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This is a review of an essay by the Mexican architect Carlos Obregón Santacilia titled “El maquinismo, la vida y la arquitectura” [Machine-ism, Life and Architecture], in which Enrique Díez-Canedo— the Spanish poet, critic, and essayist living in exile in Mexico—muses on the differences between ancient and modern art. In his opinion, while we admire the former it plays no part in our daily life; whereas modern art, with its ability to excite us, irritate us, seduce or repel us, interests us in a different way and appeals to the least “tourist” facet of our nature. The essay ends with an assessment on the Monumento a la Revolución, the work by Obregón Santacilia with sculptures by Oliverio Martínez. 


The review by Enrique Diez-Canedo (1879-1944), who was born in Badajoz, Spain and died in Mexico City, reflects the prevailing concerns of the mid-twentieth century. These concerns were born of a desire to understand new forms of expression in all the arts as they grappled with the heritage of the past and with new forms of perception, not to mention how art was finding ways to fuse modern resources with modern needs. In his assessment of the Monumento a la Revolución in Mexico City, he disagrees with those who find it absurd. This monument—conceived as such in about 1934 and built on top of the unfinished Palacio Legislativo [House of Representatives] that was planned and begun during the Porfirio Díaz administration—is ultimately a happy symbiosis between architecture and sculpture.

María Teresa Suárez/Guadalupe Tolosa : CURARE A. C.
CURARE, Espacio crítico para las artes, Mexico City, Mexico
© Estate of Enrique Diez-Canedo Reixa, Mexico City, Mexico
Ateneo Español de México, A. C.