Miguel Ortiz Berrocal
The Spanish sculptor, graphic artist, painter and architect Miguel Ortiz Berrocal was born on September 28, 1933 in Villanueva de Algaidas in southern Spain. In the year 1949, he began his study of architecture, oriented towards mathematics and natural sciences, in Madrid. Soon however he devoted himself exclusively to his artistic education and attended evening classes in nude drawing at Circulo de BA. Later, Miguel Ortiz Berrocal took classes at the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, at the Escuela de Artes Graficas and at the Escuela de Artes Graficas with the sculptor Angel Ferrant (1891 – 1959). During the years 1952-54, he lived in Rome. There the artist worked in different architectural firms and took numerous trips through Italy.
In the year 1954, he returned to Madrid in order to do his compulsory military service. Berrocal continued his artistic education with Ferrant. In 1955, the artist received two grants from the French government and went to Paris. Here he attended Pierre Canivet’s (1915 – 2006) school of ceramics. It is especially the contact with the sculptors Cárdenas and Alberto Giacometti (1901 – 66) as well as the work of Eduardo Chillidas (1924 – 2002) that inspired Miguel Ortiz Berrocal to devote himself to sculpture as well in the future.
The first iron sculptures were created; in the same year, Berrocal began to produce abstract, rangy works in emulation of J. Gonzales and Angel Ferrant. These were replaced in 1958 with more compact forms composed of flat plates. From the end of 1956 to 1960, Berrocal stayed in Rome for a second time. Here he met Alberto Burri (1915 – 95) and Afro Basadella (1912 – 76), among others. The artist created the balustrades for the Chamber of Commerce in Carrara. In this project, he used the technique of combinable elements for the first time. Miguel Ortiz Berrocal decided to work from now on primarily as a sculptor.
Already in his first sculptures, the artist placed emphasis on the range of variations of his works. For this reason, he often conceived them for different exhibition venues. Berrocal developed the principle of collapsible sculptures with elements that could be combined. In 1960, he moved to Crespièrs near Paris. However, he soon went back to Verona. In 1962 he began his experiments with the "Multiples", a kind of collapsible sculpture produced in series, whose individual components were combinable with each other in different ways, but which were to be understood as individually autonomous sculptures as well. The first works were displayed at the Biennale in Venice in 1964. From now on, Berrocal commuted between France and Italy, and in 1966 he accepted a guest professorship at the State College of Fine Arts in Hamburg. At the end of the same year, he moved to Verona.
During a trip to New York in 1965, the sculptor Lipchitz (1891 – 1973) familiarized him with the "Shaw process", which from then on enabled Berrocal to achieve high numbers of pieces while still retaining high artistic quality. The extremely complicated assembly, which in some cases included 40 separate pieces, was explained to the public in assembly instructions published in book form.
In 1973, Berrocal moved into the Villa Razzardi in Negrar. In his own foundry workshop, he also created works for Salvador Dalí (1904 – 89), Giorgio De Chirico (1888 – 1978), Raymond Duchamp-Villon (1876 – 1918), Jean Robert Ipoustéguy (1920 – 2006), Robert Sebastian Echaurren Matta (1911 – 2002), Joan Miró (1893 – 1983), Alicia Penalba (1913 – 82) and Isabelle Waldberg (1917 – 90).
Miguel Ortiz Berrocal died in Málaga on May 31, 2006.