UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The collective experience of Universal Constructivism Izquierdo Salvador, Jorge


This dissertation deals with aspects of constructivist art in Uruguay during the nineteen thirties and forties that have been largely relegated and put aside until now. Mainly it involves the collective experience of the artistic movement known as Universal Constructivism, which operated under the guidance and leadership of Joaquin Torres Garcia (1874-1949) and cultivated his figure as the “maestro”, but was far from being homogeneous. The aim of this work is to transfer the focus of studies from the individual, or “maestro”, and his “masterpieces”, towards the collective and its own core set of pieces and/or attitudes that can be put into context in order to enrich an ongoing debate about this movement. The study on the collective functioning of Universal Constructivism, furthermore, can be extended to research and better understand other collective enterprises in Latin American modern art. There is no single way to study a collective. This thesis will make use of different theoretical approximations but mostly it will offer close readings of the collective’s own work which includes visual arts, architecture, literature and sculpture.

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