Artist, collector and patron, Pablo Atchugarry is a key figure in Uruguayan and Latin American contemporary art, with a recognized international trajectory.
As a sculptor, the material he chooses to express himself is white marble from the quarries of Carrara, near Pisa. The expressive strength of white marble, combined with the subtlety in the forms that the artist achieves and the light that surrounds them, produces a breath taking experience for the observer. Standing in front of one of his sculptures generates a state of respectful silence at first, then it invites us to explore it through his eyes; waking up the imperative need to touch it to confirm that indeed nothing is as it seems. By changing the rigid nature of the material, Atchugarry achieves in marble contorsions and unthinkable turning points. Thus, the block folds effortlessly, as if it were actually a translucent, ethereal and singing fabric spilling peacefully and revealing the possiblity of a new world: musical, fragile and flexible.
Effusive, generous and sensitive, as any good leo, Pablo Atchugarry, in 2007, after residing in Europe for 30 years, inaugurates in Manantiales, Punta del Este, a homonymous foundation; a not for profit where the arts coexist, connect and develop.
Artists from all over the world are invited to participate in the project with site specific works for the surrounding sculpture park. One of the main objectives of the foundation is to provide a work space for young creators and teachers, who have dedicated their entire lives to the arts.
Last year, he inaugurated, in the Miami neighborhood of Little Haiti, the Atchugarry Art Center that houses the headquarters of his foundation, along with an art gallery directed by his son Piero, that has a clear mission to promote an exchange and dialogue between different generations, latitudes and cultures.
In this new edition of Pinta Miami, the public will have the opportunity to connect, through this tribute, with masterpieces by this unique artist, who begins each work by carefully selecting a marble block to be carved. These blocks that are "children of the mountain" and will become the fruit of his inspiration.
Pablo Atchugarry was born in Montevideo, Uruguay on August 23, 1954. At an early age, his parents, María Cristina Bonomi and Pedro Atchugarry – art enthusiast and student of Maestro Joaquín Torres García –, discovered their son’s aptitude for drawing and encouraged him to follow this path. He initially expressed himself through drawing and painting, and in 1965, at the age of 11, two of his works were displayed in a collective exhibition in Montevideo. Later on other materials such as clay, concrete, iron and wood, and in 1971 he created his first concrete sculpture, entitled Caballo (Horse). Other sculptures in concrete and iron would follow, all dated 1974: Escritura Simbólica (Symbolic Writing), Estructura Cósmica (Cosmic Structure), Metamorfosis Prehistórica (Prehistoric Metamorphosis), Maternidad (Maternity) and Metamorfosis Femenina (Feminine Metamorphosis).
In 1972 he realized his first solo exhibition of drawings and paintings in the Centro de Exposiciones SUBTE in Montevideo, followed by various exhibitions held in 1974 (Galería Lirolay in Buenos Aires and XV Salón Internacional Paris-Sud) and in 1976 (Porto Alegre, San Pablo, Brasilia and Rio de Janeiro where he met artist Iberê Camargo).
In 1977 Atchugarry began his European travels and visited different countries, including Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Holland, Spain, Switzerland and Italy. In 1978 he held his first solo exhibition of paintings in Italy, at the Galleria Visconti in Lecco; in that same year he held another solo exhibition of paintings at the Galleria Nuova Sfera in Milan and at Galleria La Colonna in Como where for the first time he showed his drawings in ink and watercolour. For the occasion, Mario Radice wrote an article in the daily newspaper, La Provincia, entitled “Alla Colonna, ottime chine del pittore scultore uruguaiano Atchugarry” (At the Colonna, Excellent Inks by the Uruguayan Painter/Sculptor Atchugarry).
In 1979 he celebrated his first solo exhibition in Paris, at the Maison de l’Amérique Latine and later he exhibited in Chur and Stockholm. During his stay in Paris, he realized a preparatory drawing for La Lumière (The Light), his first sculpture created in marble and for which he relocated to Carrara and Brescia.
In 1987 his works were exhibited in the Bramantino crypt the Basilica di San Nazaro (Milan) with a critical presentation by Raffaelle De Grada. In 1989 Atchugarry began to express a tendency towards working with pieces of monumental dimensions, works that still today can be found in public and private collections worldwide.
In 1996 he sculpted the work Semilla de la esperanza (Seed of Hope), realized for the sculpture park "Palacio del Gobierno" in Montevideo.
In 1997 he exhibited in Caracas, where, amongst others, he met artist Jesús Soto. In 1998 the Veranneman Foundation in Belgium organized a solo exhibition of his sculptures with a critical essay by Professor Willem Elias.
