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Conecta los puntos Join the dots

Ernesto Mallard Pedro Reyes


Ernesto Mallard. NaturaNave (izq-left), 1972,
NaturaConjuncin (der-right), 1969
Acrlico, vinil y metal (Acrylic, vinyl and metal)
67 67 30 cm (26.37 26.37 11.81 inches)
110 80 18 cm (43.31 31.5 7.09 inches)
Vista de la exposicin Naturacosas en
el Museo de Arte Moderno, Ciudad de Mxico.
Publicada en la ocasin de / Published in the ocassion of
Conecta los puntos / Join the Dots: Ernesto Mallard / Pedro Reyes
Conecta los puntos Join the dots
19.09.2014 31.10.2014
Ernesto Mallard Pedro Reyes
PRESENTACIN
Pedro Reyes

Mi primer encuentro con la obra de Ernesto Mallard,


fue a los 12 aos. Pasaba las tardes en casa de un
amigo cuya madre haba estudiado historia del arte.
En esta casa, suspendida en el centro, a mitad de la
escalera, colgaba una Naturacosa. Al subir y bajar
los peldaos de concreto en cantilver, vea los
juegos de lneas que se abran como una flor o un
iris magnificado. La pieza en forma de diamante gi-
raba libremente y a menudo me detena hipnotizado
por este objeto del futuro. La madre de mi amigo,
que vesta conjuntos de estampados vibrantes, me
intercept en las escaleras: Te gusta el arte?. A
lo que respond: No todo, pero esto s me gusta.

Otra pieza que recuerdo era un elaborado trptico


que se encontraba en el gabinete de ilusiones pticas
del Museo de Ciencia y Tecnologa de Chapultepec.
Un intrincado juego de volmenes virtuales que me
hacan pensar en montaas matemticas o arquitectu-
ras extraterrestres protegidas por una enorme cpula
cristalina en alguna galaxia lejana. Despus pasaron
muchos aos antes de volver a ver otra pieza de
Mallard, y sin embargo, era una imagen tan persistente
que en el ao 2001, a propsito de una exposicin

Detalle del cartel Mallard *Naturacosas


Galeria Jack Misrachi, Ciudad de Mxico. 18 de junio de 1970
Foto: Enrique Bostelmann 7
individual que realic en la Sala de Arte Pblico
Siqueiros, intent reproducir su tcnica. El resultado
dio origen a un grupo de obras hechas en cordn de
vinilo llamadas Capulas.

Entonces deseaba crear esculturas penetrables que


levitaran encendidas de luz y cuya piel elstica y
antropofgica engullera cuerpos y los acogiera al
interior de un campo visual cintico. Eso me record
a Mallard y las posibilidades de generar volmenes
tejiendo con cordn de vinilo. Los jugos solares di-
geridos por los dinosaurios ahora transformaban el
petrleo en polmeros que inyectaban color al arte
de la cestera. Produje entre 15 o 20 capulas, pero
siempre haba tenido el deseo de organizar una
exposicin rindiendo homenaje al maestro que las
haba inspirado. El proyecto de hacer esta muestra,
al fin se concreta. Espero que sea la primera de mu-
chas exposiciones que acerquen al pblico la obra
de Mallard.

Las piezas presentadas en esta muestra llevan cuatro


dcadas sin ser exhibidas. Cuando busqu a Mallard,
me fascin tambin conocer su casa, con bvedas
de tabique construidas con sus propias manos y
herreras acordes a su universo espirogrfico. Un
dato trivial que surgi en alguna de nuestras conver-
saciones fue descubrir que Ernesto lleva ms de 40
aos sin probar una Coca Cola las aguas negras
del imperialismo yanqui lo cual habla tangencial-
mente de la firme conviccin de sus ideas.

EM. NaturaDinmica, 1969


Acrlico, vinil y metal (Acrylic, vinyl and metal)
8 100 100 26 cm (39.37 39.37 10.24 inches)
EM. Tetracombinatrio ptico-cintico (detalle-detail), 1970
Acrlico, vinil y metal (Acrylic, vinyl and metal)
360 180 cm (141.73 70.86 inches)
Coleccin Museo Tecnolgico de la Ciudad de Mxico.
Esta exposicin recupera obras de 1967 a 1974.
Al final de este perodo, Ernesto Mallard realiza
el cierre simblico de galeras. Con este acto, en
gran medida, se despide del mercado del arte para
concentrarse en proyectos de arte pblico e inter-
venciones urbanas. Cuarenta aos despus, vemos
de nuevo estas creaciones que sin duda confirman a
Mallard como el exponente ms destacado del arte
cintico en Mxico.

Quisiera agradecer profundamente a Ernesto y a


Eugenia Mallard por facilitarme el acceso a estos
trabajos. A Michel Mallard y Alain-Paul Mallard por
el placer de trabajar juntos en la edicin de este
libro y a Pamela Echeverra por su visin para realizar
esta muestra.

En aos recientes hemos presenciado el retorno


crtico de las vanguardias latinoamericanas. Se
han realizado grandes exposiciones del cinetismo
venezolano de Soto, Cruz-Diez y Gego, adems
de muestras del neoconcretismo brasileo, etc. De
igual forma tenemos la esperanza que esta muestra
contribuya a entender el contexto histrico en que
Mallard trabaj, y posicionarlo en la cartografa de
los grandes experimentos plsticos del siglo XX, en
la que inevitablemente contribuy a renovar la expe-
riencia mental y retiniana que estalla en el encuentro
frente a frente, con su obra.

EM. Natura-flama, 1970


Acrlico, vinil y metal (Acrylic, vinyl and metal)
12 56 110 10 cm (22.05 43.31 3.94 inches)
EM. Tetracombinatrio ptico-cintico, 1970
Acrlico, vinil y metal (Acrylic, vinyl and metal)
360 180 cm (141.73 70.86 inches)
Coleccin Museo Tecnolgico de la Ciudad de Mxico.
PRELUDE
Pedro Reyes

My first encounter with the work of Ernesto Mallard


happened when I was twelve years old. I would spend
the afternoon at the house of a friend whose mother
had studied art history, and hanging in the middle
of that house was a Naturacosa. As I went up and
down the cantilevered concrete stairs, I saw the play
of lines that opened like a flower or a magnified iris.
The diamond-shaped piece spun freely and I would
often stop, hypnotized by this object from the fu-
ture. My friends mother, dressed in sets of vibrant
patterns, intercepted me on the stairs and asked,
Do you like art? To which I responded, Not all of
it, but I like this.

Another piece I remember was an elaborate triptych


from the optical illusion cabinet at the Museo de
Ciencia y Tecnologa de Chapultepec (Chapultepec
museum of science and technology). An intricate set
of virtual volumes made me think of mathematical
mountains or extraterrestrial architecture protected
by an enormous crystalline cupola in some faraway
galaxy. Afterwards, many years passed before I saw
another piece by Mallard, but still, it was such a
persistent image that in 2001 I tried to reproduce his

EM. Naturacosa gravitatoria (detalle-detail), 1970


Acrlico, vinil y metal (Acrylic, vinyl and metal)
110 80 18 cm (43.31 31.5 7.09 inches) 17
technique for a solo exhibition at the Sala de Arte
Pblico Siqueiros (Siqueiros pubic art salon). The
result was the origin of the group of works in vinyl
cords called Capulas.

I wanted to create penetrable sculptures that would


levitate, illuminated with light and whose elastic
and anthropophagic skin would gobble up bodies,
cradling them within an interior kinetic visual field.
This made me think of Mallard and the possibilities
of generating volumes with vinyl weavings. The
solar juices digested by the dinosaurs now convert
petroleum into polymers that inject color into the
art of basket-weaving. I produced between 15 and
20 Capulas, but I always had the desire to organize
a show paying homage to the master who inspired
them. The project of making this show has finally
materialized, and I hope it is the first of many shows
that will bring the public closer to Mallards work.

