Construction of the Matrix
, 1976

Installation, 35.5 x 21.6 cm cm

Immediately following the death Franco, in 1976 a selection of works by different avant-garde Spanish artists was presented at the Venice Biennale. During a moment of uncertainty, confusion and longing for democratic reconstruction in Spain after almost forty years of dictatorship, Francesc Torres presented the installation Construction of the Matrix. A human figure in fetal position is projected over a pile of earth covered with empty bullet cartridges. Two books illuminated by reading lamps lay open on the pile, on both sides of the projection.

The lamp with the greatest intensity, containing a 60-watt light bulb, was directed at the Communist Manifesto and directly opposite, illuminated by a lamp with a 15-watt light bulb, lay the New Testament. With a theatrical boldness, the work explores the role of ideology in the construction of history. Two ideologies, Christianity and communism, are formally confronted and associated with violence. From this matrix composed of earth, ideology, violence and the individual, the illusion of a new society appears.

Construction of the Matrix is one of the first installations made by Francesc Torres, which represented a transitory moment in the artist’s trajectory when he began to move from personal, subjective themes to works addressing history’s different perspectives. The work contained the germ of the archaeological preoccupations that would manifest themselves in later works. Since the 1970s, Torres has looked upon the debris of history as both the material and subject of his artwork. The past is rendered neither banal nor heroic, but viewed as a means to identify the effects of the political and to understand the present.

Technical details

Original title:
Construction of the Matrix
Registration number:
Torres, Francesc
Date created:
Date acquired:
MACBA Collection. Barcelona City Council long-term
Object type:
Sand, stones, bullets, surgeon scissors, lamps, books and slide projection
35.5 x 21.6 cm cm (ancho x alto)
MACBA Collection. Barcelona City Council long-term
© Francesc Torres, VEGAP, Barcelona
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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.

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The problem becomes clear, crystal clear: the artist’s canvas becomes a mirror.
Michelangelo Pistoletto