Permanent Collection

José María Iglesias

Madrid, 1933–2005
Playful Elucidation for Two Equal Squares, 1975Playful Elucidation for Two Equal Squares, 1975

Iglesias' normative abstraction was based on post-cubist compositions and concrete art. In the 1960s he reached the point of formulating a geometrical procedure—termed "elucidation"—that allowed him to create grids of lines with which he divided up the pictorial plane into small compartments. Having defined these units, the artist added color, transforming them into flat surfaces. The importance of this type of painting lies not in the images that can arise from the procedure but in the mathematical relations the artist establishes among the different surfaces, which is why Iglesias did not make use of chromatic contrasts or bright colors that could distract the viewer from the rigor of the geometrical qualities synthesized in his work.

The lines that cover all of Iglesias' paintings arise from a geometrical process that he approached in the manner of a theoretical question. The painting thus becomes visual proof of a thought process that Iglesias would previously undertake in a preliminary study on graph paper that determined the appropriate tangents, parallels, angles and proportions. We could therefore describe his work as "theoretical painting" of a metaphysical type or, as Iglesias himself liked to say, meta-constructivism, where the act of painting does not consist in applying paint to the surface, nor does the work have any more or less value if it takes shape on paper, canvas or any other support, given that its interest lies in the underlying idea, not in its material form. Once he defined the generative grammar of his paintings, Iglesias termed it ELDAG (Elucidación Lúdica De Agumentación Geométrica [Playful Elucidation Of Geometrical Reasoning]), which were the words he would use to entitle his works from the 1970s onward.

Javier Maderuelo, en Catalog Museo de Arte Abstracto Español, Cuenca, Fundación Juan March, Madrid, 2016