The pieces presented in this show have not been


seen for four decades. When I sought out Mallard,
I was fascinated to get to know his home, made of
brick vaults he constructed with his own hands and
tools according to his spirographic universe. A minor
detail that came up in some of our conversations was
that Ernesto has gone over 40 years without trying a
Coca Colathe wastewater of Yankee imperialism
which speaks tangentially to the firmness of his ideo-
logical convictions. This exhibition recovers works
from 1967 to 1974. At the end of this period Ernesto
Mallard carried out a symbolic closure of galleries,
an act with which he virtually bid goodbye to the art

Evento Arte a la calle. Calle Gnova, Zona Rosa,


18 Ciudad de Mxico. Junio de 1971
market in order to concentrate on public art projects
and urban interventions. Forty years later, we once
again see his creations that undoubtedly reaffirm
Mallard as the most distinguished practitioner of
kinetic art in Mexico.

I wish to offer deep thanks to Ernesto and Eugenia


Mallard for facilitating access to these works,
to Michel Mallard and Alain-Paul Mallard for the
pleasure of working together to edit this book, and
to Pamela Echeverra for her vision in producing
this show.

In recent years we have witnessed the critical return


of the Latin American vanguard. Large exhibitions
have been carried out on Venezuelan kineticism,
with Soto, Cruz-Diez and Gego, in addition to shows
on Brazilian neoconcretism, etc. We hope that in a
similar way this show will contribute to the extension
of Mallards historic context, position his pieces on
the map of the great plastic experiments of the 20th
century, and inevitably renew the explosive mental
and retinal experience that occurs when we come
face to face with his work.

Pgina anterior (previous page):


Retrato de Ernesto Mallard 1968. Foto: Enrique Bostelmann

EM. NaturaCubos, 1970


Acrlico, vinil y metal (Acrylic, vinyl and metal)
45 45 15 cm (17.72 17.72 5.91 inches) 23
Evento Arte a la calle, Mallard y Sebastin.
Calle Gnova, Zona Rosa. Ciudad de Mxico.
Junio de 1971
EM. Natura-sol, 1972 EM. Natura-eclipse, 1972
Acrlico, vinil y metal (Acrylic, vinyl and metal) Acrlico, vinil y metal (Acrylic, vinyl and metal)
110 80 18 cm (43.31 31.5 7.09 inches) 110 80 18 cm (43.31 31.5 7.09 inches)
ENTREVISTA.
ERNESTO MALLARD Y PEDRO REYES
POR James Oles

James Oles: Me gustara empezar de forma crono-


lgica y hacerte unas preguntas a ti, Ernesto, y lue-
go pasar con Pedro. Una pregunta que tena desde
el principio era sobre cmo te formaste. Revis un
poco.Estudiaste en La Esmeralda o en San Carlos?

Ernesto Mallard: Estudi arquitectura y despus


pas por los talleres de San Carlos y La Esmeralda.

JO: As que estuviste en las dos. Para m esto re-


sulta curioso, porque t estudiando arquitectura, te
moviste hacia las artes plsticas. Pedro Friedeberg
estudi tambin arquitectura, y bueno, Gonzlez
Gortzar lo mismo, es arquitecto, pero ha hecho
mucha escultura. Entonces platcame simplemente
de tu giro de la arquitectura hacia la escultura o las
artes plsticas.

Pgina anterior izquierda (Previous page, left):


EM. CUBO (Detalle)
Obra giratoria. Acrlico, vinil y metal (Acrylic, vinyl and metal)
62 62 62 cm (24.5 24.5 24.5 inches)
Bienal de Escultura Galera Circular MAM, Ciudad de Mxico. 1969
Foto: Ernesto Mallard

Pgina anterior derecha (Previous page, right):


Retrato de Ernesto Mallard a travs de la obra giratoria CUBO
Bienal de Escultura Galera Circular MAM, Ciudad de Mxico. 1969
Foto: Alejandro Solar

EM. NaturaEspiral, 1970


Acrlico, vinil y metal (Acrylic, vinyl and metal)
67 67 10 cm (26.38 26.38 3.94 inches) 31
EM: Bueno, desde la preparatoria tena ya una idea. JO: Claro. Es ah donde tus ideas engranan muy bien
Trataron de ensearnos que la lnea era una suce- con las de otros artistas de arte cintico y arte ptico,
sin de puntos. Yo pensaba entonces que no: para en la importancia de la relacin fsica y dinmica del
m la lnea se genera mediante un punto dinmico, espectador con una obra en movimiento. Hiciste
un punto que se desplaza en el espacio. Y una lnea obras que tenan movimiento en s? O, ms precisa-
que se desplaza genera el plano y del plano se va al mente, la pieza del cubo se mova en el espacio?
relieve, del relieve al volumen. Y el volumen existe,
lgicamente, dentro del espacio... Posteriormente, EM: No, esa t la mueves. Mi idea siempre fue que
gracias a la formacin de la escuela de arquitectura, el pblico participara directamente con la obra, aun-
me acerqu a una gran diversidad de materiales. que respeto mucho la capacidad de energa de la
Adems, tena que vivir de algo. En ese tiempo fui obra en s: hice tambin unas pocas cosas con aire,
asistente de una empresa constructora en donde se mviles vibrantes con energa natural.
utilizaban muchos materiales.
JO: Muy bien. Hay ahora varias cosas de las que
JO: Y bueno, empiezas unas obras utilizando plstico quisiera conversar. Te acuerdas de la exposicin
y fierro las obras que estarn en la exposicin. Eso Cinetismo que se realiz en 1968? Aquella que
sucede hacia 1968 verdad?, o es un poco antes? Helen Escobedo hizo en el Museo Universitario de
Ciencias y Artes (MUCA) en Ciudad Universitaria. No
EM: Un poco antes. Desde el 66 ya trabajaba el s si te acuerdas pero llegaron varios artistas: Hans
fierro, los plsticos y las fibras para hacer tejidos. Al Haacke y Robert Morris. Soto tambin estaba ah.
principio todo se iba para maquetas, tanto de mis No recuerdo, pero creo que tambin Le Parc parti-
tareas para la escuela, como para propuestas visua- cip esa vez Te acuerdas de todo eso? Eran como
les. A partir de ah comenc a pensar en las grandes cuartitos, cada artista tena uno propio.
posibilidades que tena la lnea recta como tal: la
lnea vertical, la horizontal y todas sus inclinaciones, EM: As es. Yo particip. Tengo unas diapositivas,
no slo en el plano sino en el espacio. Una simple pero ningn registro audiovisual. Y las fotos no
superposicin de lneas tiene una gran capacidad transmiten la experiencia fsica de las obras, pues
para provocar algo visualmente. Es muy emotivo, fijan un solo punto de vista y anulan el movimiento
al menos para m. En ese tiempo me deca: Si yo de la mirada en el tiempo y en el espacio.
lo veo y lo siento, los otros tambin deben poder
sentirlo y valorarlo. Y ello a partir de la energa que JO: Naturacosas. De dnde surgi el ttulo de
el movimiento del espectador mismo proyecta. esos trabajos?

32 33
EM: Afortunadamente fue el gran poeta Carlos
Pellicer quien, en una conversacin en casa, decidi
nombrar mis cosas como Naturacosas. No propuso
una definicin precisa: hablaba de la naturaleza de
la cosas, de cosas creaciones que la mano del
hombre aade a la naturaleza, etc. Ms tarde pondra
la palabra en algunos de sus poemas. En ese tiempo
tuve bastante cercana con Helen Escobedo, digo
bastante en cuanto a que ella estuvo largo tiempo
trabajando en la UNAM. Conversamos mucho y
pude participar en la exposicin del MUCA. Hice
unos mviles que manipulaba la gente al entrar.
Hay por ah una diapositiva de los nios y la gente
que entraba a mover formas geomtricas hechas
con cinta de plstico. Al torcerlas, se iban generando
distintos cruzados: triangulares, hexagonales, etc.

JO: Y eso estaba en el MUCA?

EM: En el MUCA estuvo. Se mantuvo all durante


el tiempo que dur Cinetismo. Aunque la instalacin
fue destruida al terminar la muestra, como te podrs
imaginar.

JO: S. Pero tienes registro fotogrfico de esto?