In September 1999, in Lecco, he inaugurated the Pablo Atchugarry Museum, where diverse artworks on permanent display represent his artistic pathway, from the earliest paintings to the sculptures of today as well as conserving the archives of his works.
In 2001 the City of Milan organized a retrospective exhibition at Palazzo Isimbardi, entitled Le infinite evoluzioni del marmo (The Infinite Evolutions of Marble). In that same year he held his first solo exhibition in London at the Albemarle Gallery and he sculpted the Obelisco del terzo millennio (Obelisk of the Third Millenium), a monumental work – six meters high in Carrara marble – for the city of Manzano in Italy. He also won the national competition with his realization of the sculpture Monumento alla Civiltà e Cultura del Lavoro Lecchese (A Monument to the Civilization and Work Culture of Lecco), which was also a six-meter-high work made of a unique 33ton block of marble from Carrara and was inaugurated in Lecco in May of 2002.
In 2002 he received the Michelangelo Award in Carrara for special recognition of his artistic career. During this period, he continued to work on different projects, amongst which the sculpture Ideales (Ideals), realized as a tribute for the 50th Anniversary of the Reign of Prince Rainier of Monaco, now located in Avenue Princesse Grace of Montecarlo.
In 2003 he participated in the 50th Venice Biennale with the composition Soñando la paz (Dreaming of Peace), a sculptural work of 8 monumental pieces realized in Carrara marble and Bardiglio marble from Garfagnana. He exhibited at the Veranneman Foundation in Belgium for the second time. That same year he created a work entitled Ascensión (Ascension) for the Fran Daurel Foundation in Barcelona.
In 2004, after 25 years of not having exhibited in Uruguay, the Galería Tejería Loppacher organized his first solo show of sculptures in Punta del Este (a continuation of the same would be held in 2005) and the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Buenos Aires realized an important solo exhibition of his works.
In 2006 the Groeninge Museum of Bruges dedicated a retrospective exhibition, with works from private international collections. Four years later, the same museum acquired a sculpture for its own collection which is on permanent display in the gardens. That same year the João Berardo Collection from Portugal acquired the work Camino Vital (Vital Pathway) – executed in 1999 – precisely for the Cultural Center of Belém in Lisbon. In Uruguay, the Sur Gallery organized an exhibition of his most recent works.
During 2007 the Pablo Atchugarry Foundation was established in Manantiales (Uruguay), with the intention of creating a meeting place for artists from all fields, an ideal space to unite nature and art. That same year the artist finalized his first eight-meter-high work, entitled Nel cammino della Luce (In the Way of Light), sculpted from one 48-ton block of Carrara marble, designated for the Fontana Collection in Italy.
Between the years 2007 and 2008 the artist realized an important retrospective exhibition in Brazil entitled El espacio plástico de la luz (The Plastic Space of Light), an itinerant exhibition, with a critical essay presented by Luca Massimo Barbero. Exhibitions were held at the Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil in Brasilia, the MUBE (Brazilian Museum of Sculpture) in São Paulo and in the Oscar Niemeyer Museum in Curitiba.
In 2008 the National Museum of Visual Arts in Montevideo, dedicated a one-man exhibition to the artist which covered the last fifteen years of his artistic career.
In 2009 the work entitled Luz y energía de Punta del Este (Light and Energy of Punta del Este) was inaugurated in Punta del Este, Uruguay: a five-meter-high sculpture realized in Carrara marble that was a tribute to the centennial celebration of the city.
In 2011, after seven years of work, the artist finalized the sculpture Abrazo cósmico (Cosmic Embrace), realized from one 56-ton block of marble and 8.5 meters high. In November 2011 he realized his first solo show in New York at the Hollis Taggart Galleries, with a critical essay presented by Jonathan Goodman. The Sur Gallery in Uruguay presented his works at Art Basel Miami and later at TEFAF in Maastricht (Netherlands).
In March 2012 the Times Square Alliance selected his work Dreaming New York to be displayed in Times Square during the New York Armory Show. In July, within the framework of the program City of Sculpture (London), the Westminster City Council displayed two sculptures in stainless steel at the St. James Square Gardens. These works entitled Espíritu Olímpico I and Espíritu Olímpico II (Olympic Spirit I and II), specifically created for the occasion, are 5.9 and 5.85 metres respectively in height. Towards the end of 2013 the Mondadori Electa publishing house in Milan printed two volumes of a comprehensive catalogue of the artist’s sculptures, with the curatorship of Professor Carlo Pirovano. The third volume is expected to be finalized by 2019.