Abstraction in Action Danilo Dueñas, Magdalena Fernández, Jaime Gili, Osvaldo Romberg, Gabriel Sierra, Adán Vallecillo: Impulse, Reason, Sense, Conflict https://abstractioninaction.com/happenings/danilo-duenas-magdalena-fernandez-jaime-gili-osvaldo-romberg-gabriel-sierra-adan-vallecillo-impulse-reason-sense-conflict/

Screenshot 2014-11-21 16.27.15

Artists: Aitken, Francis Alÿs, Miguel Amat, Stanley Brouwn, James Brown, Ryan Brown, Carlos Bunga, Daniel Buren, Sergio Camargo, Mario Carreño, Natalia Castañeda, Carla Chaim, Lygia Clark, Dadamaino, Sandu Darié, Willys De Castro, Iran do, Leonardo Drew, Danilo Dueñas, Eugenio Espinoza, Qin Feng, José Gabriel Fernández, Magdalena Fernández, Fernanda Fragateiro, Mario Garcia Torres, Theaster Gates, Gego, Gunther Gerszo, Jaime Gili, Fernanda Gomes, Alberto Greco, Sara Grilo, Arturo Herrera, Karl Hugo Schmolz, Alfred Jensen, Donald Judd, William Kentridge, Jannis Kounellis, Liz Larner, Jac Leirner, Sol Lewitt, Guido Llinas, Anna Maria Maiolino, Raul Martinez, Sarah Morris, Helio Oiticica, Gabriel Orozco, Alejandro Otero, Claudio Perna, Liliana Porter, Carlos Puche, Eduardo Ramirez Villamizar, Dorothea Rockburne, Carlos Rojas, Osvaldo Romberg, Ana Sacerdote, Espirito Santo, Mira Schendel, Harald Schmitz Schmelzer, Gunter Schroeder, Gabriel Sierra, Lolo Soldevilla, Jesús Soto, Eduardo Terrazas, Erwin Thorn, Fred Tomaselli, Richard Tuttle, Adan Vallecillo, Adrián Villar Rojas, Alfred Wenemoser, Pae White.

Impulse, Reason, Sense, Conflict -Abstract Art from the Ella Fontanals-Cisneros Collection
December 3, 2014 – March 8, 2015
CIFO Art Space
Miami, FL, USA

The exhibition includes 105 pieces by 72 artists from different generations and latitudes, who share their interpretations and philosophies of abstraction. The exhibition was organized by CIFO.

Impulse, Reason, Sense, Conflict explores abstraction as an aesthetic category instead of as a movement or art trend.  Since its inception abstraction has provided a series of models that remain paradigmatic and exemplary  in today’s art production. The exhibition is divided in four areas:

Abstract Impulses dedicated to the rupture with mimetic representation and its concomitant representational crisis with the subsequence substitution of the represented object by the structural elements of painting itself (color, line, etc.) On this section the artists represented will include Mario Garcia Torres, Theaster Gates, Andreas Gursky, Anna Maria Maiolino, Sarah Morris, Reinhard Mucha, Helio Oiticica, Liliana Porter, Karl Hugo Schmolz, Fred Tomaselli, Adrián Villar Rojas, and Pae White among others.

Laboratory of Reason refers to the questioning of the nature, essence and even the existence of art implied in abstration. Instead of asking “what is beauty?,” this section questions art’s existence to the extreme of declaring it dead. Artists included on this section are Doug  Aitken, Lygia Clark, Dadamaino, Olafur Eliasson, Fernanda Fragateiro, Fernanda Gomes, Arturo Herrera, Donald Judd, William Kentridge, Liz Larner, Jac Leirner, Gabriel Orozco, Osvaldo Romberg, Gabriel  Sierra, and Alfred Wenemoser among others.

Uncommon Senses relates to the integration and crossover of other art forms. With the introduction of different materials, media and art forms such as theater, music, dance and literature, abstraction demanded an approach that required the use of multiple senses, both from its makers but also art’s viewers. Francis Alÿs, Stanley Brouwn, Sergio Camargo, Willys De Castro, Qin Feng, Gego, Alberto Greco, Jannis Kounellis, Sol Lewitt, Dorothea Rockburne, Mira Schendel, Erwin Thorn, and Richard Tuttle are some of the artists in this section.