EM: Apenas un par de imgenes. Entonces la


propuesta era esa: algo efmero, un gesto. Respeto
todas las propuestas mecnico-cinticas piezas
mecanizadas que se mueven por s solas, aunque

Pgina anterior (Previous page):


Cartel relieve para el Expo-evento Mallard + Sebastin
44 62 cm (17.4 24.5 inches)
Casa de la Cultura de Toluca 5 de noviembre 1971
Diseo de Mallard

EM. Natura Diversngulos dos, 1970


Acrlico, vinil y metal (Acrylic, vinyl and metal)
36 67 67 8 cm (26.37 26.37 3.14 inches)
lo mo es ms una geometra cintica con base en modulables, para que se pudieran adaptar a los
la energa del desplazamiento del espectador, su espacios. Bueno, esa era la propuesta. Y as se mos-
sensibilidad, sus acciones. traron en las exposiciones de la galera Jack Mis-
rachi, la primera que se hizo en la Zona Rosa, que
JO: Si hoy en da ves una obra de Soto, est lle- era el espacio de la cultura en los aos sesenta. Y a
na de nios las piezas penetrables de Soto, por partir de ah surge todo lo dems Incluso en aqul
ejemplo Lo cual, por otro lado, fue una de las momento tambin tuve bueno, ya estoy hablan-
crticas hechas al arte cintico: que era demasiado do para m inters de proyectarme... Porque me
popular, demasiado fcil de entender, al menos dije: El arte, a la calle! Que la gente participe y lo
visualmente. Se pensaba que era ms entreteni- disfrute! Y proyect, con diapositivas, obras pti-
miento que statement profundo. Un prejuicio que cas y cinticas en los muros, en las fachadas de los
obviamente ya no se tiene hoy en da. edificios. La gente que andaba por la calle no saba
qu estaba pasando
EM: Fue as. Se infravaloraba de ese modo. Yo sien-
to como algo muy positivo que en su modo de co- JO: Pero sobre los materiales
municar propusiera un estmulo creativo sumamente
activo y acesible para todos, nios y adultos. EM: Bueno hay de aluminio y de fierro, de varilla de
fierro comn y corriente.
JO: Quisiera que me explicaras mejor cmo se
construa una pieza, digamos, la pieza de Heliogona JO: Ok. Y qu es el fondo? Es como una placa de
que est en el Museo de Arte Moderno. Cules metal. O qu es?
son exactamente los materiales? Dnde los com-
prabas? Hasta donde puedas recordar. Me interesan EM: Hay un soporte con lmina de aluminio. Y
mucho esas cuestiones tcnicas, que luego voy encima lleva triplay pintado con lacas, o masonite,
tambin a plantearle a Pedro. tambin pintado.

EM: Bueno, en Mxico por esos tiempos no era JO: Adems hilo de plstico
posible conseguir una gama amplia de materiales,
as que tena que trabajar usando tubos de metal EM: El hilo plstico lo consegua por el mercado de
para las estructuras. Porque adems, la propuesta la Merced. Haba en la calle de Corregidora mu-
era que las piezas se integraran al interior de distin- chos locales que lo vendan. Supongo que todava
tos mbitos, espacios de recepcin si t quieres, o se debe conseguir, no s. Lo compraba en carretes
dentro de oficinas. Las piezas deban ser flexibles, y haba de varios tipos, calidades y colores: desde

38 39
uno completamente cilndrico, como un espagueti, y
otro de perfil plano, ms ancho, ms amplio. Como
te deca hace un momento, para los transitables de
Cinetismo, en CU, compr una cinta que se usaba
para tejer asientos.

JO: Entonces estabas jugando con las diferentes


variaciones de estos productos plsticos.

EM: De aquellos productos plsticos. No eran los


materiales nobles que tradicionalmente se usaban
para hacer arte. Todo lo iba yo sumando siempre a
nuevas propuestas: a veces las ideas me venan de
los materiales mismos. Eran materiales para m inno-
vadores en lo que estaba haciendo: artes plsticas
en el sentido ms literal

Eugenia Mallard: La primera pieza que hizo Enesto


fue una de las que estn en el Museo de Arte Moder-
no. Esa pieza la hizo solo, no tena ayudante, no tena
a nadie. Vivamos en un departamento miniatura en
la colonia Npoles y en el patiecito comn, all mis-
mo, l comenz con el taladro a hacer los hoyitos, a
soldar y a pintar con pistola de aire y todo lo dems.

JO: Para el biombo?

EM: Todo. El soporte y luego el biombo. Y la obra


en s.

Pgina anterior (Previous page):


EM. Mviles. Instalacin Inmersiva, transitable y manipulable
Madera y cintas de plstico (wood and plastic strings)
Exposicin Cinetismo organizada por Helen Escobedo
MUCA, Ciudad Universitaria, Ciudad de Mxico, 1968

EM. NaturaDual, 1970


Acrlico, vinil y metal (Acrylic, vinyl and metal)
110 80 18 cm (43.31 31.5 7.09 inches) 43
EM. Bocetos para Naturacosas, 1968.
Eugenia M: S, luego las varillas y la tercera dimensin. EM: Jack Misrachi, las Pecanins, la galera La Bola
que estaba en la calle de Londres, tambin en la
JO: Una pregunta que me surge es: te acuerdas Zona Rosa. Un da, por diferencias administrativas
del mercado de ese tiempo, de poder vender ese dentro de su misma galera una galerista, me dijo:
tipo de obras? Si hoy en da conservas muchas de Te estn apaando Ernesto. Acabas de vender una
estas piezas es porque supongo que no se vendan pieza a tanto y... Entonces decid hacer una pro-
fcilmente en la poca. Puedes hablarnos un poco testa que fue el Cierre simblico de galeras, en el
de eso? Es algo que me interesa mucho, la resisten- que participaron tambin otros artistas como Fel-
cia del coleccionista mexicano o quines eran los gurez, Sebastin, etc. Despus de un tiempo todos
coleccionistas en ese momento Porque s existan los que se haban unido al boicot se dieron cuenta
artistas abstractos como Helen Escobedo. O Goe- que no podan sobrevivir sin el sistema, pero yo
ritz. Haba a quienes les interesaba promover la decid mantenerme afuera. Me retir de las galeras
abstraccin. Pero un artista tambin tiene que vivir, comerciales, aunque segu participando en eventos
como bien decas. Te acuerdas de haber vendido dentro del mbito de la cultura de carcter oficial.
obras? A qu tipo de coleccionista? Qu recuer-
das de eso? S que es una pregunta vaga JO: Es muy curioso porque tus piezas, como mu-
chas piezas de esa poca, se ven como si hubieran
EM: Me es difcil contestar porque no quiero hablar sido producidas casi industrialmente. Tenas asisten-
mal de nadie. Los administradores de las galeras tes para ayudarte con la fabricacin, verdad?
de aquel tiempo iban por caminos muy comerciales.
Uno daba un precio de la obra, incluso asesorado EM: S, uno hasta se perfor de un lado a otro
por algn crtico, y a la hora de la hora los de las la mano con el taladro! Aunque las piezas fueron
galeras, te decan: Oye, tenemos un cliente, pero hechas una por una, con pequeos equipos. No es
necesitamos bajarle el precio Aceptas bajarle por presuncin, pero Sebastin fue mi asistente, mi
tantito? Y yo, como necesitaba el dinero, respon- ayudante
da: Bueno, pues vndanla a ese precio. Pero
despus empec a enterarme de que lo haban Eugenia M: Pero no les digas ya eso!
subido. Hacan negocio slo para ellos y nada ms.
No fueron exclusivamente las Pecanins, hubo otros, JO: Est bien. l lo tendra que admitir.
pero para qu digo nombres, no?
EM: Es la verdad, o no? Incluso con el maestro
JO: Pero tu vendiste con las Pecanins no? Con Mathias Goeritz fui a dar plticas a la Universidad.
Jack Misrachi. Me daba una compensacionsita, mnima, pero

46 47
EM. Proyecto para mural en el Hotel Condesa del Mar,
Acapulco, Guerrero (no construido), 1970
daba mis plticas y expona mis ideas. Incluso di
algunos talleres.

JO: En cul, en la Universidad Iberoamericana?

EM: No, no, en la UNAM. El contacto surgi preci-


samente ah. Hubo algunos artistas que se afiliaron
a mis propuestas como Federico Silva. Iba a nues-
tra casa a verme. Conversbamos. Incluso tomaba
apuntes y notas de todo lo que comentbamos.
Otros tambin. Hersa, por ejemplo.

JO: Hersa, tambin iba a tu casa?

Eugenia M: S. Hicieron una asociacin que se lla-


maba Arte Urbano. Se abreviaba UR.

