Mathias Goeritz and the invention of emotional architecture

The return of the snake

November 12, 2014 - April 13, 2015 /
Sabatini Building, Floor 3

This exhibition represents an approach to the work of Mathias Goeritz (Danzig, 1915 – Mexico City, 1990), produced after he settled in Mexico in 1949. In his theoretical and practical output, spanning four decades, rational utopia and Neo-primitivism converge, factors that stem from his own biography: his journey through different cities in Europe and North Africa (1948), his stint in Spain, and his participation in the preliminaries to the Primera Semana de Arte in Santillana del Mar (September 1949), as well as his contact with Mexican culture.

The work on show employs the principle of “emotional architecture” as the theme to build upon and articulate its exhibition discourse. Formulated by Mathias Goeritz in 1954, this principle became the dynamic core and theoretical and aesthetic basis of his work, appealing to the need to envisage spaces, works and objects that cause maximum emotion in modern man, as opposed to functionalism, aestheticism and individual authorship. Thus, the notions of collaboration, freedom of creation and the recovery of the social functions of design are acknowledged in every work cultivated and produced by Goeritz during these years.

The exhibition, put together as a journey through Goeritz’s most emblematic works, highlights how the ensemble of his work and activity emanated from the acceptance of art as a meta-artistic project (encompassing the social, political and public spheres), where a primitive form – the edges of the lines that form the snake’s body (La serpiente de El Eco, 1953) – becomes a formal and conceptual unit in all of his pieces, developed within a Cold War context. Equally, terms like scale model and monument appear as categories that pass through his work, substantiating the will to subvert the notion of proportion.

To illustrate these themes and the set of problems regarding the conception and production of different projects and ideas, the exhibition comprises a selection of over two hundred works – drawings, sketches, scale models, photographs, sculptures and panel paintings – that reveal the experimental, analytical and even playful nature of Goeritz’s oeuvre, underpinned by the persistence of a theme and motif.

Exhibition´s details

Organized by: 
Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía
Francisco Reyes Palma
Exhibition Tour: 
Palacio de Cultura Banamex, Mexico DF (May 27 - September 20, 2015); Museo Amparo, Puebla (October 24, 2015 - February 15, 2016)
Consuelo Abascal de Lemionet, Herbert Bayer, Ferenc Berko, Úrsula Bernath, Alexander Calder, Ilya Chamberlain, Ángel Crespo, Germán Cueto, José Luis Cuevas, Jorge Dubón, Helen Escobedo, Ángel Ferrant, Gonzalo Fonseca, Lucio Fontana, Manuel Garay - Comité Organizador de los Juegos de la XIX Olimpiada, Marianne Gast, Mathias Goeritz, Fernando González Barba, Paolo Gori, Kati Horna, George Hoyninguen-Huene, Yves Klein, Horst Kurnitzky, Yoram Lehmann, Daniel Lemionet, Clement Meadmore, Joan Miró, Jacques Moeschal, Henry Moore, Hans Namuth, Francisco Nieva, Constantino Nivola, Jesús Reyes Ferreira, Armando Salas Portugal, Z. Sharkey, Julius Shulman, Anthony Stubbing, Pierre Székely, Kioshi Takahashi, Rufino Tamayo, Jean Tinguely, Leticia Torres Hernández, Mariana Yampolsky, Michel Zabé, Olivia Zúñiga View more