Granada, 1927 – Madrid, 1995
Manuel Rivera was a Spanish artist who, after an initial figurative period in which he was commissioned to produce portraits and murals, started out in abstraction with matter painting. In 1956, the year in which he travelled to Paris, he made the leap to the characteristic wire mesh, first framed in wood and subsequently aluminium. He later incorporated a wooden board with pivots which supported the metal fabrics. Concerned by the concepts of space and light, he added empty spaces between the fabrics, colour began to appear and his work took on a more constructive form thanks to superimposing and to the creation of volumes.
He was a cofounding member of the El Paso group in 1957, which defended the opening up of Franco’s Spain in the international sphere. He participated in the São Paulo Biennial in 1957, in the Venice Biennial in 1958 and in the group exhibition of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs of Paris in 1959. In 1960, he took part in the three major exhibitions scheduled in New York City: “New Spanish Painting and Sculpture” at the MoMA, “Before Picasso; After Miró” at The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and “Four Spanish Painters: Millares, Canogar, Rivera, Saura” at the Pierre Matisse Gallery. The Pierre Matisse Gallery, which represented the artist, hosted two of his solo exhibitions during the 1960s. He moreover participated in the exhibitions organized by the Carnegie Institute of Pittsburgh in the years 1961, 1964 and 1967.
Starting from 1967, he began a new pictorial stage highly influenced by oriental art and an intensification of colour, holding numerous both solo and group exhibitions. He received many awards, such as the Premio Internazionale per la Pittura of Lissone, and his work forms part of prestigious international museums and collections.
Image in the header:
Manuel Rivera in the exhibition El Paso después de El Paso at the Fundación Juan March, 22.01.1988. Courtesy Archivo fotográfico de la Fundación Juan March.