|Mural paintings for the Martirene Pavilion at the Saint-Bois Hospital, Montevideo||Images|
In 1944, Sergio de Castro made, with a group of disciples under the direction of Joaquín Torres García, the mural paintings for the Martirené Pavilion of the Hospital Saint Bois in Montevideo (Uruguay). The pavilion was a space for patients suffering from tuberculosis, built in the 30s, the decoration of which was requested to Torres García by the hospital authorities. 36 works (7 made by Torres himself) were made between May and December 1944, with 19 disciples such as Gonzalo Fonseca, Julio Uruguay Alpuy, José Gurvich, Augusto and Horacio Torres, Guido Castillo, Daniel de los Santos, Rosa Acle…
Sergio de Castro participated in the project with two paintings: Casa (1944) and Mar (1944), presenting the distinctive features of constructivist universalism according to Torres García: planisme, geometrism, rigorous structuration of space, primary colours (plus black and white), and the repertory of constructivist signs, with a reduction of the subject to the objects symbolizing it. 1
In his text of July 1944 Una decoración mural en la moderna estética realista, Torres García speaks of Byzantine and Romanic Art as the main aesthetic sources of the work:
“Great spirituality and mysticism, and strict rules of abstract composition; frontal law, schematization of form, order, definite materials. In my conception, it is the greatest art ever been. World of soul and world of reason; universality in a whole, unique science; admirable example for all times, of mural art.
Architecture and decoration, in such an art, are one single thing; only formal sense, dominating everything, and only spiritual sense; two phases of a single thing; stones and paintings (or mosaics) impregnated of a deep religiosity; art-humanism, truth, aesthetic and non-descriptive sense (as it is always symbolic) nor imitative (as it is abstract), true and deep miracle.” 2
1. Jacques Poloni-Simard, « Le muralisme des années 1930 et 1940 dans les pays du Río de la Plata », in Nuevo Mundo, Mundos Nuevos, nº Images, mémoires et sons, 30/01/2014. Available online: nuevomundo.revues.org/66328
2. Joaquín Torres García, as quoted in Cecilia de Torres (dir.), Murales TTG, catalogue of the exposition at Museo Gurvich, Montevideo, April – July 2007, p. 134.