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Creating the necessary. An Approach to Galician Design in the XX Century

Creating the necessary. An Approach to Galician Design in the XX Century


2 April 2004 - 13 June 2004
First floor
Tuesday and Sunday (holidays included): 11 am to 9 pm
MARCO, Museo de Arte Contemporánea de Vigo / Consellería de Innovación, Industria e Comercio. Xunta de Galicia
María Luisa Sobrino

Works on exhibition

The exhibition approximately counts on 378 works, including house furniture, advertising design, posters, graphic and publishing design, containers, toys, homeware, and three documentaries: "La Artística de Vigo" (José Gil, 1928), "Laboratorios Zeltia S.A." (1950), "Diseño industrial en España a través de las imágenes del archivo del NODO" (Pierre Luigi Cattermole, 1998).



With an aim to promote investigation and dissemination of our earliest past, and keeping its leitmotiv looking to plastic arts, design and architecture, MARCO Vigo shelters on the first floor of the building an exhibition entitled CREATING THE NECESSARY, a show aiming to make an approach to history design in the XX Century in Galicia.

It was last year, July 2003, when another exhibition produced by MARCO under the title "Undisciplined" talked about the frontiers between art and design, taking as the starting point a new generation of Spanish artists. Today, the approach is quite different, and the way is the opposite: instead of starting from the earliest creations, it focuses in investigating on the past in order to offer the clues to make a contemporary reading on the History of design in Galicia, its origins and its main characters. This is the first time a museum devotes a group exhibition to the History of design made in Galicia or by Galician artists.

The exhibition is centered around the design of homewares and graphic design, from the design prototypes of advertising or furniture to the graphical design examples nowadays. Any examples of multimedia design or fashion have been avoided on purpose as they are considered in itself worthy of a separate study and specific research.

It must be underlined the work of investigation developed during the preparation of the show, including research through libraries and newspaper libraries, personal archives, visits to private collections, verifying existing resources at regional museums, companies, foundations and houses. With this regard, the main objective of this exhibition is to bring to light the work by a number of artists -architects, painters, drawers-, their approach to design, and their important contribution to Galician culture, mainly before the 80's, when there was no official training; when the word "designer" lacked of today's definition, and most objects, advertising designs, publishers and furniture where made by plastic artists or architects.

As research goes on, MARCO staff became conscious about the necessity of gathering together in a catalogue all these findings, not only the pieces in the exhibition but also critical texts. The result is an unique publication including interesting contributions for consultation by experts and general opinion, with a retrospective of critical texts, raging from 1916 to today, about the history of design in Galicia. This is the first time they are put together in a publication.

Now, the heterogeneous nature of the works included and complexity of gathering under the same building such various authors have lead the museum to turn to experts in order to design the installation of the exhibition, those being Irisarri + Piñera Office of Architecture.

The chronological leitmotiv of the tour can be classified just as follows:

1. From 1900 to 1936, when some artists such as Federico Ribas, Cándido Fernández Mazas, Carlos Maside and Castelao can be outlined.
- Works: lithographic stones, industrial containers (tins, bottles), toys, posters, pieces of graphic and advertising design, documentaries.

2. From the post-war period to 1975, including works by Luis Seoane, Isaac Díaz Pardo, Alejandro de la Sota, Jesús de la Sota, José María de Labra, Caruncho, Ramón Vázquez Molezún, or José Bar Boo, among others.
- Works: pieces of furniture, houseware, crockery, téxtiles, posters, graphic and publishing design, documentaries.

3. From 1975 to nowadays, separated into two different spaces: one devoted to graphic design and the other one to furniture design. Designers such as the group Re-visión, Imago Mundi, Manolo Janeiro or Alberte Permuy, artists such us Francisco Mantecón, Moncho Amigo and Jesús Núñez, architects such as Carlos Quintáns, Jesús Irisarri, Guadalupe Piñera, Alberto Noguerol and Pilar Díez, and companies such us Justo Román S.L. or María Martínez S.A., among others, are included in this stage.
- Works: examples of graphic design and furniture design.

This show must not be considered as the finished and closed result of a historical reading, but as the beginning of a research, as a contribution and the starting point for thinking about our closest past.



