Francisco Sobrino

Indefinite Spaces S


Francisco Sobrino 1932–2014
Original title
Espaces indéfinis S
Object: 560 × 335 × 220 mm
Purchased 1964

Display caption

Sobrino left Spain for Buenos Aires in 1949, where he came into contact with the artists of the group Arte Concreto-Invención. He then moved to Paris in 1958, where he became one of the founding members of the Groupe de Recherche d’Art Visuel (GRAV) in 1960. This is also when he started making sculptures out of simple geometric forms, cut from tinted transparent plastic sheets and arranged in regular structures. The effects of combination and layering deliberately make it difficult to determine the position of each shape in space and in relation to each other.

Gallery label, October 2016

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Catalogue entry

Francisco Sobrino born 1932

T00715 Espaces Indéfinis S (Indefinite Spaces S) 1963

Not inscribed
Perspex, 22 x 13 1/4 x 8 3/4 (56 x 33.5 x 22)
Purchased from the artist through the Hanover Gallery (Grant-in-Aid) 1964
Exh: Le Parc-Sobrino, Galerie Ad Libitum, Antwerp, January 1964 (no catalogue); La Inestabilidad, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires, July 1964 (among 80-90 as 'Caja en plexiglás' or 91-6, 99 and 100 as 'Estructura en plexiglás'); Exposição de Arte Visual, Fundação Armando Alvares Penteado, São Paulo, August 1964 (no catalogue); Movement, Hanover Gallery, London, December 1964-January 1965 (works not listed) as 'Superposition Juxtaposition'
Repr: Michael Compton, Optical and Kinetic Art (London 1967), pl.19

The artist wrote in a letter of 12 October 1965: 'I began to work with transparent tinted perspex in 1960, using simple forms (geometrical forms which are controllable). The work you bought, the exact title of which is "Espaces Indéfinis S" (1963), is part of the research involving the superimposition and juxtaposition of forms in assemblage, on which I have been concentrating in particular since 1962. The problem which I was interested to explore was the disappearance of the forms themselves, their unstable transformation and the loss of all sense of their position in space; the position of each form in space seems indeterminate. Matter loses its apparent reality.

'I consider "Espaces Indéfinis S" is particularly illustrative of these problems, and to me it is a very representative example of my work.'

Later he added (13 April 1976): 'This work is the first of a theme I developed in perspex, and later in steel ...

'A work rather similar to yours, but of different dimensions was exhibited in 1971 at the Galerie Denise René, in Paris and New York, in my one-man exhibitions.

'As regards the title of this work, the letter S is simply a letter of identification without any other significance. Other works, in the same line of research, are called for example: "ESPACES INDEFINIS S.B.", "ESPACES INDEFINIS S.M.G." ...'

Published in:
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, pp.695-6, reproduced p.695

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