EM: Claro, UR, una asociacin que pretenda producir


el arte urbano. Era un arte que buscaba la calle
como espacio y donde se pretenda apelar ms
directamente a la gente. Se involucraron, donando
materiales, algunas empresas como Comex y unas
metalrgicas de Tlalnepantla que ya han desapareci-
do. Se les daba, lgicamente, su crdito, y se les re-
compensaba con una maqueta o una pieza a escala.

JO: Y te llevabas muy bien con Felgurez?

EM: No, muy poco. Hablbamos una que otra vez,


pero casi nunca.

JO: Entonces tus amigos en esa poca eran


Gonzlez Gortzar, o quines?

EM. NaturaAscenso (detalle-detail), 1970


Acrlico, vinil y metal (Acrylic, vinyl and metal)
50 110 80 18 cm (43.31 31.5 7.09 inches)
EM: Bueno, eso fue en el 70 o 71. Con Felgurez Moyssen. Ah estn las crticas, que fueron muy
me distanci porque fue el primero que me rechaz buenas. Alberto Hjar. Luego hubo una gran amistad
por parte de la Generacin de la Ruptura. l fue con ellos: ir a cenar a sus casas, conocernos, invitarlos
uno. El otro ya no me acuerdo quien era a la nuestra.

Eugenia M: Si lo vemos, se saludan. EM: S, hubo alguna cercana con crticos. A m ya


se me van los nombres.
JO: Hoy en da?
JO: Lily Kassner, no?
EM: S, s, hoy en da.
EM: Lily Kassner s, tambin ella. Busc mucha
Eugenia M: Porque en muchos lugares coincidimos, obra ma.
en las exposiciones a las que vamos, por ejemplo.
Eugenia M: Siempre lo pone en sus antologas
EM: Bueno, no quiero hablar mal nadie, pero Vicente de escultura.
Rojo, que fue jurado para valoraciones y otorga-
miento de premios a carteles yo haca cosas que JO: Bueno Pedro, vamos a
iban del plano al relieve; cortaba y plegaba el papel,
cosas as y Vicente Rojo, pues me rechaz todo en Eugenia M: Solo te quiero contar que Ernesto
la vida. Digo, son diferencias naturales y normales. ya nunca hizo arquitectura, salvo nuestra propia
casa-escultura, en San ngel. Cuando la estbamos
JO: Quines eran los crticos ms cercanos? construyendo, necesitbamos fondos y organizamos
un gran remate de Naturacosas en la casa en que
Eugenia M: En aquel entonces era vivamos, junto al Parque hundido. Toda la casa, que
era de dos plantas, se vaci y se llen con las Natu-
JO: Raquel Tibol? racosas. Como un pequeo museo. Muchos amigos
compraron obra, para apoyarnos. Se serva sangra
EM: Raquel, estaba. Pero conmigo nunca. y tortilla de patatas. Las puertas estaban abiertas
de par en par y la gente iba y vena. Fue muy, muy
JO: Bueno, Raquel con nadie, la verdad. emotivo. Yo estoy casada con Ernesto hace 48 aos
y, desde entonces, arquitectura propiamente dicha
Eugenia M: Estaba Antonio Rodrguez, estaba el ya no hizo Antes trabaj para la Secretara de
Maestro e Historiador Crespo de la Serna y Xavier Comunicaciones y Obras Pblicas. Entonces tuvo

52 53
EM. Proyecto para mural en el Hotel Condesa del Mar,
Acapulco, Guerrero (no construido), 1970
que ver con un puente en Coatzacoalcos. Dime
nada ms que tiene que ver el arte con un puente
en Coatzacoalcos?

EM: Bueno, yo dise el puente en Coatzacoalcos


e hice estaciones de ferrocarril tanto en Guadalajara
como en otro lugares en el estado de Jalisco. Hace mil
aos. Se haca el diseo y yo iba a supervisar la obra.

JO: Ah, ok. Entonces hacas arquitectura y obras


de ingeniera importante?

EM: Por supuesto.

JO: Maravilloso! Bueno, Pedro, ahora vamos a en-


focarnos un poco en tus Capulas. La verdad es que
t tienes tantas fuentes para ellas que dificultas el
trabajo de cualquier crtico: hay que pensar en algo
original que decir... Pero quiero empezar preguntn-
dote cmo surgi la idea de Capulas?

Pedro Reyes: La primera Capula que fabriqu fue


en el 2001 para una exposicin individual que tuve
en la Sala de Arte Pblico Siqueiros. Haba termi-
nado recientemente mis estudios de arquitectura
y tena un sin nmero de referencias sobre arqui-
tectura utpica como el manifiesto Organics de
William Katavolos o los experimentos que Yves Klein
haba hecho con fuego, aire y agua para generar
espacios. Mis padres son ingenieros qumicos y crec
en laboratorios, por lo que estaba interesado en la
capacidad de programar molecularmente materiales
para que estos mismos pudieran autoensamblarse.

EM. NaturaDual (detalle-detail), 1970


Acrlico, vinil y metal (Acrylic, vinyl and metal)
110 80 18 cm (43.31 31.5 7.09 inches) 57
Recuerdo que en ese perodo imaginaba espacios
en donde mi formacin cientfica se mezclaba con
una pulsin a la vez ertica y mstica.

JO: Y cmo lograste aterrizar esas visiones utpicas?

PR: En el inicio, quera refutar los principios que


haba aprendido en la universidad, me dije: Si un
muro est cimentado firmemente en el suelo, en-
tonces har un espacio que flote. Si un muro divide
el interior del exterior, har una piel permeable. Si
un muro es rgido, utilizar elementos constructivos
elsticos. Si un muro impide el paso de la luz, busca-
r algo que la transmita. Si un muro es a menudo un
paraleleppedo, har un espacio curvilneo. Este tipo
de premisas que buscaba refutar, se convirtieron en
un breve manifiesto de las Capulas.

JO: Has mencionado que la obra de Ernesto fue


clave para encontrar una solucin a lo que estabas
buscando. Qu diras al respecto?

PR: Exactamente. Yo conoca la obra de Ernesto des-


de nio y sta me haba dejado una fuerte impresin.
La interferencia ptica que se produce al tener dos
juegos de lneas (el moir), tiene esas propiedades
psicotrpicas de los espacios que imaginaba.

JO: Dnde viste la obra de Mallard por primera vez?

PR: Cuando era adolescente pasaba muchas tardes


en casa de un amigo cuya madre haba estudia-
do historia del arte. De hecho, su tesis era sobre

EM. Natura-pulsar, 1972


Acrlico, vinil y metal (Acrylic, vinyl and metal)
58 45 45 15 cm (17.72 17.72 5.91 inches)
la obra de Mallard, y colgando en la escalera de XX. Son configuraciones espaciales ms cercanas a
esta casa haba una Naturacosa. Yo pasaba muchas la ciencia ficcin que al racionalismo de la Bauhaus,
horas observndola, pensando: ste es el arte del por ejemplo, Lszl Moholy-Nagy imagin espacios
futuro. Tambin recuerdo un trptico que estaba en en donde los muros estaban construidos de luz,
el Museo de Ciencia y Tecnologa de Chapultepec, campos magnticos o concentraciones de energa.
cerca del gabinete de ilusiones pticas que tenan De igual forma que la arquitectura hecha de aire
en ese entonces. Me interes mucho lo que Ernesto de Yves Klein capturaba mi imaginacin en ese
mencionaba, al decir que cuando empez esta serie momento, como si se tratara de una intoxicacin
de trabajos, las visualizaba como maquetas, porque lisrgica. Pero bueno, una cosa es soar espacios
precisamente en las Capulas, mi intencin era crear y otra, construirlos. Erasmo de Rotterdam dice que
una especie de Naturacosa a escala arquitectnica. hay tres tipos de personas: las que viven en la reali-
Es decir, poder penetrar en ese espacio, en ese nido dad, las que vienen en los sueos, y un tercer grupo
de lneas y de alguna forma, ser devorado por ste. que convierte la una en la otra, es decir, hay que
dar presencia plstica a esas visiones. Lo interesante
JO: De dnde viene la palabra Capula? es que encontr una mano de obra para fabricar
las Capulas, que eran los artesanos que tejan sillas
PR: Es en realidad una palabra inventada, una o fabricaban bolsas y cestos con cordn de vinilo,
combinacin de otras palabras tales como: cpula, lo cual se vuelve muy interesante porque le da una
cpula, cpsula, capelo, capilar, etc. dimensin social al trabajo. Me interesa mucho la
solucin tcnica del tejido y las tcnicas que he
JO: En algunas referencias has mencionado las desarrollado junto a los tejedores.
esculturas de Naum Gabo y Antoine Pevsner que a
pesar de ser constructivistas, tienen un estilo total- JO: Y bueno, est tambin la dimensin social de la
mente distinto al de Tatlin o El Lissitzky. Qu tipo de pieza, cuando es activada por los usuarios, no? Esto
genealoga trazas con este tipo de modernismo? es un tema que siempre te ha interesado mucho.

