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Francis Summers

revised by Martin R. Patrick

(b Antwerp, Aug 22, 1959).

Belgian-born interdisciplinary artist, active in Mexico. He studied architecture at the Institut d’Architecture de Tournai in Belgium (1978–83) and at the Istituto Universitario di Architettura in Venice (1983–6). Alÿs moved to Mexico in 1987 and his art practice initially concentrated on Mexico City as a laboratory of urban living, often documented in the form of evocative, conceptually layered photographs, sculptures, and videos. In the slide series Ambulantes (Pushing and Pulling) (1992–2002), Alÿs photographed street vendors and workers as they passed by carting a wide variety of goods within a ten-block vicinity of his studio. For his project entitled The Liar, The Copy of the Liar (1997) Alÿs created small images of suited men inspired by the commercial sign painters of Mexico City, and subsequently commissioned from them larger versions in their own styles. In this process Alÿs deferred authorship into a semantic chain. Hovering between the banal and the surreal, these works have an uncanny theme, of individuals observed in situations that defy explanation....


Roberto Segre

(b Venice, Jan 30, 1927).

Italian architect, stage designer and teacher, active in Cuba. He graduated from the Istituto Superiore d’Archittetura in Venice in 1952, where he was a pupil of Carlo Scarpa, Franco Albini and Luigi Piccinato (b 1899). He began his professional career in BBPR Architectural Studio in Milan. In 1957 he went to Venezuela to work in a local studio and in 1960 was invited to join a Cuban programme. Thereafter he trained architectural students in the problems of creativity and plasticity as professor of Basic Design of the Faculty of Architecture in Havana. In 1961 he took part with Ricardo Porro and Vittorio Garatti in designing the Escuelas Nacionales de Arte at Cubanacán, Havana, his particular role being the designing of the Escuela de Artes Dramáticas. In this building he combined the compact volumetric tradition of brick walls and the irregular urban spaces of medieval Italian cities with the internal courtyards of Spanish colonial tradition. The work was broken off in ...


Teresa Gisbert

(b Baar region, Switzerland, Sept 26, 1694; d March 1772).

Swiss architect and musician, active in Bolivia. He entered the Jesuit Order and in 1730 was sent to join the Jesuit missions to the indigenous Chiquito peoples of eastern Bolivia, in the Chaco rainforests bordering Brazil and Paraguay. In 1731 he organized the craft workshops in the mission of S Javier and began the construction of the church there. Like all the churches in that region, it is a timber structure with a rectangular ground-plan and a pitched roof. The plan is organized on the basis of five rows of timber columns, with the three central rows dividing the internal space into two aisles and the outer rows defining the enclosing walls and supporting the widely overhanging eaves. These churches were based on ancient Greek models and were adapted to the humid climate and forested nature of the region. Schmid also constructed the churches at S Rafael (1749–53) and Concepción (...


Argentinian, 20th century, male.

Active in France.

Born 1937, in Buenos Aires.

Performance artist, sculptor, architect. Figures, portraits, scenes with figures, landscapes, animals. Murals.

Uriburu lived in Paris. As an architect, his first creations were freely inspired by Pop Art. The paintings from his first period were rich with local Argentinian folklore and colour, especially with scenes of 'colectivos' (small buses in Buenos Aires). He went through a second phase, humorous and light-hearted, during which he created tall cut-out silhouettes of figures, clouds, waterfalls, animals (cows, sheep, parrots) in Plexiglas, which he painted in bright colours. In Paris, he parodied famous works by producing caricatures of them in psychedelic colours. From ...


Ludovico C. Koppmann

(b Buenos Aires, Feb 19, 1913; d Buenos Aires, Oct 14, 1989).

Argentine architect and urban planner. He was the son of the composer Alberto Williams. He first studied engineering and aviation and became a leading member of the Rationalist Grupo Austral, before graduating as an architect from the University of Buenos Aires in 1941; he then went into practice in Buenos Aires. Williams became well known for his daring design experiments, manipulating space and utilizing technology to the full; they include such projects as ‘Dwellings in Space’ (1942), International Airport (1945) and ‘Hanging Office Building’ (1946), all in Buenos Aires; the latter was conceived as four huge concrete columns with beams and upper arcades from which the floors were hung. His built works include the Concert Hall (1942–53), Buenos Aires, and the House over the Brook (1943–5), constructed for his father in Mar del Plata; with the aim of raising the building off the ground but eliminating columns, the structure was designed like a bridge, supported on a parabolic curve....