Santa Cruz pays tribute to the Canary artist with the César Manrique exposition

César Manrique (1919-1992) was a Canary architect, painter and sculptor whose work received international relevance. He was born in the island of Lanzarote, where he developed an important part of his artistic creations. However, he also left an indelible legacy in Tenerife; more concretely, in Santa Cruz, the capital of the island. This is why the César Manrique exposition has been created, in order to pay tribute to the artist, who passed away 25 years ago.

The César Manrique exposition was named “Manrique in Santa Cruz, Manrique in the world” and placed in La Casa de la Pólvora, in Santa Cruz. The exposition will remain open until the 30th of November 2017, from Tuesdays to Sundays, from 11:00 to 13:00 and from 17:00 to 20:00 in working days and from 11:00 to 14:00 on Sundays and public holidays.

The exhibition was presented with a press conference by the city mayor, José Manuel Bermúdez, who was accompanied by the president of the César Manrique Foundation, José Juan Ramírez, as well as the brother of the artist, Carlos Manrique. Other people present were Carlos Alonso, president of the Cabildo of Tenerife, as well as Aurelio González, vice counselor of Culture of the Canary Government.

César Manrique exposition

The mayor talked about the César Manrique exposition in the following terms:

It is a modest tribute, compared to the work of the artist, and especially compared to his artistic and human legacy. Santa Cruz, in the 25th anniversary of his decease, could not stay outside this tragic date and wants to contribute, from the humility, to remember the relation that Manrique had with this city”.

“Manrique was a soldier in the battle for the ideas, an activist in the defence of nature, a hammer against the environmental degradation and a conscience agitator. He was able to see an opportunity in every difficulty, to see harmony in imbalance, and he also saw art in everyday life. Santa Cruz, and the place where we are today, are in profound debt with César Manrique. He saw an opportunity, gave harmony and created art in our capital, for example with the transformation of an old dump into a biodiversity oasis such as Palmetum”.

On the other hand, the president of the foundation thanked the city council for having created this initiative, because:

“this act is to remember somebody who considered himself a citizen of the world, but a lover of the capital of Tenerife. Manrique loved the city and felt tremendously loved by it. The maritime park who was named after him was one of his last creations. From his foundation we are still committed to his ideas and thoughts, because we truly believe that keeping him alive is a way to make the future a better place to live”.

The brother of the creator, Carlos Manrique, wanted to talk about his relative, too:

“César left his mark in many places, but, outside his beloved Lanzarote, Santa Cruz might be one of the places where you can find more marks of his legacy”.

Content of César Manrique exhibition


César Manrique expositionThe retrospective of the Canary artist consists of multimedia content and a group of informative panels.

In addition, the place has a didactic unit, in order to transmit Manrique’s legacy to the children who visit the exposition. It has been especially designed to harbor scholar visits.

In order to amplify the dimension of the César Manrique exposition, the city council has taken the decision of restoring one of the most important pieces of the artist:

Homenaje a Santa Cruz” (“Tribute to Santa Cruz”), which is placed near the space where the exhibition is harbored. It is a 15 meter tall sculpture which weights 6,5 tonnes and has been made with steel and iron. The most remarkable thing is that it is an interactive piece. Thanks to its design, some parts of the sculpture can be moved by the wind -in fact, it is one of the many “wind toys” that Manrique created during his whole life.


The legacy of Manrique in Santa Cruz

It is really easy to take a walk through the Canary city and find some artwork of the artist. It can be a sculpture or some urban design created by him. Because of that, it seemed to be more than reasonable to place the exhibition inside one of the spaces he himself designed. The chosen place has been César Manrique Maritime Park, which is placed in the maritime avenue, near the Adán Martín Tenerife Auditorium. It was the last project the artist developed, and had to be finished by the engineers Juan Alfredo Amigó and José Luis Olcina.

The space has 22.000 square meters and consists of a big lake that surrounds an island, near to three smaller pools filled with seawater. The place has a lot of nature, because one of the obsessions of César Manrique was to integrate human constructions in natural environments, always with true respect towards nature. The zone has volcanic rocks, palm trees, plants and waterfalls. Altogether it makes the place the ideal one for the exhibition.

César Manrique exposition

Inside the park itself you can enjoy another of his “wind toys”, which is very similar to the one that was cited before. In this case, the piece is placed on top of a huge volcanic rock, inside a small pond, very close to the sea. It has been made in weathering steel, it is 6 meter tall and its different pieces can be moved by wind as well.

This has been our approach to the César Manrique exposition that the Santa Cruz city council has organized. The chosen name is Manrique in Santa Cruz, Manrique in the world, it will be open and be free from Tuesdays to Sundays until the 30th of November. The artist born in Lanzarote is one of the symbols of the Canary contemporary culture. As a result, the existence of the exhibition, limited in time, is the perfect tool to discover the artistic legacy of this genius. Given all these arguments, it is quite logical for the StarExcursions blog to talk about this event!


Featured image: Mataparda, via Wikipedia (link to license).

In text image 1: Around Tenerife, via Flikr (link to license).
In text image 2: Martin Robson, via Flikr (link to license).
In text image 3: José Sáez, vía Flikr (link to license).