PR: Es muy interesante porque Gabo y Pevsner usan PR: S, por supuesto. En esa poca me interesaban
un tipo de geometra en el que un grupo de lneas cuestiones fenomenolgicas como la proxmica,
perfectamente rectas produce superficies curvas, lo que habla de cmo hay un espacio personal y
que conocemos como paraboloides hiperblicos. cul es el umbral en el que se fusionan los espacios
Mismos que Flix Candela usaba en sus cascarones personales de varios individuos. El hecho de que las
de concreto. Es una geometra prcticamente inexis- Capulas oscilen suavemente, como una mecedora,
tente en la escultura y la arquitectura previas al siglo una cuna o una hamaca, reproduce sensaciones de

60 61
la primera infancia o inclusive, del vientre materno.
Al ser un espacio social se produce una relajacin
fsica y la psicodinmica cambia.

JO: Hay una Capula que es parte de la coleccin


del MUAC, hay otra en la coleccin Jumex y segura-
mente hay otras en diferentes museos y fundaciones.
Cuntas has hecho?

PR: Pues yo creo que habr entre 15 y 20 y tambin


he hecho otras piezas con cordn de vinilo como, por
ejemplo, Un t y yo topolgico, que es una especie
de silla para dos personas en forma de banda de
Mebius. Hice proyectos de edificios como arquitec-
turas que me imaginaba tambin como construidas
con este tipo de material o tal cual como visiones,
digo maquetas arquitectnicas. Tambin hice una
pieza articulada que ahorita est en la coleccin del
MUSAC en Espaa, que es una especie de biombo
muy grande realizado de varios paneles articulados.
Tal vez una especie de cosa que yo arrastro de ha-
ber estudiado arquitectura es que a menudo pienso
en las piezas con una funcin.

JO: Ldica.

PR: S, pero ante todo tiene algo utilitario.

JO: Del arte, qu otras referencias tenas? Tenas


alguna referencia cuando estabas trabajando con
los brasileos? Por ejemplo, Oiticica y toda la onda
de entrar en el ambiente O eso era todava poco
conocido en Mxico porque no haba obras que

EM. NaturaCrculo, 1970


Acrlico, vinil y metal (Acrylic, vinyl and metal)
62 45 45 15 cm (17.72 17.72 5.91 inches)
EM. Natura-Nave, 1972
Acrlico, vinil y metal (Acrylic, vinyl and metal)
67 67 30 cm (26.37 26.37 11.81 inches)
ver? Viajabas mucho? Dnde habas visto lo de
Soto o cosas as?

PR: Bueno, a m me toc cuando estaba de curador


en el Carrillo Gil alrededor de 1997 y 1998
preparar una exposicin de Lygia Pape y ella vino
y conviv con ella. Esa fue mi introduccin al neo-
concretismo brasileo que entonces no haba sido
redescubierto con el auge que ahora todos conoce-
mos. Para m fue maravilloso trabajar con Lygia, y su
trabajo me influy mucho. Por ejemplo, Sombrero
Colectivo (2004) est inspirado en O Divisor y Pir-
mide Flotante (2004) en Livro de Arquitetura. Pero
sobretodo le ayud a construir una t-teia, que son
unas piezas tejidas con hilo dorado. Y bueno, pues
fue maravilloso poder convivir con ella, me contaba
muchas historias de persecuciones que haba sufrido
durante los aos de la dictadura y cuestiones as.
Recientemente vi una exposicin suya en la Ser-
pentine Gallery y me costaba trabajo creer cuando
montamos su exposicin en el Carrillo Gil. Ella era
tan desconocida y tenamos tan pocos recursos que
tuvo que traerse toda la exposicin en una maleta.
Y tal cual se haba trado un carrete de hilo y con
ese hilo llenamos una habitacin completa. Una
pieza bellsima que adems tena el efecto de
capturar un haz de luz y cristalizarlo en el vaco.

JO: Claro. Pero es curioso porque todas esas obras,


ahora que mencionas a Lygia Pape, que sus prime-
ras obras se llamaban Teselares bueno, no s si
sus primeras pero entre sus primeras y pensando
en el tejido y en Mxico y en toda esa otra vena del

EM. NaturaLumnica, 1970


Acrlico, vinil y metal (Acrylic, vinyl and metal)
110 80 18 cm (43.31 31.5 7.09 inches) 67
arte tejido de Marta Palau y cosas como esas que aho- cumplir un sueo que tena desde hace muchos
ra estoy viendo que s tienen una transposicin o un aos, que era revelar la influencia que haba tenido
overlap Me parece muy interesante. Hblame de el trabajo de Ernesto Mallard en mi trabajo y contri-
las formas. De dnde surgen esos volmenes? buir a que se conozca mejor su obra.

PR: Tal vez influido por el neoconcretismo, me


interes por la topologa. Por eso hay piezas en for-
ma de un torus o, por ejemplo, la botella de Klein,
que es una superficie en donde hay una continuidad
parecida a la banda de Moebius en donde el inte-
rior se convierte en el exterior y viceversa. La morfo-
gnesis de las Capulas est informada por muchas
teoras de organizacin espacial, como los pneus
de Frei Otto, o la tensigridad de Buckminster Fuller.
Tambin me interesaron mucho los estudios de
radiolarias y diatomeas de Ernst Haeckel.

JO: Y por qu despus del xito que tuvieron de-


jaste de fabricarlas?

PR: Pues en realidad me pasa todo el tiempo. No


me gusta que se me asocie con un tipo de trabajo
porque siento que eso va a limitar mi campo de ac-
cin. Me acuerdo que en 2004 hice un libro llamado
Las nuevas terapias grupales, en el que inclu toda
la obra que haba hecho hasta el momento salvo las
Capulas, precisamente, porque me interesaba abrir
otras lneas de investigacin, lo que me llev a tra-
bajos que tenan al performance o las dinmicas de
grupo como componente central. Pero bueno, todo
es cclico y el propsito de esta exposicin es un
poco regresar a esos trabajos como pretexto para

Pgina siguiente (Next page):


EM. Heliogonia, 1969 (detalle)
Acrlico, vinil y metal (Acrylic, vinyl and metal)
68 100 100 26 cm (39.37 39.37 10.24 inches) 69
INTERVIEW
ERNESTO MALLARD AND PEDRO REYES
BY James Oles

James Oles: Id like to begin chronologically and


ask you a few questions, Ernesto, before moving on
to Pedro. One question Ive had from the beginning
is about your academic formation. I was reviewing
your background Did you study at La Esmeralda
or at San Carlos?

Ernesto Mallard: I studied architecture and then spent


time in the workshops of San Carlos and La Esmeralda.

JO: So you were at both. Thats interesting to me


because you, having studied architecture, gravitated
toward the fine arts. Pedro Friedeberg also stud-
ied architecture, and of course Gonzlez Gortzar
as well, hes an architect, but he has done a lot of
sculpture. So tell me in simple terms about your
turning from architecture to sculpture or fine arts.

EM: Well, Id had the idea since high school. They


had tried to show us that a line was a succession
of dots, and I had thought, no; for me, a line was
created by a dynamic point, a point that moves in
space. That moving line then generates a plane,
and from the plane it goes into relief, from relief into

Pedro Reyes. Hotel Pagoda, 2002,


lpiz y tinta sobre papel albanene (pencil and ink on tracing paper)
70 50 cm (27.55 19.68 inches) 73
PR. Capula Botella de Klein (Capula Kleins Bottle), 2007
Vinil y metal (Vinyl and metal)
200 400 180 cm (78.74 157.5 70.86 inches)
Coleccin Moiss Coso
volume. And volume logically exists within space
Later, while training in architecture school, I was
near a wide range of materials. Besides, I had to
live on something. At that time I was an assistant
in a construction company where many different
materials were used.

