Most paintings of the same date as Grafismo infinito are monochrome, as at the time Torres-García was dreaming of realizing monumental works. When the artist disembarked from the ship that brought him to Uruguay, he declared to the press that he wanted to make in stone what he had previously painted on canvas. For him, stone was a numinous material and an ideal medium upon which he could engrave ideas that would be preserved for posterity. In 1937, the same year that Grafismo infinito was painted, he achieved his ambitions with the construction of the Monumento Cósmico, a pink granite wall inscribed with symbols and located in Montevideo's Parque Rodo. For him, the simplicity of a line carved in stone endowed it with everlasting force, and he wished to replicate this effect in his easel works.
Torres-García organized the structure of Grafismo infinito in a balanced counterpoint between grid compartments containing symbols and others left blank. These "empty" compartments were painted with loose brushstrokes to simulate the rough surface of stone. The artist repeated this same system in other paintings from this same year, most notably the Centre Pompidou's canvas, Composición Universal (Figure 1). In these works, larger rectangles and symbols are juxtaposed with smaller, tighter chains in different patterns to create lines in zig-zags, waves, and horizontal and vertical parallel bars. This intricate configuration of pictograms embedded in the grid provides Grafismo infinito with the sense of an endless, textured surface.
Cecilia de Torres, New York, 2014
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