Jorge Oteiza is considered, along with Eduardo Chillida, to be one of the most influential figures in Spanish Post-War sculpture. In 1957, after being awarded the Grand Prix for his sculpture at the 4th São Paulo Art Biennial, Brazil, he abandoned figuration and expressionism to embark instead on an epic exploration of abstraction. Looking to Modernists Piet Mondrian and Kazimir Malevich and taking his inspiration, at least initially, from both artists and their geometric idioms, Jorge Oteiza chose the cube—a perfect and pure shape—as the basic abstract element for his sculptural experimentation of emptying simple geometric forms.
In Homenaje a los Vkhutemas (2001), Oteiza combines the evocation of his hallmark spatial concerns with a personal homage to Vkhutemas, the Russian state art and technical school, founded in 1920 in Moscow, and its avant-garde spirit. Vkhutemas was a centre for three major contemporaneous movements, all of which were explored by Oteitza: constructivism, rationalism and suprematism. The faculty and students at Vkhutemas transformed Modernist approaches to art and reality through the manipulation of geometry and new modes of space.
This sculpture was made during Jorge Oteiza’s last creative period (2001-2002), when his works were interpretations of models from the 50s and 70s.