The village of Tahíche and the César Manrique Foundation in Lanzarote
|Tahíche is a town southeast of the island of Lanzarote. Originally farming village, its proximity to the island’s capital, Arrecife, made - in part - to Tahíche a bedroom community: most of its residents - about 4,000 - are working to Arrecife. However Tahíche is part of the municipality of Teguise. Also on the territory of Tahíche a school of tourism and the penitentiary center of Lanzarote, located in the southeast of the city.|
But Tahíche is fortunately known to be the place where the artist and architect César Manrique built his house, which is now the headquarters of the Foundation César Manrique. In 1992, Manrique was killed in Tahíche in a traffic accident, near its Foundation.
|Home of César Manrique|
|César Manrique returned to live in his native island in 1966, after nearly twenty years in mainland Spain and two years of living in New York, from 1964 to 1966. Walking by car near Tahíche with a family friend, José Ramírez Cerdá (« Pepín » Ramírez), he noticed the green branches of a fig tree sticking out of a black lava field inhospitable and asked the driver to s stop in order to examine the place. Manrique discovered that the fig tree was pushed inside a volcanic cavity formed in the lava by a gas bubble and whose roof had collapsed; he even discovered four other bubbles nearby. This lava field comes from eruptions of the eighteenth century, between 1730 and 1736 fairly remote devices volcanic eruptions of Montañas del Fuego that were born at that time.|
Shortly after, César Manrique told Pepín Ramírez that was he was going to build his house, Pepín Ramírez replied, shaking his head in incomprehension. The owner of the land showed the same lack of understanding as to refuse any payment for the purchase of this inhospitable terrain; he even told César Manrique to take all the land he wanted.
Home of César Manrique was completed in 1968: the artist, whose “creed” was the integration of art in nature (Arte-Naturaleza), had managed to create a harmonious whole uniting smoothly, the lava formations and artificial constructions. César Manrique named his house Taro de Tahíche (Shack Tahíche); a taro is a shepherd’s hut in dry stone.
The five volcanic cavities were connected by tunnels and turned into living rooms, while the surface buildings were inspired by the traditional architecture of Lanzarote, building the cubic forms but with contemporary touches such as large rooms, large windows and terraces.
The walls, whitewashed, contrast dramatically with the dark basaltic lava. This remains extravagant, unique, appeared in almost all architectural magazines and national and international lifestyle.
César Manrique lived in Taro de Tahíche from 1968 to 1988; on that date he moved to Haría in order not to be disturbed in his work by visitors to its Foundation. Home of César Manrique worth a visit regardless of the Foundation Modern art exhibitions.
|The house surface vessels|
|Once through the property entrance gate, the first constructions that the visitor sees on his left are the premises where the resident staff who looked after the house of César Manrique; these buildings are now used as the Foundation’s offices.|
Shortly after entering the property you can see on the left, a large banyan Malaysia (Ficus microcarpa) planted by César Manrique in the early 1980s.
The entrance to the house is via a door surmounted by a magnificent bougainvillea, which opens onto a small courtyard planted with cacti and euphorbias.
|In the courtyard you can see the opening of a volcanic bubbles basement (burbuja blanca) which exceeds the top of a palm tree; we also note there the bones of animals that were discovered in volcanic recesses of the basement at the time of construction. This approach is typical of César Manrique often incorporated in the decoration items discovered on site.|
|Since that court one enters the large living room of the house (No. 1 on the map), among which we note a glass dome that covers the opening of the red volcanic bubble basement (burbuja roja); this dome brought light to a dead tree today. Next to the dome is the spiral staircase that was - at the time - the only way to access cavities underground. This living room is lit by large windows overlooking the lava field. The living room was converted into a room of the private collection of exposure (Colección particular) of César Manrique.|
On the left of the living room was a room (# 2 on the map) is now the showroom “Espacios” where you can see the projects and photographs of some works of art public of César Manrique. From the living room you can access a terrace in front of the living room, which offers a wide view of the lava field where was built the house, and a view down into the jameo where the pool was built.
On the right of the living room was the bedroom of César Manrique (No. 3 on the map) which was converted into sketches the exhibition hall (“Bocetos”) where you can see some of his drawings, notes, sketches for murals, sculptures, ceramics and designs.
The upper level of the house also included a guest room, a kitchen - where is today exposed the graphic work of Manrique - and a bathroom with abundant vegetation.
