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Here Ramón Alva de la Canal writes on various matters related to the aesthetic backwardness of sculpture. He reports that, while painting has been developing, the other arts have stagnated through mere repetition. He points out that one of the problems in sculpture is a deficiency of form, brought on by the Academy that continues to nurture and imitate terrible Grecian works in marble. He also states that sculpture, having been separated from architecture, has become bulky and bothersome, making it impossible to have in any home. Alva de la Canal believes that the work being done at the Escuela de Talla Directa [School of Direct Carving] has achieved a high level of artistry; nevertheless, he believes that architecture must progress and reincorporate sculpture. Only then will a true renaissance of sculpture in Mexico be achieved.
This article is relevant not only because of the period in which it was written, but also for its author and content. Ramón Alva de la Canal (1892-1985) was part of a group of young painters that attended the Escuela al Aire Libre de Chimalistac [Open-Air School of Chimalistac] (in Mexico City) that was founded by Alfredo Ramos Martínez in 1920. He participated in the creation of the first murals at the Antigua Escuela Nacional Preparatoria 1922. Alva de la Canal also collaborated with the Estridentista movment and was a member of the painters’ group ¡30-30!, another movement that sought to establish a program of arts education with deep societal reach. In this article, Alva de la Canal affirms the necessity of integrating sculpture into architecture and, from his estridentista perspective, he condemns the mistaken desire to revive pre-Hispanic sculpture; especially in an era of hurried existence surrounded by trains, cars, elevators and complex and wondrous machinery. In another part of the text, he advocates for the need to design furniture in harmony with the architecture surrounding it. Alva de la Canal supports a decorative art that is characterized by simplicity of line and size because he believes this will give rise to a grand geometric art. Such an art would calm the agitated mind of the modern man. At that time, Alva de la Canal criticized the backwardness of architecture in light of the modern movements as well as the status of Mexican art.