Spatial Conflicts touches on abstraction as a radical change in the conception of spatiality that substituted the Rennaisance perspectival notion of space. Abstract art promotes a real experience. In this section, we showcase Antonio Asis, Carlos Bunga, Daniel Buren, Mario Carreño, Iran do, Espirito Santo, Eugenio Espinoza, Sarah Grilo, Gunther Gerszo, Alfred Jensen, Alejandro Otero, Jesús Soto, Eduardo Terrazas, and Erwin Thorn among others.

Image: Miguel Amat, Series: Capitalismo y Vanguardia, 2006-2010. Photo by Oriol Tarridas.
December 1, 2014 Emilia Azcarate, Sigfredo Chacón, Emilio Chapela, Eduardo Costa, Diana de Solares, Marcolina Dipierro, Jaime Gili, Juan Iribarren, Bárbara Kaplan, Luis Roldan, Osvaldo Romberg, Horacio Zabala: Dirty Geometry https://abstractioninaction.com/happenings/dirty-geometry/


Artists: Emilia Azcárate, Alessandro Balteo Yazbeck, Cecilia Biagini, Sigfredo Chacón, Emilio Chapela, Eduardo Costa, Willys de Castro, Diana de Solares, Marcolina Dipierro, Eugenio Espinoza, Jaime Gili, Mathias Goeritz, Juan Iribarren, Bárbara Kaplan, Ramsés Larzábal, Raúl Lozza, Beatriz Olano, César Paternosto, Alejandro Puente, Luis Roldán, Osvaldo Romberg, Joaquín Torres García, and Horacio Zabala.

Dirty Geometry
December 2 -7, 2014
Curated by Osvaldo Romberg
Mana Contemporary
Miami, FL, USA

Dirty geometry has existed throughout 20th century art although not in a manifest way; it implies a subversion of the laws of logical rigor, systemism and utopian modernism that have pervaded geometry since Kandinsky. In his milestone book Concerning the Spiritual in Art, Kandinsky argues against geometry as decoration; instead, he promotes geometrical painting as a spiritual tool. The quest of the spiritual, of a balance between the mind and intellectual order constituted the fundamental idea behind geometric art. Geometrical abstraction was used in different times, as we see for instance in Kandinsky’s compositions, in the rigorous nihilism of Malevich’s “Black on Black”, and in the concrete iconography of Max Bill.

Through my concept of “Dirty Geometry,” I want to undermine the rigid, global imposition of geometry that has dominated from the beginning of the 20th century. Of course, other artists have already played with this approach more or less consciously: Rothko when he broke the grid, Frank Stella with his Cone and Pillars series from the eighties.

However I came to realize that Latin-America offers the most prominent examples of “Dirty Geometry.” First, this might be explained by the often rudimentary absorption of the center by the periphery, as peripheral access to major art trends has long been mediated by art reproductions, and perceived through local cultural prisms. This is even truer in Latin-America where most countries lacked a radical and contemporary art scene. Secondly, in Latin America one always finds forms of political and existential resistance against the values of neo-liberalism embodied by the center.

“Dirty Geometry” will question different aspects of American, Russian and European abstract art such as the imposition of polished finish on paintings, the compositions and the purity of its lines, classical applications of colors inherited from the Bauhaus, Concrete Art, etc.

In the forties for instance, the Latin-American group MADI challenged the format of the canvas, the relation between two and three dimensions, etc. In the sixties the Latin-America group of Kinetic Art in Paris challenged the static geometry produced by artists such as Vasarely and Herbin, and introduced movement, light and shadow to abstract art.

I would therefore suggest that Latin-America has proceeded to elaborate a kind of creolization of the dominant geometrical art; this is a recurrent phenomenon in other fields of Latin-American culture, and we encounter it in religion, education, food, inventions, etc.

