Rome had a profound impact on Rafael Alberti's life and artistic output. Maria Teresa Leon and Maria Teresa Leon spent 14 years in exile in Rome until they were finally able to return home to Spain in 1977, following the fall of dictator Francisco Franco, and the restoration and preservation of democracy. The 120th anniversary of Cadiz's birth is being celebrated by the Cervantes Institute, Royal Academy of Spain, and a special installation was inaugurated this Thursday by Clara Montoya, and Miki Leal, who were sculptors. It is situated in the iconic staircase connecting the Academy to Trastevere, the traditional neighborhood where Leon and Alberti lived, which is also the location of the work.
"In Rome, Maria Teresa wrote her wonderful book, 'Memoria de la melancolia,' while Rafael also did some important works like 'Roma danger to walkers'," Luis Garcia Montero (director of Cervantes Institute), explained to this newspaper. Alberti was the one he dedicated his doctoral thesis. They remained close friends. >.
Garcia Montero believes that Spain has paid Leon a large debt with this artistic installation. >. Clara Montoya's and Miki Leal's artistic installation are located at the Academy's foot. This is another vindication of Leon and Alberti who, although they were living in Rome, were not permitted to visit the body that awards scholarships to young Spanish artists. The director of Cervantes Institute said that they could not allow them in because of Franco's regime. She also stressed the importance of remembering Leon's light, who was always under the shadow of her husband. According to her, "Memoria de la melancolia" is "the greatest memoir of Spanish exile."
Clara Montoya proposed an installation that consists of a type of desk made from wood and marble. It allows anyone to sit down and enjoy the magnificent views of The Eternal City. The work is called 'Estudio 31' and it pretends to metaphorically offer Alberti’s wife a workspace at the Academy as "she would deserve". According to Montoya, "It's a tribute to her persistence, which also creates an inviting space for those who can't enter the institutions today>>."