Equipo 57 for Darro Pair of ‘Córdoba’ Lounge Chairs
Equipo 57 for Darro, pair of ‘Córdoba’ lounge chairs, model B-E57, oak, lacquered steel, leather, reupholstered in leather by Montebello, steel, Spain, 1959
Made by the Spanish creative and visionary collective Equipo 57 in 1959, these rare lounge chairs named Córdoba are exemplary for their philosophical premise and constructivist thinking. A key principle of their ideology revolved around the idea of seamlessly blending art with life, a concept commonly embraced by avant-garde artists. Consequently, they embarked on the design of furniture with the strong belief that art should become an integral part of everyday life. The present model features a straight-lined 90-degree framework composed of leather straps that constitute its backrest and seat. The supportive frame is comprised of black lacquered steel rods that convey a sense of spatial openness and airiness. The cushions are reupholstered in an olive-green leather with a nubuck finish by Montebello. The cantilevered backrest, in conjunction with the generously sized seat, offers a seating experience that not only satisfies comfort but also adheres to ergonomic principles. In this design a decoration is subordinate to the constructive element, placing emphasis on the essential composition of geometric forms and usage of materials, exemplified by the prominent use of steel rounded bolts along the oak slats. These slipper chairs have found their place within the esteemed collection of the Museum of Decorative Arts of Barcelona.
EQUIPO 57, an interdisciplinary artistic collective that settled amidst the mountainous landscapes near the historic city of Córdoba in the region of Andalusia, southern Spain. Equipo 57 had its origins in Paris in 1957, emerging shortly after the exhibition hosted at Café Le Rond Point. Initially, the team included several temporary members, but it eventually coalesced into a core group of five key artists: Juan Serrano, José Duarte, Agustín Ibarrola, Ángel Duarte, and Juan Cuenca. This assembly of creative minds made significant contributions to the national art scene. Their mission was to explore an artistic approach dedicated to serving society, which represented a departure from the prevailing artistic trends of their time. In their quest, they sought to cultivate a style characterized by a rational, objective, and constructivist language. This stood in stark contrast to the predominant emotional and expressive tendencies embraced by some of their contemporaries in the art world.
Equipo 57 found its creative roots in the early 20th-century artistic movements of constructivism and neoplasticism. Their artistic style of geometrical abstraction bore the distinct influence of three contemporaneous artists: the Spanish sculptor Jorge Oteiza (1908-2003), the French painter Auguste Herbin (1882-1960), and the Danish painter Richard Mortensen (1910-1993). The artistic expression of Equipo 57 was closely intertwined with their personal reflections on art, serving as both an outcome and a driving force behind their artistic philosophy and creative exploration.
Drawing from the combined skills of its sculptors, painters, and architects, Equipo 57's pursuit of artistic forms was grounded in scientific research and the potential for practical use in daily life. Their explorations transcended the boundaries of conventional art and extended into the realms of culture, society, and politics. Equipo 57, from its inception, held deep concerns about societal matters and embraced an ethical stance, both within the Spanish context and beyond. This dedication motivated them to emphasize the significance of art's social role and the social responsibilities of its creators toward society. A central tenet of their philosophy was the aspiration to seamlessly merge art with life, a principle commonly held by avant-garde artists. As a result, they ventured into designing furniture with the conviction that art should be seamlessly integrated into the fabric of everyday life.
Equipo 57 embraced the concept of art as a collaborative endeavor. Their perspective held that art's creation should be a collective effort, and this principle was not intended to conceal the identities of the artists, as their names remained known. Rather, this collective ethos functioned as a critique of, and a response to, the self-centered and fame-driven behavior observable by some artists. By emphasizing collective work over individual fame or recognition, these artists aimed to counteract the commercialization and commodification of art within the market. Their objective was to shift the focus away from artists seeking personal fame and financial gain, and instead, foster a more community-oriented and socially engaged approach to art.
Although their endeavors spanned only five years, Equipo 57 stands as one of the foremost collectives in the realm of 20th-century Spanish art. Despite the brevity of their existence, the ethical dedication and social stance cultivated within the group are paramount in comprehending several facets of Spanish contemporary art during the latter half of the 20th century.
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