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    El espacio conquistado = Conquered Space / Celedonio Abad
    p. 40-53 : ill.
    English; Spanish
    Book/pamphlet article – Essays
    Abad, Celedonio. "El espacio conquistado = Conquered Space." In Exposición, la casa de todos nosotros : Antonio Martorell y sus amigos = Exhibition, a house for us all : Antonio Martorell and friends, 40-53. New York : Museo del Barrio, 1992.

On the occasion of the exhibition La casa de todos nosotros: Antonio Martorell y sus amigos [A House for Us All: Antonio Martorell and Friends] held at El Museo del Barrio in 1992, Puerto Rican critic Celedonio Abad analyzes the symbolic meaning of a number of installations by Antonio Martorell on the “house” theme. The author asserts that in his “houses” Martorell addresses spaces explored by the artist himself in different experiences with art, and others explored by all Puerto Ricans. Abad maintains that by “carrying the house on his back,” the artist shows his peripatetic nature. On the level of technique, Abad claims that Martorell has attempted to forge a chromatic harmony between works. When seen as a whole, La casa de todos nosotros becomes an endless reconstruction of the seemingly fragmented Puerto Rican identity.


The author discusses the woodcut murals El Yunque, Calle San José [San José Street], and the installations Kamikaze, Moscasa, Casa Singer [Singer House], La ceiba [The Ceiba Tree], Casa quemada [Burnt House], Casa verde [Green House], Casa lechona [Suckling Pig House], Rilkehaus, Casa Blanca [White House], and Casa del grabador [The Printmaker’s House].

Antonio Martorell (Santurce, b. 1939) was trained at the Taller de Gráfica del Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña [Puerto Rican Cultural Institute Print Workshop] under Lorenzo Homar. During his career, Martorell worked as a theater set and wardrobe designer, poster artist, printmaker, painter, book illustrator, professor, and writer. But, most importantly, he has been a graphic designer. In 1968, he founded the Taller Alacrán [Scorpion Workshop]—a workshop-art school devoted to criticizing Puerto Rican social conditions and politics—and managed it until 1971. In 1974 he was among the prize-winning artists at the III Bienal de San Juan del Grabado Latinoamericano [3rd San Juan Biennial of Latin American Prints]. Two years later, on the eve of the 4th Biennial he resigned from the jury because he was opposed to using funds from the United States bicentenary to finance the event. Multiple protests led to the cancellation of the 4th Biennial in 1976, and the event did not take place until 1979. Martorell was honored with a retrospective exhibition at the 7th Biennial in 1986. A year earlier the FBI raided his home as part of an attempt to arrest presumed members of Los Macheteros [the Machete Wielders], an underground revolutionary group that worked tirelessly to promote Puerto Rican independence. 


Flavia Marichal Lugo
Museo de Historia, Antropología y Arte, Universidad de Puerto Rico, San Juan, Puerto Rico