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Mathias Goeritz

Mexican  •  1915-1990

Biography

German-born artist Mathias Goeritz studied Philosophy and Art History in Berlin. He immigrated to Mexico in 1949, by which time he had already built a career as a modern artist and architect. He was influenced by the European artistic tendencies of the time, from modernist movements such as Group Zero to artists including Yves Klein and Lucio Fontana.

Goeritz's transference of knowledge exposed Mexico to the larger international art world, thus greatly contributing to the trajectory of Mexican art. He developed the concept of emotional architecture — where architecture is not overpowered by functionality but engages humankind with beauty, creating an emotive response. This concept would give artists in Mexico an alternative to the overarching influence of the national mural movement, and is exemplified in one of Goeritz's most significant works, El Museo Experimental el Eco.

Insights

  • Goeritz's work inspired his peers, leading to the formation of the artist group Los Hartos. These artists were tired of the mural movement in Mexico and were the first to mount an exhibition of conceptual art in Mexico.

  • Goeritz and architect Luis Barragán developed one of the most important architectural projects in Mexico, El Pedregal. As part of this commission, Goeritz created one of his most important works of art, the Serpiente del Pedregal.

  • In response to wife Marianne Gast's death, Goeritz produced his renowned series Mensajes. In this series, Goeritz applied pictured metal or gold leaf to wooden structures. The repetitive and methodical process helped him to cope with his overwhelming grief.

"Stop with the pseudo-artistic chit-chat!...Stop with the boring egomanical trash aimed at mass approval!...Let's start making art!"

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