JO: And so, you started a few works using plastic


and ironthe works that are in the exhibit. This hap-
pened around 1968, right? Or a little bit earlier?

EM: A little earlier. Ive been working with iron since


66, as well as plastic and fibers to make weavings.
At first I used everything for my models, for my
schoolwork and for visual proposals. From there, I
started to think about the great possibilities that a
plain line has: the vertical line, the horizontal line,
and all their inclinations, not just on a flat surface but
in space. The simple superimposition of lines pos-
sesses a great capacity to visually provoke some-
thing. Its very exciting, at least to me. At that time
I would tell myself, If I see it and I feel it, then
others should also be able to feel and appreciate
it. This comes from the energy of the movement of
the spectator himself.

JO: Of course. Its there that your ideas intersect


very well with the ideas of other kinetic and optical
artists, in the importance of the physical and dynam-
ic relationship of the spectator to a work in move-
ment. Have you made works with movement? O
more precisely, did the cube piece move in space?

PR. Estudio para botella de Klein (Study for Kleins Bottle)


(detalle-detail), 2010
Lpiz y tinta sobre papel albanene (pencil and ink on tracing paper)
76 28 21.5 cm (11 8 inches) 77
EM: No, you move that one. My intention was I mean, mainly thanks to the fact that she spent
always that the public would participate directly with a long time working at UNAM. We spoke a lot and
the work, even though I greatly respect the potential I was able to participate in the exhibition at the
for energy in the piece itself. I also worked on a few MUCA. I made a few movable pieces that people
things with air, vibrant mobiles with natural energy. could manipulate as they entered the exhibit.
Theres a slide showing how kids and people went
JO: Excellent. Now there are several things Id like to in to move the geometric forms made of plastic
discuss. Do you remember the Cinetismo exhibit tape. As they twisted them they made different
that was done in 1968? The one that Helen Escobedo crossed shapes: triangular, hexagonal, etc.
did at the Museo Universitario de Ciencia y Arte
(MUCA) at Ciudad Universitaria (CU). I dont know JO: And this was at the MUCA?
if you remember but there were many artists: Hans
Haacke and Robert Morris, Soto was there as well. EM: Yes, at the MUCA. It was there the entire time
I dont remember but I believe Le Parc participated that the Cinetismo exhibit lasted. Although that
that time. Do you remember all that? There were installation was destroyed when the show was over,
little rooms, each artist had his or her own. as you can imagine.

EM: Thats right. I participated. I have some slides, JO: Yes, but you have a photographic register of it?
but no audiovisual registry. And the photos dont
transmit the physical experience of the works. EM: Only a couple of images. That was the idea at
Theyre fixed from one perspective and they elimi- the time, that it was ephemeral, a gesture. I respect
nate the movement of the gaze in time and space. all mechanic-kinetic proposalsmechanized pieces
that move on their owneven though my work
JO: Naturacosas. Where did the title of those is more geometric-kinetic, based on the energy of mo
works come from? vement of the spectators, their sensitivity, their actions.

EM: Fortunately, it was the great poet Carlos Pellicer JO: If today you see a work by Soto, its full of chil-
who, during a conversation at home, decided to drenthe penetrable pieces by Soto, for example
name my works: Naturacosas. There was no Which was actually one of the criticisms leveled
precise definition: it spoke of the nature of things, at kinetic art, that it was too popular, too easy to
of thingscreationsthat man adds to nature, etc. understand, at least visually. It was considered more
Later hed use the word in some of his poems. At entertainment than a profound statement. This was
that time I was quite close with Helen Escobedo, a prejudice that obviously isnt held today.

78 79
PR. Nymphaeum, 2004
Lpiz y tinta sobre papel albanene (pencil and ink on tracing paper) Pgina siguiente (Next page):
28 21.5 cm (11 8 inches) Estudio de Pedro Reyes circa, 2001, (Artist Studio Circa, 2001)
82 83
PR. Capula XVIII Expanded Dodecahedron
(Capula XVIII Dodecaedro expandido) , 2009,
Vinil y metal (Vinyl and metal)
280 280 280 cm (110.23 110.23 110.23 inches)
EM: Thats how it was. It was undervalued. I feel
very positive about how, in its way of communicating,
it proposed something creatively stimulating that
was incredibly active and accessible for everyone,
children and adults.

JO: Id like you to explain a little more how you


construct a piece, say, the piece Heligonia thats at
the Museo de Arte Moderno. What are the exact
materials? Where did you buy them? As far as you
can remember? These technical questions are inter-
esting to me, and in a little while Im going to ask
them of Pedro.

EM: Well, in Mexico at that time it wasnt possible to


acquire a wide range of materials, so I had to work
using metal tubes for the structures. In addition, the
proposal was that the pieces would be put together
within different spaces, lets say reception areas, or
inside offices. The pieces had to be flexible enough,
modular, to adapt to the spaces. Well, that was the
idea. And thats how they were shown at exhibits at
the Jack Misrachi gallery, which was the first show
in the Zona Rosa and was the cultural space of the
sixties. Everything else came from there. At that time
I was even interested inI mean, Im speaking to my-
self nowprojecting my workId tell myself, Art!
To the street! People should enjoy and participate!
So I projected, with slides, optical and kinetic works
on the walls and facades of buildings. People walking
by had no idea what was happening

JO: But about materials

86 Taller de Pedro Reyes circa, 2004, (Artist Studio Circa, 2004) 87


EM: Well, I used aluminum, iron, regular old rebar. piece by himself; he had no assistant, he didnt have
anyone. We lived in a tiny apartment in the Npoles
JO: Ok, and whats underneath? Its like a metal neighborhood, and in the shared patio there he
plate, or what is it? started drilling to make all the little holes, welding
and painting with an air gun and everything else.
EM: There is an aluminum sheet for support.
And on top of that painted plywood, or Masonite, JO: For the screen?
also painted.
EM: Everything. The support and then the screen.
JO: And also plastic thread And the work itself.

EM: That I acquired at the La Merced market. Eugenia M: Then the rebar and the third dimension.
Around there, on Corregidora Street there were
many shops that sold it. I suppose you can still get it JO: A question that comes to mind is: do you re-
there, I dont know. I bought spools of it, and there member the market at that time, could you sell this
were many kinds, from a completely cylindrical one, kind of work? If today you still have these pieces, I
like spaghetti, to one that was flat, wider and thicker. suppose its because they were not easily sold in that
As I told you a moment ago, to make the transitable period. Could you speak to that a bit? Its something I
works for Cinetismo at C.U., I bought tape that is find fascinating, the resistance of the Mexican collector
also used to weave seats. or those who were the collectors of the moment, be-
cause there were abstract artists like Helen Escobedo,
JO: So you were playing with the different variations or Goeritz. There were those who were interested in
of these plastic products. promoting abstraction. But an artist also has to live,
as you said. Do you remember having sold works? To
EM: Of those plastic products. They werent noble what kind of collector? What do you remember about
materials that were traditionally used to make art. I that? I know its a vague question.
was constantly adding them to new proposals: some-
times the ideas came from the materials themselves. EM: Its difficult to answer because I dont want to
To me, the materials were innovative for what I was speak poorly of anyone. The gallery administrators
doing: artes plsticas in the most literal sense. of that time, they were on very commercial paths.
You would give them the price of a piece, one that
Eugenia M: The first piece Ernesto did was one that had come from consultation with a critic, and in the
is now in the Museo de Arte Moderno. He did that moment of decision the people from the galleries

88 89
PR. Doble burbja (Double Bubble), 2003
Vinil y metal (Vinyl and metal)
220 400 220 cm (86.61 157.48 86.61 inches)
Coleccin Fundacin Jumex
would tell you, Listen, we have a buyer, but weve
got to bring the price down for him. Can you come
down a little? And since I needed the money, Id
respond: Well, fine, sell it at this price. But then
Id begin to find out what had happened. They were
doing business for themselves and no one else.
It was not only the Pecanins, there were others, but
what use is naming names, right?

JO: But you sold with the Pecanins, correct? With


Jack Misrachi.

