In 2017, when he was about 83, he visited this space to explain his puzzle designs about old buildings and others based on works by Mexican artists; now, for the first time, he reproduced a gigantic mural. The idea was born while watching and listening to a South American doctor, 19 years older than him, who had finished his master’s degree.
Over a decade, Moisés Jaime Toporek Bornstein, of Polish parents, has designed more than 100 puzzles, all related to historical sites and paintings; But this time, during his confinement due to the pandemic, he set himself the task of making a scale reconstruction of the murals that dress the Central Library of Ciudad Universitaria.
This man, who in the fifties studied night high school in San Ildefonso and continued at the Faculty of Chemical Sciences of the UNAM, says that he will present his project to the rector Enrique Graue.
It is a “very important” work by the architect Juan O’Gorman, says Toporek, as it tells “a good part of the history of Mexico.”
It is common for their works to be designed in flat formats; Now, for the first time, it is presented in a single piece lined on all four sides, simulating the Central Library of UNAM – inaugurated in 1956 – “pride of what is architecture and Mexican art.”
The four facades represent different periods in the history of Mexico, such as the pre-Hispanic and colonial past, the contemporary world, UNAM itself, and Mexico today.
“What I tried to do, and I think it has been achieved with good success, is that the four murals that line the library, once the puzzle is finished, can be pasted on the packing box and the building is fully reproduced” , details Toporek.
“Have you made contact with the rector?”
—I sent you a report where I ask you to receive me because I consider that the work is from UNAM, where I studied; I was almost a contemporary of that famous Goyo Cárdenas, who killed a few girls, near the Faculty, in the town of Tacuba —he refers, to give an idea of the time.
Moisés Jaime Toporek Bornstein, 86, does not wear glasses and moves fast while dodging pieces of concrete on Balderas Avenue; She lives in the south of the city, where she has been making puzzles for more than ten years, after observing that a diplomat arrived at her daughter’s store to buy a puzzle from the Chichén Itzá pyramid. They told him there was none and he left somewhat disappointed, while an idea was born in Don Jaime.
Lucid, he never tires of producing; On the contrary, he says, “I do it with great enthusiasm, with the same passion for Mexican art, which I appreciate so much”.
—He says that his first works are …
—The Chichen one, the Palenque one, the Observatory, the Aztec Calendar. From there I continued with works by Diego Rivera, the master Siqueiros, in short, the great Mexican artists …
“You are passionate.”
“Yes, totally, of Mexican art.”
“What keeps it that way?”
—The love of what I do and what I have: a very beautiful family of four children, ten grandchildren and thirteen great-grandchildren, shared with my 84-year-old wife, who we receive from them the same as we give.
“That maintains it.”
—It gives me encouragement, it gives me satisfaction, apart from the fact that it allows me to live off them, but above all that I have had contact with clients, both in exhibitions and in participations; I feel that what they appreciate about me is the work that I also enjoy a lot.
It is normal for puzzles to be delivered with the pieces loose; this time, as they are murals on four facades of the building, which measures 4000 square meters, they are presented in a box.
The project, developed during “a good part of retirement at home,” explains Toporeck, came about after watching on television the case of a 104-year-old Colombian engineer who had completed his master’s degree.
It was about Lucio Chiquito, who, according to journalistic notes, finished his doctoral thesis in the midst of the pandemic, “a case that has been a symbol of admiration for the long-lived student who did his research for the University of Manchester, England, the which, in addition, found a mathematical solution that he had sought for 30 years ”.
“I am 104 and a half years old,” Chiquito told RCN. “My thesis consists of determining the maximum amount of water that can be economically withdrawn from a river for energy or for anything else. I studied 73 years ago at the University Manchester “.
That was the impetus for Moisés Jaime Toporek Bornstein, 86, to carry out his new project.
“One hundred and four years!”, Exclaims who long ago was president of the National Chamber of the Footwear Industry.
“I made the Wilson brand, together with a brother, for several years; then I dedicated myself to other industries; I even had a large lithographic company, where we made cardboard packaging ”.
—From there his hobby was born …
—I was always fond of works of art; fan of Mexican art; For me, what we have in Mexico is something wonderful.
When he retired from the shoe factory ten years ago, his sons asked him to stop doing anything, but he helped their daughter start an educational toy business.
That’s when he met the French diplomat who came looking for a Chichén Itzá puzzle and they had nothing like it.
“And what did he tell you?”
– “How sad that you Mexicans neither know nor want nor understand the culture that you inherited.”
And that spurred him on.
Humberto Ríos Navarrete