Josep Maria Subirachs
(Spain, b. 1927)
Josep Maria Subirachs is recognized worldwide as an avant-garde sculptor of the second half of the 20th century. Subirachs created the sculptures at the Passion Façade of the Sagrada Familia designed by Gaudi, Barcelona’s most emblematic architectural icon, starting from 1986.
In 1959 he received the responsibility to sculpt the façade and doors of the Santuario de la Virgen del Camino in Leon, which introduced a figurative parenthesis in his creativity. Starting from the 50’s his creations obtained considerable public recognition as he received important commissions including Olympic monuments such as the façade mural of the Town Hall of Barcelona (1969), Monument in Mexico D.F (1968) and the Pillars of the Sky in Seoul
In his works, Subirachs used all kinds of materials: terracotta, bronze, wood, iron, stone, asbestos cement, cast concrete, marble, and also glass, aluminum, ivory, steel, rope and, especially in his latest period, has combined pictorial fragments with sculpture. As an engraver he has cultivated etching, lithography, serigraphy, linoleum and drypoint. He has imposed a new concept of sculpture in Catalonia and is one of the most original sculptors in the world. What characterizes him is his great command of technique and precision of form. In his mature, sober, conceptual works, he combined elements in tension, often mixing disparate materials, figures in negative, sections turned on a lathe, cornices, seriated sequences, classical elements such as caryatids, sphinxes, capitals, niches, moldings, obelisks, hydrias, pyramids with, at a conceptual level, a certain taste for contrasts, visual paradox, irony and eroticism. He has been the artist who has most consistently and effectively brought new art to the street, as recovery of the past and a guide to the future.
Extensive work expressed in various languages, from classicism of “Noucentism”, through informalism to expressionism or of the abstraction to neofigurism, makes Subirachs one of the great creators of art of our time, and his art becomes a synthesis of the current artistic movements, in a complete and harmonic way.