Vittorio Garatti… His Eternal Meeting with Cuba

/ 17 July, 2014

In this organic architecture tradition by Antonio Gaudi, Frank Lloyd Wright and Alvar Aalto himself, Vittorio Garatti developed. Garatti feels what he does. His life is a struggle for the eternal Return (…) He has done nothing but returning in forms what the outside world offers him. This is the stamp he left in the exhibition

Obras y Proyectos de Vittorio Garatti (Works and Projects by Vittorio Garatti) presented in the Wifredo Lam Contemporary Art Center in March and April 2014. Visiting this exhibition was entering with total self-assurance in the studio of an artist who has conceived his work as an integrated entirety: architecture, urbanism, industrial design and his visual oeuvre.

As a recently graduated student, he decided to roam the world over. (…) He knew something existed further away: he wanted to see the obverse of what had sustained his training. (…) That is why, after he finished his thesis in 1957, he decided to travel to Venezuela and try his luck in Latin American lands (…)He wanted to discover himself: it was the beginning of the life of a man who, up to now, has not found a different way to live than from utopia.

(…)Then came 1959… and the world was shaken by an event. It was the Triumph of the Cuban Revolution… Ricardo Porro prompted Vittorio and Roberto to travel to Cuba and offer classes in the Architecture Faculty in Havana. In this new adventure, Porro unexpectedly received the proposal of being the general coordinator in building an Art School complex (…) For this new project, that should be finished in record time, Ricardo entrusted Dramatic Arts to Roberto Gottardi, Classic Ballet to Vittorio Garatti, and Music to Iván Espín. He decided to take Modern Dance and Plastic Arts under his care. Later, since Espín was unable to finish his proposal, he suggested Vittorio to also carry out the constructive design of the future Music School. (…)

The two schools Vittorio Garatti projected are the test of his criteria and ideas on creation. They function as contemporary art installations, with the concept of a self-generating architecture incorporating natural and erotic elements. The artist is processing what he sees. His conscience emerges from the Zen tower, in which his social vocation shares space with the most refined taste in the handling and care of forms. (…)

Vittorio, as Leon Battista Alberti did too, created an individual way of conceiving architecture in cohesion with contexts and with the rest of arts. Garatti finds this illumination in Wifredo Lam, in La Jungla (The Jungle), in still lives, and in those anthropomorphic figures the Cuban artist painted in the forties and fifties, not obviating an oeuvre dated between 1965 and 1966 entitled Tercer Mundo (Third World).

For the young architect, a different world view opened with the discovery of Lam’s Afro-Caribbean look. It was the transgression of rationalisms: death, life, heaven and earth sharing the same space based on liturgies interweaving spirituality, carnality, what is human and what is mystic. (…)

Vittorio lived in Cuba since December 1960 until 1974. In this period he developed projects like the André Voisin Soils, the Fertilizers Technological Institute, The Cuban Pavillion for the 1967 Montreal Exhibition and his studies on the development of the Guiding City Plan. (…)

In Wifredo Lam Center, we wanted to reproduce Vittorio Garatti’s habitat, the places where he works, his house. Drawings and sketches create nuclei in various rooms. It is a trip to the inside of a versatile artist, who extends in his work and resists, like those vaults in the Ballet School, unscathed in spite of having lost their turnbuckles. (…)

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