Back in 1975 artist Miguel Ortiz Berrocal and his wife Cristina visited the Ardennes in Belgium and there, in an old forge, he found 20 anvils which were about to be thrown away. He took them and worked on them for nearly ten years, turning them into his private army, his praetorian guard, divided into two sets of ten soldiers: 'Desperta Ferro' and 'Almogávares'. The latter were inspired by the warriors sent to Constantinople by the King of Aragon between the 13th and 14th centuries, and they now stand guard in one of the interior courtyards at the Museo de Málaga, where the exhibition by this sculptor from Malaga has just opened. It was announced about 18 months ago but has had to overcome quite a few political, administrative and logistical obstacles to come to fruition.
The display, which is sponsored by Obra Social La Caixa, also introduces the 'Obra invitada' cycle which will take place in different spaces inside the Aduana building, which was converted into the provincial museum three years ago this week. The exhibition will continue for six months and it partly pays off a long-outstanding debt because Berrocal, who is internationally famous for his sculptures which can be dismantled, is not represented in Malaga, despite a presence in collections such as the MoMA in New York and the Reina Sofía in Madrid.
At the official opening of this exhibition, his widow Cristina de Braganza, who is also president of the Fundación Escultor Berrocal, referred to this when she said "we hope this will be the start of something more permanent in Malaga".
125 assembled pieces
Cristina de Braganza explained that the ten torsos in 'Almogávares' are comprised of 125 elements which could make one large installation, but the museum had decided to group them together in the small atrium at the side of the Aduana building which leads to Calle Cortina del Muelle.