Colección Roberto Polo. Centro de Arte Moderno y Contemporáneo de Castilla-La Mancha (CORPO) opens its second venue in the UNESCO World Heritage City of Cuenca on December 2020. Its home is the former Iglesia de Santa Cruz, a 16Ith century building listed as a Spanish National Monument. CORPO focuses on late 19th and early 20th century European avant-garde movements. In Cuenca, the 19th century is present with the work of painters like Eugène Delacroix, John Atkinson Grimshaw, Félicien Rops, Alexandre Séon, Joseph Granié and Edgar Degas.
However, its core focuses on the European avant-gardesof early 20th century, with artists from North, Central and Eastern Europe. The Cuenca venue reveals a plethora of major works by artists who are virtually absent in Spain, but played a pivotal role in the history of art, and are represented in the permanent collections of important international museums. Among these are Koloman Moser, Josef Hoffmann, Wilhelm Wagenfeld, Henry van de Velde, Eileen Gray, Gerrit Thomas Rietveld, Theo van Doesburg, Johannes Itten, Paul Joostens, Georges Vantongerloo, Friedrich Vordemberge-Gildewart, Marthe Donas, Pierre-Louis Flouquet, Victor Servranckx, Ivan Kliun and Marc Eemans. Spain is represented by an iconic work on paper by Pablo Picasso.
The tour of the museum takes us to a second height, the one occupied by the choir of the old churchto offer us a sample of contemporary sculpture and photography and finish in a room dedicated to abstraction, in homage to Cuenca, projecting its abrupt landscape from a wide gap in the wall as a backdrop.The intention of this last space devoted to abstraction is to establish a parallelbetween the work of the Spanish artists that the city gathered and welcomed in 1959 and that of their European and American contemporaries.
The permanent collection reflects an avant-garde spirit that turns around Henry van de Velde’s concept of the ‘Gesamtkunstwerk’ or total work of art, where all forms of artistic expression would merge.
Consequently, in addition to painting, sculpture, photography and assemblage, the public can enjoy a highly educational selection of works of applied art or design. They are all historical and emblematic pieces of a time in which the arts rebel, ignoring the borders that until then separated them from each other and even from crafts, transforming everyday objects into works of industrial design or art applied to everything that configures our life, from a house to a jewel, a piece of furniture or a vase.
This concept admits all forms of artistic expression, media and themes, putting an accent on interdisciplinary works. Consequently, in addition to painting, sculpture, photography and assemblage, the permanent collection also features applied arts or design.
The Cuenca venue also places special emphasis on abstraction, drawing a parallel between the work of Spanish artists who flocked there as of 1959, and the work of Europeans and Americans in the preceding and ensuing periods.