Francisco Sobrino

Born in 1932 in Guadalajara, lives and works in Paris, Guadalajara and Madrid
Member of the G.R.A.V

Black & White, Color – Paris, September 2003

Born in Spain, Francisco Sobrino emigrated to Argentina with his parents in 1949. He studied at the National School of Fine Ar ts, Buenos Aires, alongside Julio Le Parc, Horacio Garcia Rossi, and Hugo Demarco from 1950 to 1957. In 1959, they sailed to France on a transatlantic liner and ended up in Paris. In 1960, he founded the GRAV (Groupe de Recherche d’ArtVisuel/Visual Art Research Group) with Garcia Rossi, Le Parc, Morellet, Stein and Yvaral. They were all passionately involved in constructed and kinetic art.

He was part of the generation that wanted to give art a social function, to take it down into the streets – which they did with their mobile slabs in Montparnasse and their unstable structures along the Champs-Elysées.Their slogan was:“It is forbidden not to touch.”They put the fun back into artistic creation.

From 1960 onwards, Plexiglas® became Francisco Sobrino’s preferred medium. He makes it look and feel as noble as stone. Plexiglas® – black, white, colored, kinetic or transparent – lends itself to the metaphors of modular forms engendering one another in a vertiginous geometric genealogy. Starting with primary forms, he creates modules, pulsations, random movements. All of his work centers on formal relationships.

Armed with a prism and a magnifying glass, Sobrino shatters the white beam. As one moves away, rainbow-colored fireworks erupt; on moving nearer again, the luminous dots slide back into focus.The spectator wants to climb into the box to be inside the phenomenon.

Sobrino is a magician of real or suggested movement, conjuring up harmonious geometric forms and landscapes. Witness his monu- mental sculptures in Spain, or the 40-meter articulated relief on the Orinoco River whose elements came apart to float wherever the current took them, a magnificent demonstration of ephemeral art.

Francisco Sobrino is a poet of space-time, an architect of light.

Lélia Mordoch