EM: Jack Misrachi, the Pecanins sisters, Galera La


bola that was on Londres Street, also in the Zona
Rosa. One day a dealer, who was having administra-
tive differences with her own gallery, told me, Theyre
cheating you, Ernesto. You just sold a piece at this
price and So I decided to stage a protest that was
the symbolic closure of galleries, with the partici-
pation of other artists like Felgurez, Sebastin, etc.
After a while everyone who had joined the boycott
realized they couldnt survive without the system, but
I decided to remain outside of it. I retired from com-
mercial galleries even though I kept participating in
events within the cultural circle, of an official nature.

JO: Its intriguing because your pieces, like many


from the period, seem as if they were produced al-
most industrially. You had assistants to help you with
their fabrication, didnt you?

Pgina anterior (Previous page):


PR. Tondo (homenaje a MallardHomage to Mallard) (detalle-detail), 2014
Vinil y metal (Vinyl and metal)
120 120 25 cm (47.24 47.24 9.84 inches)

PR. Torus, 2002


Vinil y metal (Vinyl and metal)
220 350 350 cm (86.61 137.79 137.79 inches)
94 Coleccin Carlos y Rosa de la Cruz
EM: Yes, one even punctured his hand with a drill EM: Sure, UR, an association formed to produce
all the way through! Even though the works were urban art. It was art that sought the street as a space
basically made one by one, in small teams. I dont and that claimed to appeal more directly to the peo-
want to sound presumptuous, but Sebastin was my ple. There were businesses involved with donations
assistant, my helper. of materials, Comex and some metal companies in
Tlalnepantla that have since disappeared. Logically,
Eugenia M: Dont tell them that! theyd be given credit and be compensated with a
model or a piece to scale.
JO: Its fine. He would have to admit it himself.
JO: And you got along well with Felgurez?
EM: Its the truth, right? I even went to give talks
at the University with master Mathias Goeritz. They EM: No, very little. We spoke a few times, but
paid me a little fee, which was minimal, but Id give not much.
my talks and discuss my ideas. I even led a few
workshops. JO: So your friends from that era wereGonzlez
Gortzar, and who else?
JO: At which university, the Iberoamericana?
EM: Well, that would have been in 70 or 71. Fel-
EM: No, no, at UNAM (Universidad Nacional gurez was the first person I distanced myself from,
Autnoma de Mxico, National autonomous uni- because he was the first to reject me on behalf of the
versity of Mexico). The contacts come from there. Generacin de la Ruptura (Breakaway generation). He
There were a few artists that felt affiliated with my was one, and I dont even remember who the other
proposals, such as Federico Silva. He would come to one was.
our house to see me and even take notes on every-
thing we talked about. Many others came. Hersa, Eugenia M: If we see him, they greet each other.
for instance.
JO: Even today?
JO: He would also come to your house?
EM: Sure, even now.
Eugenia M: Yes, they created an association that was
called Arte Urbano (Urban art). The abbreviation Eugenia M: We run into each other in many places,
was UR. at the exhibitions we attend, for instance.

96 97
EM: Well, you know, I dont want to speak badly of
anyone else, but theres Vicente Rojo, who was a jury
member for the evaluation and awarding of prizes for
posters. I made things that went from flat to relief and
into space. So I cut and folded paper, things like that.
And Vicente Rojo rejected everything I did in life. I
mean, these are very natural and normal differences.

JO: Who were the critics to whom you were closest?

Eugenia M: At that time it was

JO: Raquel Tibol?

EM: Raquel, she was there. But never close to me.

JO: Well, Raquel was never close to anyone, really.

Eugenia M: There was Antonio Rodrguez, Crespo de


la Serna who was a teacher and historian, and Xavier
Moyssen. Their critiques are there, and they were very
good. Alberto Hjar. We later formed great friendships
with them; wed go to their houses for dinner, we
knew each other, wed invite them to our house.

EM: Yes, there was a closeness with some critics.


Their names escape me.

JO: Lily Kassner, right?

Pgina anterior (Previous page):


PR. Dionaea muscipulaProyecto de una cama en forma de planta carnvora
(Project for a bed shaped like a carnivorous plant), 2000
lpiz y tinta sobre papel milimtrico (pencil and ink on milimetric paper)
28 21.5 cm (11 8 inches)

PR. T y yo topolgico [silla moebius] (Moebius bench), 2006


Vinil y metal (Vinyl and metal)
90 200 90 cm (35.43 78.74 35.43 inches) 101
EM: Lily Kassner, yes, she as well. She looked for
many works of mine.

Eugenia M: She always puts him in her sculpture


anthologies.

JO: Well, Pedro, lets

Eugenia M: I just want to tell you that later Ernesto


never practiced architecture except for our very own
house-sculpture, in San ngel. When we were build-
ing it, we needed funds and we organized a big sale
of Naturacosas in the house in which we lived, next
to the Parque hundido. We emptied all the house,
which was two storeys, and filled it with Naturacosas.
Like a little museum. Many friends bought works, to
support us. We served sangria and tortilla espaola.
The doors stayed open and people came and went.
It was quite moving. Ive been married to Ernesto for
48 years and since then, he hasnt practiced architec-
ture, in the proper sense of the word Before that
he worked for at the Ministry of Communication and
Public Works. He had something to do with a bridge
in Coatzacoalcos. Just tell me what does art have to
do with a bridge in Coatzacoalcos?

EM: Well, I designed the bridge in Coatzacoalcos and


I did train stations in Guadalajara and other places in
the state of Jalisco. That was a thousand years ago.The
design was made and I went to oversee the work.

JO: Ok, so, you practiced architecture and import-


ant works of engineering?

PR. Capula I, 2001


Vinil y metal (Vinyl and metal)
102 210 x 200 x 200 cm (82.7 x 78.5 x 78.5 inches)
EM: Of course. passage of light, Ill look for something that transmits
it. If a wall is often a parallelepiped, Ill make a curvi-
JO: Marvelous! Now, Pedro were going to focus linear space. These kinds of premises that sought to
on your Capulas. So Pedro, the truth is you have so refute became a brief manifesto of the Capulas.
many references for them it complicates the work of
any critic: they have to think of something original to JO: You have mentioned that Ernestos work was key
say about them. But I want to begin by asking you, to your finding a solution for what you were seeking.
where did the idea come from? What would you say to that?

PR: The first Capula I made was in 2001 for a solo PR: Exactly. I came to know Ernestos work as a child
exhibit at the Sala de Arte Pblico Siqueiros (Sique- and it had left a strong impression on me. The opti-
iros public art salon). I had recently finished my cal interference that it produces with its two sets of
studies in architecture and I had infinite referenc- lines (the moir) has these psychotropic properties
es on utopian architecture like William Katavalos of the spaces I imagined.
manifesto Organics and the experiments Yves
Klein had done with fire, air, and water to generate JO: Where did you first see Mallards work?
spaces. My parents are chemical engineers and I
grew up in labs, so I was interested in the capacity PR: When I was an teenager, I spent many after-
to molecularly program materials so that they could noons at the house of a friend whose mother had
put themselves together. I remember that at the studied art history. In fact, her thesis was on Mal-
time I would imagine spaces where my scientific lards work, and there was a Naturacosa hanging in
foundation would mix with a drive that was erotic the stairway of this house. I spent many hours there
and mystical at the same time. observing it, thinking, This is the art of the future.
I also remember a triptych that was at the Museo de
JO: And how did you manage to bring these utopic Ciencia y Tecnologa, in Chapultepec, near the optical
visions down to earth? illusion cabinet they had at the time. I was interested
in what Ernesto was mentioning before, when he said
PR: In the beginning I wanted to refute the principles he began with a series of works, that he visualized
Id learned at university. I told myself, If a wall is them as models, because precisely with the Capulas
firmly cemented to the ground, Ill make a space that my intention was to create a kind of Naturacosa on an
floats. If a wall divides the interior from the exterior, architectonic scale. That is to say, to be able to pene-
Ill make a permeable skin. If a wall is rigid, Ill use trate that space, that nest of lines, and in some way be
elastic construction elements. If a wall impedes the devoured by it.

104 105
PR. UR, 2004
Lpiz y tinta sobre papel (pencil and ink on paper)
50 50 cm (19.68 19.68 inches)
JO: Where does the word Capula come from?

PR: Its a made up word, a combination of other words


like cupola, copulate, capsule, capelo, capillary, etc.