    A-cero Estudio de Arquitectura y Urbanismo S.L.
    Alberto Noguerol e Pilar Díez, N + D
    Alejandro Campos Finisterre
    Alejandro de la Sota
    Alfonso Daniel Rodríguez Castelao
    Álvaro Valiño
    Antonio Tenreiro
    Antonio Tenreiro
    Camilo Díaz Baliño
    Cándido Fernández Mazas
    Carlos Maside
    Carlos Quintáns
    Cerámicas do Castro – Grupo Sargadelos
    Conservas Alfageme
    Conservas Massó
    Daniel Vázquez Gulías
    David Carballal Estudio Gráfico S.L.
    Fausto Isorna
    Federico Ribas Montenegro
    Fernando Agrasar
    Fernando Blanco Guerra
    Fernando César Mosca
    Francisco Mantecón Diseño Gráfico
    Galopín Parques
    Imago Mundi Deseño S.L.
    Irisarri + Piñera Estudio de Arquitectura
    Isaac Díaz Pardo
    J. Portela Seijo
    Jesús de la Sota
    Jesús Núñez
    José Antonio Corrales
    José Arija
    José Bar Boo
    José Manuel López Mihura
    José María de Labra
    Juan Gallego Estudio Gráfico
    Juan Quián
    Justo Román S.L.
    La Artística
    Lolita Díaz Baliño
    Luis Seoane
    Manolo Méndez
    Manuel Janeiro Casal
    Marcos Dopico
    Maria Antonia Dans
    María Martínez S.A
    Martín de Echegaray
    Máximo Ramos
    Moncho Amigo
    MOW Equipo de Diseño.
    Ombretta etc.
    Permuy Asociados, Deseño e Comunicación S.A.
    Rafael Barros
    Ramón Vázquez Molezún
    Roberto Treviño
    Signum Deseño.
    Ta, ta, ta...
    Taller DD, Ninfa, Riveiro, Martínez S.L.
    Todo es vanidad
    Torné e Asociados S.L.
    Urbano Lugrís
    Vier Arquitectos
    Xosé Sesto
    Xosé Teiga/Teiga Concept

Curatorial text

This exhibition is the result of a research study on design trends in Galician History during the XX Century. It is the starting point of a new culture of everyday life with no aim of being a detailed account but an ongoing inventory of a series of products that joined Galicia to modernity. Our aim was basically focused around design on paper and design of homewares and graphic design, from the earliest conservation cans -the first modern design in Galicia- to the graphical design examples nowadays.

Modern design was born at the end of the XIX Century bound to the discovery of new mass production techniques and to the first signs of modern development in the cities. Its evolution became a necessity as the XX Century progresses and industrialization and urban development in Galicia came into effect. It can be asserted that its own existence can be defined as a "specific" discipline affirmed by the presence or absence of new appropriate infrastructural conditions.

From the beginning, we considered the title Creating the necessary to be the most accurate for our purposes: to create the necessary involves the invention of new material forms to allow the industrialised society the means to relate with its surroundings. However, our region lacked the support of a market society to encourage competitiveness as a way of development, just as the civil network -mainly rural- lacked during so long the petty bourgeois and capitalist character unavoidable for the existence of design.

This is the first time a museum devotes a group exhibition to the history of design made in Galicia. The museum sensitized with regard to our concerns, extends once again its duties beyond the artistic level in order to investigate, spread and expose physical evidence concerning humans and their background, building through it a story that belongs to the core of our visual culture.

The exhibition CREATING THE NECESSARY. An approach to desing of the XX Century in Galicia, was planned for the exhibition rooms at the Vigo Museum of Contemporary Art drawing a chronological structure into three stages:

- The first one from ca. 1900 to year 1936, when the expectations of a renovation brewed during the time of the Republic turned rigged with the Civil War. It. Must be enlightened the production of the canning industry and the iron and steel industry; the posters graphics; the editing design, advertising and magazine design, the one by Federico Ribas among others.

- The second one, from the afterwar period to year 1975. During this period architects and artists join to the world of design, where inventions by Portela Seijo are a good example, as well as the determinant work by Luis Seoane and Isaac Díaz Pardo and the company Sargadelos, together with the contribution of. Artists like José María de Labra and the brothers Alejandro and Jesús de la Sota, who wored in Madrid, as José Bar Boo, the architect.

- And finally, the third stage raging from the fist democratic site and the implantation of the Estado de las Autonomías to present. Specially, it must be underlined in the boost to design the professionalization of graphic designers, furniture prototipes by some architects and the shy iniciatives by some companies.

Although it is likeable that such a widespread story lacks of some authors, data and necessary references, in any case this is not the result of a quick approach, but a historic approach and a critical speech we have managed to apply to the study of this discipline. We are concern about the controversial this matter is and that evaluating its reach or even its effective existence in our region can arouse controversy. It is obvious that modernity, city and industry -the keys of the equation of design- keep on being very weak in our country and unbalanced, and it is precisely this point where exhibition wants to contribute to debate in our community.


María Luisa Sobrino

María Luisa Sobrino Manzanares is Professor of Art History at the University of Santiago de Compostela, where she keeps on working since 1980. Her effort in the investigation area focuses on the area of Contemporary Art -sculpture, painting and graphic design- concerning both Galician or international grounds. She is author and co-author of a number of publications related to the History of Galician Art and contemporary aesthetics. Her researches face sociological methods to which she heads most of her articles in specialized magazines or conferences. She has curated several exhibitions: "Presences and Processes" (1989); "The abstract process. Galician artists 1950-1979" (1993); "Incidents. Six European sights" (1995); "From Asorey to the 90's. Modern sculpture in Galicia" (1997); "Cartelism in Galicia" (1999), "Seoane and the vanguard: his masters, his friends". She has also directed some initiatives in the field of edition, and with relation to the direction of monographic courses and cataloguing projects on institutional resources as well as investigation projects focused on new technologies.