Trip to the center of the Machado | Culture

Trip to the center of the Machado | Culture

I was already walking around Antonio Machado by fields of Castilla when in Seville, his hometown, there was an urban metamorphosis to receive the great Ibero-American Exhibition of 1929. A new enlargement towards the South of the city that would return to the capital the splendor lost after its decadence in the commerce with the Indies and that is today scene of the awaited return of Manuel and Antonio Machado to Seville. A colonial farm located in the vast palm grove where the specters of the Montpensier, Alfonso XIII and its domesticated dictator Primo de Rivera still pass, will be from this Friday – when it opens to the public – the new cultural center that the Unicaja Foundation has renovated to house his impressive collection of Machadian documents.

Three plants dedicated to a permanent exhibition of objects, manuscripts, letters, photographs and audiovisual rooms gather the largest collection on the Machado family that, in addition to its academic significance for researchers and scholars of its work, is crossed by a deep symbolic value and sentimental. Going into this historic building means, in this respect, to cross the threshold of public projection of the two Machado brothers to penetrate the unavoidable intimacy of their bedrooms. Legajos crossed out again and again, delicious verses written to flickering without the intention of being shaped for posterity, caricatures and small drawings sketched in the amber margins of leaves torn up for history grant a new dimension to the known and studied until now on these two icons of twentieth century Spanish culture. "Antonio was always obsessed with correction, crossed out and corrected continuously", explains the writer Antonio Rodríguez Almodóvar, curator of the exhibition together with professor Rafael Alarcón and documentary filmmaker Carmen Molina. "Walking through all these manuscripts is an authentic revelation, it is a real feast for a philologist, a map that guides you through the life and work of the two brothers," continues Almodóvar, who has identified up to ten versions, "with variants of all kinds ", from texts such as those known Poem of a day.

The iconic cane on which Don Antonio endured the sorrow of its end also stands majestically at the entrance of the exhibition. Photographed innumerable times – the most famous, in the portrait he made Alfonso Sánchez Portela and that today it is safeguarded in the Reina Sofia Museum of Madrid-, was rescued by his brother Manuel when his brother and his mother arrived at Collioure, where he was brought to Madrid to be kept by the family. And so it continues, until you come across the first letter that Antonio Machado writes to his father -Antonio Machado Álvarez Demofilo- in 1892, and that constitutes the first written document known to the poet. It also repairs the show in several unpublished plays to date, signed in tandem by the two brothers, and that are in different degree of development, to which a full room is dedicated: The Goddess Reason, The afternoons of the Moncloa, The witches of D. Francisco, Adriana Lecouvreur Y Candelas (Theatrical or cinematographic script written by Manuel Machado about the famous bandit).

An unpublished caricature of Manuel Machado signed by Felipe Fresno in 1926 – where he portrays him as a "jaranero" type -, a newspaper card Freedom, for which Manuel worked, or the condolences sent by the Hispanic Society of America after the death of Antonio are other of the exceptional documents that are shown of the Sevillians. A family corner has also been reserved for the display of photographs and cross letters between the family. There stands out a missive signed by the unknown figure of Leonor, who directs his father-in-law. "It is an originally private writing, a kind of literary workshop," specifies Professor Rafael Alarcón, so the documents appear many undated, which has made the cataloging of the legacy in a "chaos rigorous," Rodriguez joked Almodóvar

Exhibition 'The Machado return to Seville'.
Exhibition 'The Machado return to Seville'.

The first permanent exhibition around the figure of Manuel and Antonio Machado gathers, nevertheless, barely 10% (around 500 pieces) of the total set purchased by the Unicaja Foundation. In 2003, the bank bought a first batch of 770 documentary copies that were presented the following year in the Reales Alcázares de Sevilla and published between 2005 and 2006 in 10 volumes of facsimiles and annotated transcriptions. In 2018, the Unicaja Foundation acquired the rest of the Machadian file that the family had. It is a set of 4,570 pages, to which are added photographs and civil documents of which this exhibition offers a careful selection for its first exhibition to the public.

The presentation ceremony of what aspires to be "the reference space of the Machadian work" was presided over Tuesday by the president of the Unicaja Foundation, Braulio Medel; as well as by the heirs of Machado who have participated in this operation: Carlos and Mercedes De Lecea Machado and Antonio Álvarez Machado. "It is an exhibition of the highest intensity," said niece-granddaughter Mercedes, for whom this space "is a fair recognition of his career and the Spaniards who, due to avatars of life, had to end their lives in other places."

"It is not about collecting manuscripts and works of the past and exposing them as archaeological pieces, but looking towards the future", Antonio Álvarez has indicated in line with Braulio Medel, who has warned that this new cultural center is born "with open arms to other institutions that pursue similar ends, we will never have an excluding character, but rather cooperation. "

Finally, Rodríguez Almodóvar did not want to miss the opportunity to print the new Machadian center a brushstroke of civic and political vocation that always guided the future of the Machado brothers: "Taking into account the historical and political context in which we are right now , this exhibition is an invitation to concord, the Machado brothers would have merged in an embrace in Seville for the concord, which is so lacking, we are in a moment of great transcendence to transmit that message of final reconciliation of those two cursed Spains that they took us to what they took us, "he said.

What to do with the poet's remains?

When they turn 80 years old the death of Antonio Machado in the French town of Collioure, the opening of the new center of the Unicaja Foundation for Machadian studies has stoked the debate about the possible return to Spain of the poet's remains. When asked by journalists, it has been evidenced that "the opinion of the family is not unanimous", as Carlos De Lecea has confessed.

In this regard, the first to position himself has been Antonio Álvarez, cousin of the previous one, for whom "about fifteen days before his death, Antonio Machado already knew that he was touched and that death was close to him. He was in Collioure with him, and because of what the family has always moved us, Machado wanted to return to Spain, one thing is exile and another is the emigrant, Machado was an exile and, as such, he wanted to return to Spain. " However, he acknowledges that "this is an issue that transcends our desire and our will, but there should be a large majority of Spaniards who propose it and study it, we would like it, but we must see the opportunity," he said.

On the other hand, Mercedes De Lecea assures that although "there are arguments in both senses, it is true that history has contributed to creating that a symbol of our history, of what happened, and that makes us think that it is right where it is. that has come to represent that Antonio Machado is buried in Collioure makes it an icon of our memory. "


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