JO: In some references youve mentioned the


sculptures of Naum Gabo and Antoine Pevsner
which, despite being constructivist, have a style
completely different from that of Tatlin or El Lis-
sitzky. What kind of genealogy are you tracing with
this kind of modernism?

PR: Its very interesting because Gabo and Pevsner


use a kind of geometry in which a group of per-
fectly straight lines produce curves surfaces, what
we know as hyperbolic paraboloids. The same
ones that Flix Candela used in his concrete shells.
Its a geometry that is practically non-existent in
sculpture and architecture prior to the 20th centu-
ry. Theyre spatial configurations closer to science
fiction than to the rationalism of the Bauhaus; for
example, Lszl Moholy-Nagy imagined spaces
where the walls are made of light, magnetic fields,
or concentrated energy. It captured my imagination
in the same way that Yves Kleins Air Architecture
did, as if it were some kind of lysergic intoxication.
But anyway, its one thing to dream up spaces, and
another to construct them. Erasmus of Rotterdam
says that there are three kinds of people: those who
live in reality, those who live in their dreams, and a
third group that turns one into the other. What that
means is that you have to give a physical presence
to these visions. Whats interesting is that I found

PR. Morfogenesis de capulas, 2002


Tinta sobre papel albanene (Ink on tracing paper)
28 x 21.5 cm (11 x 8 inches) 109
110 111
the workmanship to fabricate the Capulas, with the
artisans who weave chairs or make bags and baskets
with vinyl cords, and this becomes more interesting
as it gives the work a social dimension. Im very
intrigued by the technical solution of the weaving
and the techniques that Ive developed alongside
the weavers.

JO: And so, theres also the social dimension of the


piece, which is activated by the users, right? Thats a
subject that youve always been very drawn to.

PR: Yes, of course. At that time I was interested in


phenomenological questions, such as proxemics,
which says that theres this kind of personal space
thats a kind of threshold where the personal spaces
of several different individuals can meld. The fact
that the Capulas oscillate a little, like a rocking chair,
a bassinet, or a hammock, reproduces sensations
of early infancy o even the mothers womb. As its a
social space, it produces a physical relaxation and
the psychodynamics change.

JO: There is a Capula that is part of the MUACs


collection, there is another at Coleccin Jumex, and
surely there are others in different museums and
foundations. How many have you made?

Pedro Reyes: I think there must be between 15 and


20, and Ive also done other pieces with vinyl cord,
like Un t y yo topolgico, which is a kind of seat for
two people in the form of a Mebius strip. I did build
PR. Capula Quartz Crystal, 2007
ing projects in architecture that I also imagined as
Vinil y metal (Vinyl and metal)
200 250 260 cm (78.74 98.42 102.36 inches)

Atrs: PR. Biombo (Screen), 2007


Pgina 110-111: Vinil y metal (Vinyl and metal)
Vista de capula Doble burbuja en KW Berlin 240 800 200 cm (94.48 314.96 78.74 inches)
112 (Installation view of Double-bubble capula at KW Berlin), 2002 Coleccin Museo de Arte de Castillla y Len.
constructed with this kind of material, or exactly as she told me many stories about the persecutions she
visions, I mean, architectonic models. I also did a had suffered during the dictatorship and those kinds
screen that is now in the collection of the MUSAC in of issues. Recently I saw an exhibition of hers at the
Spain, which is a kind of very large screen made of Serpentine Gallery and it was difficult for me to be-
many articulated panels. Maybe something that Im lieve after having done her show at the Carrillo Gil.
dragging with me from having studied architecture She was so unknown and we had so few resources
is that I often think of pieces with a function. that she had to bring the entire exhibit in a suitcase.
And as she has brought a spool of thread, we filled
JO: And that are playful. up an entire room with that thread. A beautiful piece
that also had the effect of capturing a beam of light
PR: Yes, but above all they have something useful. and crystalizing it in empty space.

JO: In art, what other references did you have? Did JO: Of course. But its funny because all these works,
you have any references when you were working now that you mention Lygia Pape, whose first works
with the Brazilians, for example? With Oiticica and were called Teselareswell, I dont know if they were
the idea of going into the environment, or was that her first works but there were among her earliest
still little known in Mexico as there were no works and thinking about weaving and Mexico and this
to see? Did you travel much? Where had you seen whole other vein of woven art by Marta Palau and
Soto or those sort of things? similar work, I now see that theres a transposition
or an overlap. It seems quite interesting. Talk to me
PR: Well, it happened when I was a curator of the about forms. From where do these volumes arise?
Carrillo Gil Museumaround 1997 and 1998I
prepared an exhibition on Lygia Pape, and she came PR: Theyre perhaps influenced by neoconcretism,
and spent time with me. That was my introduction to which interests me for the topology. Thats why there
Brazilian Neoconcretism, which had not then been are pieces in the shape of a torus, or for example,
rediscovered with the intensity that we all know a Klein bottle, which is a surface that has a continu-
now. For me working with Lygia was marvelous, and ity similar to the Moebius strip, where the interior
her work had great influence on me. For example, becomes the exterior and vice versa. The morpho-
Sombrero Colectivo (2004) is inspired by O Divisor y genesis of the Capulas is informed by many theories
Pirmide Flotante (2004) by Livro de Arquitetura. But of spatial organization, like Frei Ottos pneus, or
above all I helped her construct a t-teia, which are Buckminster Fullers tensegrity, Im also interested in
some pieces woven with gold thread. And yeah, that Ernst Haeckels study of radiolarians and diatoms.
was wonderful to be able to spend time with her,

Pgina anterior (Previous page):


Juices from the sun, 2004
116 Fotografa de produccin (Production still) 117
JO: And why did you quit making them after the
success they enjoyed?

PR: Well, really this happens to me all the time. I


dont like to be associated with one kind of work be-

will turn itself into furniture


cause I feel its going to limit my field of action. I re-
member that in 2004 I did a book called Las nuevas
terapias grupales (New group therapies), in which I

shall be a continuum
shall be permeable
included all the work Id done up to that moment,

shall radiate light

allows a glimpse
except the Capulas, precisely because I was more

shall be kinetic
shall be elastic
shall be round
interested in opening other lines of research, which

shall swing
shall hover
led me to works that had performance or group dy-
namics as a central component. But hey, everything
is cyclical and the point of this exhibition is kind of
to go back to these pieces as an excuse to fulfill a
dream that Ive had for many years: to reveal the in-
fluence that Ernesto Mallards work had on mine and

the Capula

the Capula

the Capula

the Capula

the Capula

the Capula

the Capula

the Capula

the Capula

the Capula
to contribute to his work becoming better known.

has an inside and an outside

creates a fixed field of vision


has walls that block light

is an ensemble of parts
is made of rectangles

hides from view


needs furniture
has rigid walls

is grounded

is steady
If a room

If a room

If a room

If a room

If a room

If a room

If a room

If a room

If a room

If a room
118 PR. Manifiesto Capulas (Capulas Manifiesto), 2001
Publicacin realizada en ocasin de / Published in the ocassion of:

Conecta los puntos / Join the Dots


Ernesto Mallard / Pedro Reyes

19.09.201431.10.2014

Edicin: Pedro Reyes y Michel Mallard


Traduccin: Lacey Pipkin
Correccin de estilo: Jos Luis Bobadilla
Revisin de textos: Alexander Bruck
Coordinacin: Graciela Kasep, Mauricio Cadena, Betty Briceo
Registro de obra: Liliana Martnez
Diseo: Mara Vzquez
Fotografas: Francisco Kochen, Isaac Contreras
Produccin: Carlos Coso, Carlos Snchez

Agradecimientos: Ernesto Mallard, Eugenia Pruneda de Mallard,


Michel Mallard, Alain-Paul Mallard, James Oles.

Agradecimiento especial a Moises Coso, Galia Katz, Alejandro


Castro y al Museo Tecnolgico de la Comisin Federal de
Electricidad, Ciudad de Mxico.

Imgenes en portada (Images on cover):


EM. Natura-Nave, 1972
Acrlico y metal (Acrylic and metal)
67 x 67 x 30 cm (26.37 x 26.37 x 11.81 inches)

PR. T y yo topolgico [silla moebius] (Moebius bench), 2006


Vinil y metal (Vinyl and metal)
90 200 90 cm (35.43 78.74 35.43 inches)