February 11, 2010

Máximo Rojo, El jardin escultórico universal/The universal sculpture garden


 colored pictures (2010) 
courtesy of Amis Insolites

Alcolea del Pinar is a small community in the district of Guadalajara in Spain.

Life and works

Màximo Rojo (1912-2006), who came to live here in the early 1940's, led a simple, industrious life as a farmer. When still a young boy his father died and Máximo wouldn't enjoy any schooling since he had to work to earn an income for the family.

It was only when he had to enter military service that he got the opportunity to learn to read and write, practicing his reading by using encyclopedias.

After military service Rojo became a farmer. During all the years he worked as such he didn't show any interest in art or in making creative constructions. However, once retired from work in 1979, at the age of 67, he began making sculptures from concrete by applying a layer of cement to an iron model.

For some twenty years Rojo has been passionately active in creating sculptures and his Jardin Escultórico would ultimately include some 300 sculptures, all gathered in the rather limited area of the site.


The sculptures depict persons and scenes which represent biblical events, stories about important personalities and about happenings in the history of Spain and the world, all together forming a scenic view of popular knowledge, as if Rojo was driven by the need to share with his fellow compatriots the knowledge he had gained by reading encyclopedias when in the military.

B/W pictures are screenshots 
from the 2004 Moriente/Neirak movie

The garden could be visited and attracted a lot of visitors during the years.


Actual situation

After Rojo died in 2006, for some time the garden still could be visited, as the colored pictures (taken in 2010) show. In later years the site has been closed.

The local authorities have developed plans to assure the future of the site, seeking financial support from the province to realise these plans. but the economic crisis prevents the allocation of public funds. The sculptures are in danger of detoriating.

As shown on the video made by Serflac in 2015 (see documentation) the garden is still extant, but it is poorly maintained.

Documentation
* The site has been described in Escultecturas margivagantes: la arquitectura fantástica en España, Juan Antonio Ramirez, red (2006).
* El jardin imaginario, movie (2012) by Guillermo G. Peydró (Vimeo, 50'31"), french spoken, subtitles in spanish; this video has fragments of a film by David Moriente and Jazmín Beirak, shot in 2004, showing Máximo Rojo who presents the sculptures


* The website of the community council of Alcoleo del Pinar refers to the site (click on lugares de interés, left under), locally named Museo del Cemento, but it does not mention if and by whom it is cared for.
* Article and pictures by Jo Farb Hernandez (added autumn 2013) on SPACES website. The site is also described and documented in Jo Farb Hernandez, Singular Spaces, 2013,
* Video by Serflac (5'32", Youtube, uploaded september 15, 2015)


first published feb 2010, revised aug 2012, nov/dec 2013, sep 2015

Maximo Rojo
El jardin escultórico universal
Camino de San Roque 18
Alcolea del Pinar, Guadaljara, Castilla-La Mancha, ES

site is closed, sculptures are slowly detoriating

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