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UNAM Sculpture Space

The Sculpture Space (Espacio Escultórico) on the edge of the UNAM University Cultural Center is one of the most accessible and rewarding parts of a visit to the UNAM CU Campus. The space itself is a giant ring of triangular stone prisms encircling a frozen sea of lava.

The giant work of Land Art consists of a large circle some 120 meters in diameter. This is encircled by 73 triangular “prisms.” The entire work was conceived of by six of the most important Mexican sculptors of the day. Originally proposed by sculptor Federico Silva in 1977, the idea was to better position visual arts and geometric sculpture in Mexico within a natural environment.

What a natural environment it is. The work forms an accesible sanctuary and focal point within the giant, protected Pedregal de San Ángel Ecological Reserve. The space respects the extensive natural landscape while inviting visitors to contemplate their own spaces within the larger natural setting. A mosaic of engraved tiles also makes reference to the other works in the area.

The giane Land Art work resulted from intense meetings and collaboration between all of the participating artists. In the years following the 1979 dedication of the work, the artists also placed further separate works in the Paseo de las Esculturas to the south. Some of these are integrated with the facilities of the Cultural Center. Still others are more distantly placed within the landscape of the Reserve

Paseo de las esculturas works include:

  1. Ave Dos by Hersúa
  2. Coatl by Helen Escobedo is likely the most photographed and best known.
  3. Colotl by Sebastián
  4. Corona del Pedregal by Mathias Goeritz
  5. Variante de la Llave de Kepler by Manuel Felguérez
  6. Ocho Conejos by Federico Silva
  7. Las Serpientes del Pedregal also by Federico Silva. This work, dated 1986, was the last one added to the Pasaje. It’s also the biggest.

But the space has also grown to include other nearby but not technically part-of-the-Paseo works.

  • The most prominent is another by Sebastián: Tláloc (pictured above).
  • But also Juan Soriano’s Pajaro XIII.
  • Further south in the University Cultural Center Rufino Tamayo’s La Espiga. This one is today often used as a symbol for the entire cultural center.

There are also several works to the west of the Centro Cultural adorning the interchange of Mario de La Cueva with the Avenida Insurgentes Sur.

  • Sebastián’s Serpiente y Garra de Jaguar, an homage to Rufino Tamayo.
  • The Serpent and Jaguar Claw face off with another work by Federico Silva. La Muerte Presente is directly across the interchange atop one of the cloverleaf pedals cut into the volcanic rock.
  • Just to the south is Carlos Mérida’s Abstracción Integrada. It’s a mosaic mural set back from the passing avenue.

The Espacio Escultórico is free and open to the public. The main circular installation is open only Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

How to get here
  • Calle Mario de La Cueva, Ciudad Universitaria, Alc. Coyoacán, 04510 CDMX

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