Since the old bedroom (# 3 on the map) can come out in a courtyard (No. 4 on the map) where a flight of stairs in basaltic rocks leading down to the rooms in converted cavities underground. This ramp has been added during the transformation of the house into a museum to facilitate the movement of visitors.
|The basement of the house|
|The basement of the house consists of five volcanic cavities: four gas bubbles - about 5 meters across - left by the lava and volcanic hose whose roof collapsed (jameo), where today is the swimming pool.|
César Manrique was digging tunnels in the basaltic lava to connect the five cavities. The four bubbles were simply furnished in contemporary style of the late 1960s, with leather seats the color gives name to each of the bubbles; the floor and the walls are whitewashed and form a striking contrast to the dark vaults.
Access to the first volcanic cavity through the ramp and through a tunnel dug into the lava and whitewashed.
|The white bubble (burbuja blanca) (No. 5 on the map) is furnished with white furniture; the center of the room is a palm whose ridge extends outside in the small courtyard at the entrance of the house.|
|White bubble tunnel leads to the red bubble (burbuja roja) (No. 6 on the map), located below the living room. At the center of the room, a dead fig tree protrudes into the living room; it would be the legendary fig tree that César Manrique had noticed in the middle of lava field, and who decided to build his house there. From the living room (No. 1 on the map) allowed a staircase down into the red bubble; this staircase is closed to visitors. Red Bubble served as a clearinghouse to spend residential rooms in the basement.|
|The red bubble communicates with the jameo (No. 7 on the map), where the swimming pool, and with the yellow bubble (burbuja amarilla) (No. 9 on the map). Since the yellow bubble tunnels lead to the black bubble (burbuja negra) (No. 8 on the map) and the former studio of the painter (No. 10 on the map).|
The black bull is a hall supported by four pillars; it also communicates with the pool.
|The swimming pool|
|The pool in the basement of the house was built at the bottom of a jameo, a volcanic lava hose whose ceiling collapsed. This pool, with blue and white colors, prefigures what César Manrique realized to highlight another jameo, the Jameos del Agua, near Haría.|
|The bottom of jameo was planted with lush vegetation, and a relaxation area has been fitted with a small dance floor, an oven and a barbecue.|
|The former studio of the painter|
|Since the yellow bubble (No. 9 on the map) we go to what was the workshop César Manrique (No. 10 on the map). Through a window a lava tongue enters the house to emphasize the integration of the building in nature.|
This space was enlarged at the opening of the Foundation; we can see a permanent exhibition of his paintings (“Collection Manrique”).
|At the exit of the former studio we head towards the exit by a terrace (No. B on the map) and then, after a staircase, another terrace occupied by a landscaped garden by César Manrique in the transformation of the house museum Foundation.|
|On one wall of this garden Manrique realized in 1992, an abstract mosaic made of ceramic tiles separated by volcanic stones.|
|The former garage of the house has been transformed into a cafeteria (C on the map) and shop / bookstore (No. D on the map) where you can buy souvenirs, such as a reproduction of a mobile sculpture of César Manrique, the Toy Wind (Juguete del Viento). Leaving the house one is faced with the original of this mobile sculpture. This sculpture is sometimes replaced by another named “La Energía de la Pirámide” (The Power of the Pyramid).|
Sales of the store such as ticketing revenues are used to fund the arts, culture and environment of the Foundation César Manrique.
|The Foundation César Manrique|
|The Foundation César Manrique is a private cultural foundation nonprofit, founded in 1982 by the artist and a circle of friends; its purpose is to promote an architecture in harmony with the natural environment.|
In 1988 Manrique moved to the north of the island, Haría, in a simple traditional house so you can work without being disturbed by visitors to the Foundation.
From 1988 to 1992 César Manrique oversaw himself transforming his house into a museum of the Foundation. The building structure was preserved in its original state, but to facilitate the movement of visitors, access to the basement was arranged in the form of an outdoor ramp basalt; Workshop César Manrique was enlarged to receive a collection of his works; a terraced garden was created at the workshop of the artist and decorated with a mosaic made by him in late 1991 and early 1992.
In 1992 Manrique donated his home, Taro de Tahíche, the Fundación César Manrique and the museum was officially opened in March 1992; the house became the headquarters of the Foundation. Six months later, in September 1992, the artist died in a traffic accident near the Taro de Tahíche.
