Sergi Aguilar Jardins de la Maternitat – Límit interior, llibre obert

Sergi Aguilar

Jardins de la Maternitat – Límit interior, llibre obert

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Did you know that this sculpture was originally located in front of the Diputación Archives, and was moved to its current location to protect the underground tunnels that connect the pavilions to the kitchen? The artwork by Sergi Aguilar is intimately connected to the encompassing gardens of La Maternitat, its location in les Corts, and the value given to this space by its historical context.


Sergi Aguilar – Límit interior, llibre obert

ARTISTIC INTERPRETATION

Inner limit, open book by Sergi Aguilar continually dialogues with his changing environment. Its metal lines trace a space that seems to transform between the shape of an open or closed book – depending on the visitor’s perspective – reminding us that the interpretation of history is subjective and the narrative can change depending on the visitor’s perspective and the moment it is seen.

Sergi Aguilar’s artwork arises from minimalism. During the 1970s, his investigations centered on the  relationship between the marble sculptural masses he created, with the space that surrounds them. During the 1980s his research concentrated on the emptiness of space itself. He explains that the persistence of the question “How to construct physical objects that proceed from, and in a way, refer to the purest immateriality?” is the common thread that runs through his entire artistic career spanning four decades.

HISTORICAL CONTEXT

To understand the relationship with its surrounding space, one needs to take into consideration the immateriality of Time and its effect on said environment. The “Maternity” gardens are located on the premises of the Provincial House of Maternity and Foundlings of Barcelona, the construction of which began just one year after the Universal Expo of 1888 and ten years before the annexing of Sants and les Corts to the city of Barcelona. During this time of social change coupled with economic and scientific advances, a series of pavilions specialized in maternity and infancy were built at a time when newborn mortality was very high. This institution was a benchmark for child welfare, where its teachers, appointed by the Provincial Council, replaced the traditional use of nuns in the education of children. It is also interesting to note that classes were given in Catalan – which was unusual for the time – and applied María Montessori’s pedagogical system (making this the first institution in the Spanish State to do so).

In 1985, the Diputación de Barcelona reorganized and opened the enclosure to an urban park. The blue pavilion is the only one left with hospital use; the other pavilions have been rehabilitated to house public facilities and services. The Diputación Archives, facing Aguilar’s structure are located alongside a street dedicated to José Mejía Lequerica (Quito, 1775-Cádiz, 1813), an influential Creole professor and politician of Spanish descent from present-day Ecuador.

Just like Aguilar, Mejía Lequerica is known as a “supporter of the new”. He brought the ideals of Enlightenment and the French Constitution to the new Spanish Constitution (1813) during his time as a member of the Cortes de Cádiz where he became famous for his oratorical skills.

 

SITUATIONAL CONTEXT

Sergi Agilar’s Inner limit, open book can be found on the lawn just in front of the Diputacion’s Archives. Although within the grounds of the Maternity Gardens, the Archives are situated alongside the road dedicated to José Mejía Lequerica. The Fundació Suñol which presents an artwork by Teresa Gancedo is located at number 14 of that street.

 

Source texts: Breu història del recinte de Maternitat , Diputación de Barcelona, Sergi Aguilar. Reverso anverso (2015) comisariado por Valentín Roma en el MACBA, El inframundo de la Maternitat. Xavi Casinos (2018) lavanguardia.com, Un siglo y medio en el umbral de la vida Patrycia Centeno (2004) ABC Catalunya, Wikipedia

Stock footage source: Arxiu Fotogràfic de Barcelona (AFB)

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