In the first course of architecture of the ETSAM, which for me was of 1977-78, there was a subject (for damned me) that was called “Analysis of Forms”, and whose professor was Javier Seguí. (Another professor of the subject – I believe that it came a little later, but I it do not remember good – she was Helena Iglesias, who was focusing it in a totally different way and it was required skills and aptitudes practically opposite to for those that the first chair was asking: This is one more sign of the own schizophrenia of this damned career that so much we love, but this will be a topic of another entry. Today it does not touch).
Javier Seguí and his teachers surely would have been excellent in the last courses of career or at the doctorate (someone of them gives now courses of doctorate and, for what they tell me, it is very good), but in the first course they were simply terrifying. I was seventeen years old. It was not sillier of the normal thing, nor any more espabilado. He did not understand anything. He had believed groundlessly during the baccalaureate that it could draw (at least I liked much and was applying myself enough), but here it was completely lost. In the college it was drawing laminitas A4 on the desk, and here it was necessary to draw in A1, in trestle. In the college it was drawing with the hand and the wrist, and here it was necessary to draw with the entire, and enclosed arm with the back, with the hips, with everything. The gesture was important to confront drawings in a format for so big and overflowing me, at which it had never been employed and at the one that was getting lost.
But the teachers, instead of helping with technical advices or with the example (sigh, the example), were giving up theirs theoretical and philosophical speeches on the form, the expression, the mission of the representation, the evocation, etc.
I was feeling very distressed.
The course was beginning with topics of free expression, abstract spots, masses of color, etc. All this, as I say, loaded with deep ideological – theoretical absolutely indigestible content.
Every day was a new fright. Once they brought a few hens in cages that they distributed for the soil of the classroom.
They opened the cages and gave up the hens. Pull! To drawing!
I remember specially the quantity of excrements that were giving up. Surely they were stressed. I do not know it. (I yes that was put stress and excrementicio).
The case is that, since I could, I them tried to draw. I still had a few insipid, rigid enough, awkward lines.
For limit the teachers were saying to us that we did not have to draw the hens, but his spirit.
Eh? What age it of the spirit of the hens?
-Do not draw his exterior form, his mere appearance. Go beyond. Penetrate in them. Catch his spirit.
Shit of hen! Was it it? Was it this his spirit?
They wanted to say to us (I believe; still I am not sure) that we were not drawing the hens academician and mellifluously, but we were trying to catch his structure, his movement, anything that they were suggesting us… I what I know.
They wanted that before the visual stimulus provoked by a hen we were forming a few spots that were the hen. Ah, clear, very simple.
It was treating itself, I suppose or feel, of drawing the hens strongly and with expression. Ah, and fantasticly well. If you were drawing of marvel you were approved. (The knack was consisting of not finishing the drawings, but of making them like got out of focus, moved. It was importing the stamp of the hen on the paper, not a re-licked drawing. We go, I believe it).
We, since we did not understand anything, were planning horizontal lines on the paper, were doing curves very gestuales (preferably with a spatula daubed in témpera), and were trying to construct an incoherent and empty speech on something of what we did not have the most minimal notion.
The teachers were so incomprehensible in his praises as in his insults. Sometimes it seemed (only it seemed) that the drawings of a companion were ensalzando, and, since we saw in them not specially at all not even any clear motive of plaudit, we did not even have neither any reference, or criterion, or anything, were remaining with the leaves of the radish: “Look, it looks: It draws in gray paper, and not in white paper as us”. “Charcoal and bar uses was counted by me”. “It does very long outlines”. Etc. We were trying to make it same, but they were putting us to broth. Nothing.
Another day rocker came a group and touched in class. It was necessary to paint the music. I remember that I did an a bit psychodelic drawing that was showing as two cataracts of outlines of colors, and the teachers liked it.
Another week had to paint the fear. We were not centring and the teachers were encouraging us to be frightened and to form it. I fear yes that was feeling, naturally, but did not know how to lead it towards the paper. For sticking to something already experienced, I returned to paint a thing very similar to both cataracts of colors that they had liked, but now they were considered to be a shit. Go for God!
They were very bad months.
Past this first quarter of madness and distress had to draw “indeed”. We start doing “environments”; it is to say: the interior of the own classroom, with us themselves drawing in her. Ah, friends, there you was going away the perspective for less nothing, and those who were drawing indeed were escaping clearly of the squad. There there started remaining clear the one who knew and whom not.
Then it had to do statue, and later, finally, I undress.
I remember perfectly a red-haired companion who was drawing as the angels. I saw him to do with pastry the abdominal ones of one Plough that it was like to die of well that was. The same red-haired one drew some weeks later one of the models, who was a bit rather fat and morcillón, and it seemed that his drawing was weighing and everything. The teachers were praising him. Now yes that we understood the praises.
So it was it. So mother was necessary to draw of prostitute. We were finishing.
To paint the spirit of the hens, a music to paint rock, to paint the fear, the hunger, the dream … foolishness. All that was a warming finger to end up by painting a few statues of scandal and a few girls of heart attack.
I suspended, naturally.
In the summer and in the following course I registered in an academy in which they taught me to draw. Hours and hours of doing hand. It was quite. To learn to draw as God, and nothing more. (Jejeje: Nothing more).
This it was the real spirit of the hens. Whenever I see to drawing or painting someone fantasticly well I say it to me itself:
“This kid has caught the spirit of the hens”.
José Ramón Hernández Correa · Doctor Architect
Toledo · october 2013
Dedicated to my ” virtual friends ” of twitter Laureano Albaladejo (@LaureanoArqui), Cristina Barrón (@CristinArquitec) and Stepien and Barnó (@stepienybarno), that asked me to explain with more details it of the spirit of the hens.
PD.- Many years later, already architect, and even already doctor – newly conferred a doctor’s degree – I had a mystical experience that returned to join my teachers, friends and companions of the school of architecture with the real spirit of the hens. So that we might say that my step along the school of architecture of Madrid began and ended with spirits gallináceos. But the episode of my farewell gallinácea of the school yes that I have to prepare calmly (and to look for documentation) to try to count it. To seeing if I can do it in a few days.
Nací en 1960. Arquitecto por la ETSAM, 1985. Doctor Arquitecto por la Universidad Politécnica, 1992. Soy, en el buen sentido de la palabra, bueno. Ahora estoy algo cansado, pero sigo atento y curioso.