Flat Genesis, 1986/1999

Sculpture, 286 x 130 x 53.5 cm

Located since 2010 outside the Postgraduate School on the campus of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, the sculpture encapsulates the language of this New York artist who has numerous public works in the United States and Europe. Known for her large totemic pieces, often made of steel and occasionally with mirrors, her works are always integrated in the environment.

A fissure or incision runs from top to bottom at the centre of a large steel work nearly three-metres high, mounted on a rectangular base separated by another transversal fissure. The piece, of monumental proportions and evoking the sculptural Minimalism of artists like Robert Morris and Richard Serra, creates a game of lines and shadows that keeps changing throughout the day. The vertical incision, which catches the light in the background, ends in a small triangle. The references to female sexuality and the idea of genesis are a constant in the work of this artist.

By its dimensions and simplicity of forms, Flat Genesis reminds us of the totems of primitive art. Pepper’s works tend to establish a dialogue between opposite concepts such as solid and void, horizontal and vertical, earth and sky, light and shadow, nature and technology. As the artist herself explained to her Dartmouth College students in September 1977, her public sculpture is based on the belief that the aesthetic experience can become a social act: ‘Monumental sculpture is directed to man and his perception, not to function. There is no need to adapt. No need to use the work. The only inescapable need is to relate and create an interaction between man and aesthetic experience. Which here becomes a social act.’

Barcelona has another public sculpture by this artist, Sol i Ombra Park (1987–92), a Land art installation located at the Estació del Nord.

Technical details

Original title:
Flat Genesis
Registration number:
Pepper, Beverly
Date created:
Date acquired:
On loan
MACBA Collection. MACBA Consortium
Object type:
286 x 130 x 53.5 cm (height x width x depth)
MACBA Collection. MACBA Consortium. Long-term loan of Beverly Pepper
© Beverly Pepper
It has accessibility resources:

The MACBA Collection features Catalan, Spanish and international art and, although it includes works from the 1920s onwards, its primary focus is on the period between the 1960s and the present.

For more information on the work or the artist, please consult MACBA's Library. To request a loan of the work, please write to colleccio [at] macba.cat.

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