Tomás Maldonado

  • Born 1922 in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Artist, industrial designer, and semiologist Tomás Maldonado attended the Academia Nacional de Bellas Artes (National Academy of Fine Arts) in Buenos Aires. In 1944 he co-founded the Asociación Arte Concreto-Invención. The group’s Manifesto Invencionista (1946), co-written by Maldonado, elaborates his theory supporting rationality and objectivity over expressionism. Maldonado’s early paintings were characterized by geometric abstraction that played with visual perception. On the invitation of Swiss Concrete artist Max Bill, in 1954 Maldonado accepted a teaching position at the Hochschule für Gestaltung (College of Design) in Ulm, Germany, where he remained until 1967, eventually becoming its director. Maldonado moved the legendary institution away from its Bauhaus principles, pioneering a streamlined approach for mass-production design that is echoed in today’s technological products. Maldonado moved to Italy in 1967, where he achieved renown for his collaborations with Ettore Sottsass for Olivetti, and for his corporate design work for the Gruppo Rinascente. His landmark text, written in 1970, La speranza progettuale, was translated into English in 1972 as Design, Nature, and Revolution: Toward a Critical Ecology. Maldonado urged designers to think about the problems of environmental destruction and social transformation in their work. He is professor of environmental design at the Polytechnic University of Milan.

Artworks by Tomás Maldonado in the exhibition