The Foundation César Manrique preserves and disseminates the artist’s work and manages other cultural sites created by him, such as the Mirador del Río or the Cueva de los Verdes.
|The Museum of Modern Art Foundation César Manrique|
|The Contemporary Art Museum Foundation César Manrique was officially opened in 1994.|
Outside, before entering the house, one can see two sculptures of César Manrique, a mobile sculpture “Juguete del Viento” (wind-toy) and “El Triunfador” (The Triumphant).
In the former living room (No. 2 on the map) is the private collection of contemporary art, which belonged to César Manrique (“Colección particular”), with - alternately - the works of: Eduardo Chillida, Martín Chinijo, Modest Cuixart, Gerardo Delgado, Francisco Farreras, Pedro Gonzalez, José Guerrero, Joan Miró, Manuel Mompó, Pablo Picasso, Eusebio Sempere, Antoni Tàpies...
|In the old room (# 2 on the map) is the "showroom Espacios”, which shows construction plans for projects of César Manrique, and photographs of some of his public art showing the integration of art in nature.|
In the old bedroom (# 3 on the map), became the showroom “Bocetos” (Sketch), one can see the notes, sketches of wall paintings, drawings, sculptures and ceramics mobile.
Part of the graphic collection, including works by Picasso and Miró, is located next to the entrance, where the kitchen previously was.
In the former studio of the painter presented a wide selection of paintings by César Manrique (“Colección Manrique”) which shows the stylistic evolution of César Manrique, since his first classical work naturalist to his abstract work.
|Finally in the garden terrace, which is located just before the exit, you can see a giant fresco by Manrique, in 1991 and 1992, using the volcanic rock and ceramic tiles.|
Near the cafeteria and the shop is facing a painting of the body of a Seat Ibiza; this painting was commissioned for the Barcelona Motor Show in 1987.
|César Manrique was born in 1919 in Arrecife in a middle class family and grew up in the old town, around the Charco de San Ginés, later, it will help to rehabilitate. He spends his summer vacation in the north of the island, La Caleta de Famara, a place that has probably inspired his love for the natural heritage of Lanzarote.|
At the age of 18, in 1937, César Manrique enlisted as a volunteer in the nationalist camp during the Spanish civil war that raged for a year. He served first in the artillery corps of Ceuta and fought on different fronts in the Iberian Peninsula.
After the Civil War he began studying architecture at the University of San Cristóbal de La Laguna in Tenerife. After two years, in 1942, he held his first solo exhibition in Arrecife and left the Canary Islands to enter the School of Fine Arts of San Fernando (Escuela Superior de Bellas Artes de San Fernando) in Madrid, thanks to a fellowship of the Captaincy General of the Canary islands. César Manrique was granted in 1945, graduated professor of drawing and painting.
From 1945 to 1964 César Manrique lives in Madrid. In 1950 he created murals for the Parador de Turismo de Arrecife. Then, in early 1950, he made a stay of several months in Paris where he was influenced by Jean Dubuffet and informalist movement. In 1953, he made a first non-figurative mural for the airport Guacimeta to Arrecife. In 1954 he participated in the creation of the first non-figurative art gallery of Spain, the Galería Fernando Fé, where he made his first abstract art exhibit. He took part in numerous exhibitions in Europe and Latin America. In 1964 he exhibited at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, then lived in the US until 1966.
In 1966 César Manrique returned to live on his home island of Lanzarote - where tourism development has already begun - with the idea of controlling this development to safeguard the natural and cultural heritage of the island. He is supported in this project by the president of the Cabildo Insular de Lanzarote from 1960 to 1974, José Ramírez Cerdá (« Pepín » Ramírez), who is a friend of his family. The draft Manrique plans to allow only the traditional style and colors of the buildings of Lanzarote, to waive buildings over two floors and even delete all the advertising boards on roadsides. César Manrique paces himself Island to convince people to join the architectural style of Lanzarote, showing photographs of hideous tourist constructions in other islands of the archipelago. His slogan is: “Not here! ”.
While building his house in Tahíche, César Manrique embarked on the realization of public art:
- in 1968, its first achievement is the Monument to the peasant Lanzarote (Monumento al Campesino Lanzaroteño), symbolically located near the geographic center of the island.
- in 1969, he designed the theme park Lago Martiánez in Puerto de la Cruz on the north coast of the island of Tenerife, which has saltwater swimming pools.
- in 1973, he began with the architect Fernando Higueras, the Mirador del Río, a lookout on the cliffs of Famara.
