The text Arte Cisoria is the leitmotiv of this exhibition and the reference point for the creative proposals of the 58 artists who participate in this project. Arte Cisoria talks us about the art of cutting, trimming, splitting or carving and, at the same time, suggests us the use of tools such as knives, scissors, scalpels or razor blades, beyond the text itself. In the images, each participating artist gives free rein to his or her creativity. We can appreciate different approaches such as humor, critical sense, a heartbreaking tone, social drama or a contemporary look at the concept of cutting.
The sixties of the twentieth century was a crucial moment for the history of the knife making sector in Albacete, since it meant the stage of greater economic development of the sector and, in many cases, the transition from the traditional workshop to the factory. Almost all the important knife firms of that time saw how this transformation happened. However, while new factories were opening, others were disappearing. At the same time, Madrigueras expanded its products with innumerable workshops and reconverted the traditional manufacture of steelyard balances into the knife making.
Under the title "Knives from Albacete, Treasures of three centuries”, the Municipal Museum of Knives offered a temporary exhibition that showed knives, poniards, daggers and push daggers date from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, made by artisans from Albacete. All of them are real treasures that were ceded by different collectors.
With this exhibition, which shows around 250 pieces, ethnological objects and documents, the Municipal Museum of Knives and Cutting Tools wants to pay a well-deserved tribute to all those entities that have collaborated in the formation of the Museum collections and to those people who make it possible with their contributions.
Various backgrounds tell us about the excellence of the swords made in Toledo since ancient times. Those backgrounds date back to the Roman times, but it was during the Muslim time and in the Christian Reconquest when Toledo and its guilds of swords makers played a major role.
We are so familiar with eating utensils - the knife, the fork and the spoon - as with our own hands. But we all know that they have not always been part of our dining table culture. For a long time, until the beginning of the Middle Ages, the fingers were the real utensils to eat, using a spoon as a complement and a "multifunctional" knife. The forks had not yet been introduced into domestic uses.
The knife making industry of Albacete in the twentieth century begins determined by a late industrial development, with craft practices that will reach well into the middle of the century. Similarly, its first third is characterized by the succession of brief periods of relative expansion followed by others of acute crisis. Thus, until reaching the years of the Second Republic and the later Civil War, a stage lived in a particularly significant way in some factories and workshops, as the shortage of metallurgical industries favoured its reconversion in industries for war.
The man used copper and bronze for the elaboration of his weapons and utensils until the Iron Age, when he began to use this metal. The Sharpeners (men who sharpen knives and other tools) and sharpening are as old as the use of metals and are necessary to maintain the tools in the best conditions. Currently, in the process of making a cutting instrument, grinding constitutes the final master touch for that inert piece to take its useful life.
The gaucho, a legendary rider from the Argentine pampas, Uruguayan and southern Brazil, was able to wield from his origins a very particular knife, useful to his needs and distinctive to show it off. Barely a few decades had passed since its eruption in the history of this section of America, when the gaucho prepared to use an original knife in silver and sometimes ornamented with details in gold
The magic of the knife makers from Santa Cruz de Mudela -they are known as “navajeros”- turns the fruit of this hard craft into an artistic work: they know the secrets of the hardening, the forge, the anvil and the grinding wheel; they continue the tradition and turn it into art with the shape of a pocket knife.
The origin of the knives and pocket knives of this region dates back to the middle of the nineteenth century as one more derivation of the activities that at that time were developed in the ironworks.