes meaning from its power to bring about social change.
After graduating in art in Madrid (1945 - 50), Manrique became a member of a Spanish avantgarde that explored the possibilities of abstraction, and he successfully distinguished himself as a modern painter. Using textile, object, and interior design methods, he created entire interiors (Parrilla of the Hotel Fénix, Madrid) and set out for his goal to infuse everyday life with modern aesthetics. In 1964 Manrique moved to New York, where he achieved international acclaim as an artist and expanded his aesthetic repertoire (Pop Art). A fresh feeling of freedom changed his self-concept as an artist; urban life changed his world view.
When the artist returned to Lanzarote for good in 1966, the island was facing the challenges of an incipient onset of tourism. By his aesthetic rediscovery of the island, Manrique aptly raised collective public awareness for its natural and cultural heritage. He co-initiated an innovative development model for tourism that linked artistic design, economic growth, and responsibility for the protection of nature in a common context. His works—viewing platforms, pool installations, restaurants, gardens—are committed as much to the island’s traditional architecture as to visual languages of this time. They organically blend in with the surrounding and at the same time highlight the landscape with the intent to increase environmental and natural awareness. The emerging mass tourism of the 1980s flooded the island with purely profit-oriented capital. Manrique’s aesthetico-social project grew into a socio-political, activist engagement that met with response far beyond the island. His Lanzarote project was unique and informed by his ideals, and, at the same time, it was socially embedded, committed, and effective. On the occasion of his 100th birthday, the CAAM is launching an extensive exhibition in honor of César Manrique.
Exhibition title: Universo Manrique
Curator: Katrin Steffen
Dates: 28.03.2019 to 29.09.2019
Place: CAAM - Los Balcones 11
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Spain.
Produce: Centro Atlántico de Arte Moderno-CAAM. Cabildo de Gran Canaria