- that same year, 1973, César Manrique starts Spatial Jardín de Cactus in Guatiza, which will be inaugurated in 1990.
- in 1974, he created in Arrecife the cultural center El Almacén where young artists can exhibit their works.
- in 1974, he designed the restaurant El Diablo in the heart of the National Park Timanfaya and the emblem of the national park.
- in 1976 is inaugurated the Museo Internacional de Arte Contemporaneo, located in the Castillo de San José in Arrecife, designed in 1968 by Manrique.
- in 1977, inaugurated the website of Jameos del Agua.
In 1988, César Manrique left his house Taro de Tahíche and moved to Haría in a farmhouse restored by him. From 1988 to 1992 he transformed his former residence into a museum for the foundation he created in 1982.
César Manrique died tragically at the age of 72, September 25, 1992, following a traffic accident: his Jaguar hit an all-terrain vehicle, at the crossroads located close to its Foundation, which he denounced crossroads repeatedly dangerousness. Transported to hospital Arrecife, César Manrique died at 15 h 20 of cardiac arrest. César Manrique was buried in the cemetery of Haría. This intersection was converted to the roundabout; the center of the roundabout is one of the last works of Manrique, a mobile stainless steel sculpture from 1992, from the series of Juguetes del Viento.
Because César Manrique had made many enemies fighting against real estate speculation, rumors ran that his death was not accidental. After his death many exemptions to construction prohibitions and rules of construction could be observed, particularly in Playa Blanca, often involving corruption of public authorities. Nevertheless the influence of the artist is clearly visible when visiting Lanzarote: the traditional architectural style of the houses whitewashed with green doors and shutters on the windows remains the norm.
|Line No. 7 of Arrecife in Maguez via Teguise (7 trips a day), the bus line No. 9 Arrecife to Órzola, line 10 of Arrecife in Los Valles, line No. 26 of Arrecife in Yé, line No. 52 of La Santa in Los Valles, line No. 53 of La Santa in Teguise have four stops Tahíche, including one at the crossroads César Manrique.|
Detailed schedule at: www.arrecifebus.com
|Tahíche is located 8 km north of Arrecife, 8 km south of Teguise, 9 km west of Costa Teguise and 10 km east of San Bartolomé.|
Foundation César Manrique (Fundación César Manrique)
Address: Casa Taro de Tahíche (“Tahíche shepherd’s hut”), Calle Jorge Luis Borges, 10; 1 km before Tahíche coming from Arrecife.
From the bus stop intersection César Manrique - where the artist was killed - (Highway intersection LZ-1 and LZ-34 highway), very recognizable by the large mobile sculpture in stainless steel Series Juguetes del Viento, in the center of the roundabout, take the LZ-34 towards San Bartolomé; after 200 m you arrive at the Foundation César Manrique.
Summer hours (July 1 to October 31): every day, including holidays, from 10 am to 19 pm.
Winter hours (from November 1 to June 30): Monday to Saturday, 10 am to 18 pm; Sunday, 10 am to 15 pm; closed January 1.
Admission: adults € 8; free for children under 12 years. Group rates available.
Phone: 00 34 928 843 138
Site on the Web: www.fcmanrique.org
|Restaurant Los Aljibes de Tahíche|
|Los Aljibes de Tahíche is a restaurant and an art gallery designed in 1976 by César Manrique with the architect Fernando Higueras. The place was then filled by rain water tanks (aljibes) abandoned. The style of Manrique is very recognizable in the architecture of the place built inside the volcanic stone walls of the old tanks. |
After a long period of closure, the cultural space was reopened in 2005; we can see temporary exhibitions. The restaurant was taken over in 2012 by two young Argentines: there serves Canarian cuisine and Argentinean cuisine, including meats (steaks, goat, rabbit ...) and grilled fish or cooked in a stone oven, accompanied vegetable products on the island. The restaurant also offers quiches, artisan cheeses, fresh bread baked on site and a craft beer. The restaurant also has a large terrace with tables and rustic wooden benches and a cactus garden.
The restaurant Los Aljibes de Tahíche is on the LZ-34 road towards Costa Teguise, 600m from the roundabout César Manrique where stands a giant mobile sculpture; the restaurant is on the right road.
Address: Calle Bravo Murillo, 6
Phone: 00 34 650 424 385
Hours: Every day except Thursday, from 12 am to 22 pm 30 30.