Mujer del Almanzora
A technical challenge for a brilliant project
It is the biggest monumental urban sculpture of the famous Spanish painter and sculptor, Antonio López.
In the middle way of the Spanish southern regions of Granada and Murcia and right in the hearth of the Almería’s marble region, the sculpture Mujer del Almanzora was installed in September 2019 and it represents a gorgeous example of the Spanish Realism. The enormous head of a woman of the recognized painter and sculptor, Antonio López, grows up from the Earth and look at the sun. Made of Blanco Macael marble, with 8 meters high and 230 tons of weigh, it is the biggest marble sculpture in Spain. It means a fertility symbol for the artist and, as it has been thought, exclusively, for the region of Almería, it is also an allegory of this area where natural stone is the main source of development.
The sculpture, inspired in the Greek art, has an ancient soul and, at the same time, it represents the modern times dominated by technology and innovation. Its manufacturing process in marble, was carried out by CNC (computer numerical control) from a scanned original model in bronze, and it lasted five months, a record time taking into account the work difficulty that led to important technical work, both in structural design and installation.
In total, eighty-six blocks of Blanco Macael marble make up the sculpture, all of them, extracted from the quarries of Cosentino multinational company and carved in Cuéllar Arquitectura del Mármol, natural stone producer and supplier company. The artist, Antonio López, selected them personally. The blocks of 6.5 tons each, hang from a metallic structure composed of a scheme of double-layered rings and meshes between them, on which the elements capable of supporting them were designed. This metallic structure is maintained on the floor of a basement, from where a steel log that goes outside without touching the edges of the hole through which it passes, emerges. This architectural solution is a seismic damper design.
The next step was designing the anchoring system of each block, with the difficulty that some would be hung and others, fixed laterally and cantilevered. In addition to the carved outer surface, the blocks were lightened internally to generate a vacuum that perfectly fits the metal structure. Each piece was, individually, a sculpture by itself so, consequently, the machine was working for four days without interruption in some cases.
The last part of the work process was, firstly, the assembly of all the metal structure modules and, secondly, the installation of the marble blocks in their correct place. The blocks placement had to follow a pre-established order to prevent unexpected deformations in the structure.
The Mujer del Almanzora is located in front of the Ibáñez Museum in the town of Olula del Río, Almería, Spain, and it is managed by the Ibáñez-Cosentino Art Foundation. It is visitable inside and houses an underground exhibition room where discovering a production process presentation.
The creation that is part of a trilogy of the artist, plays already a symbol for the marble region and it’s an example of the Macael Brand’s productive capacity. The altruistic collaboration between professionals and companies like Cosentino, Cuéllar, the architect Ángel Ibáñez, the engineer Mitxel Zubillaga and the sculptor Antonio López, have been made it possible.
Read more about natural stone projects in our magazine: ‘Mármol / Architecture & Design’.