The more figuration moves away from reality and representation, the more it needs to resort to theory in order to retain legitimacy. Geometry as we traditionally conceive it can only be legitimized by a tight, rigid theoretical framework. “Dirty Geometry” is therefore a rebellious attempt to break from all theoretical frameworks and thus invent a geometry that would be free from theory. This is a dirty war, one that we could define as “below the belt”.  George Bataille believed that “divine filth” brings about true eroticism; likewise, I would suggest that it is possible to bring about an eroticism of geometry through dirt.

November 24, 2014 Jaime Gili: Ornament and Barricade https://abstractioninaction.com/happenings/jaime-gili-ornament-barricade/


Artist: Jaime Gili

Ornament and Barricade
November 20, 2014 – February 5, 2015
Alejandra von Hartz Gallery
Miami, FL, USA

Only after doing it three times and approaching a fourth, I realized that for exhibition titles, large projects, or even a series of paintings; I have repeated a dialectical formula that recreates links between Europe, European minds, and the coasts: South America or its local counterparts. I did it, for instance, when, for an exhibition in Winterthur, I placed Max Bill at Henri Pittier´s Park in Venezuela, and also when I completed the story of Gio Ponti on the Venezuelan coast and Reverón in the Mediterranean, for a series of paintings.

I was about to work on Carlo Scarpa, an obvious candidate as he built the Venezuelan pavilion at the Venice Biennale—which has always fascinated me— when I recognized the formula and tried to avoid it; perhaps even the pavilion commission lacks the anecdote that justifies a wider story.
And yet, Scarpa´s story and use of concrete and structural ornament keeps on fascinating me, and he has, indeed, been present in my mind when developing the current series of works. Of course, painting is slow, and the works here also contain elements from the previous series, the 2013 series which was a utopian homage to a fictional meeting of Armando Reverón and Gio Ponti. That series had some elements, like the thin stripes, that are still present in these works. Made in summer 2014, these paintings actually lie somewhere between winter 2012 and February 2014. So even if Scarpa was in the studio, also present at the party were Ponti and Reverón. And in the real world, miles away, the protests on the streets of Venezuela were starting; they unavoidably entered the mix.

Guarimba is a Venezuelan word that could be translated as “makeshift barricade to block roads by people who stay around it protesting loudly”. Guarimbas were very active in spring 2014 on the streets of Venezuela as a way of protest to block normal life against the regime. Many youth have been detained around them and then imprisoned and tortured thereafter. There are no glimpses of freedom yet and few other ways to protest.

Now imagine the doors of the studio as a barricade that only lets some things come through. But the barricade is a response to what is happening. The gates are also the work, the work is a final guarimba that decides what can and cannot enter in it. A filter that is in itself a response to what is happening. Painting is a political act, but it is also slow.

Jaime Gili
London, September 2014

Jaime Gili was born in Caracas in 1972. Studied first in Caracas, at a tropical Bauhaus that failed to change the country, never mind the world; later at the University of Barcelona, where he learned to be a painter but nobody was there to witness, and finally at the Royal College of Art in London, the city where he found his voice as an artist, paradoxically, based upon the Venezuelan modern tradition that he carried within. He has exhibited widely in Europe and the Americas and works mainly in London, but also in Barcelona and Caracas. He has created large commissions in public and private buildings integrating painting in architecture, in England, the US and Venezuela. He is currently developing his second largest one, a mural for Baltus House, a Condo in the Miami Design District, which will be ready in 2015.

November 21, 2014 Mariángeles Soto-Díaz, Ricardo Alcaide, Emilia Azcárate, Juan Pablo Garza & Jaime Gili: Unsettled Primaries https://abstractioninaction.com/happenings/mariangeles-soto-diaz-ricardo-alcaide-emilia-azc/

Screenshot 2014-08-21 10.24.36

Artists: Mariángeles Soto-Díaz, Ricardo Alcaide, Emilia Azcárate, Juan Pablo Garza, Jaime Gili, Dulce Gómez, Esperanza Mayorbe, Ana María Mazzei, Teresa Mulet, Susana Reisman, Luis Romero, and Fabian Salazar.

Unsettled Primaries -Project by Mariángeles Soto-Díaz
Online gallery launch on August 23, 2014
Torrance Art Museum
Torrance, CA, USA

The Venezuelan flag features horizontal bands of the primary colors, yellow, blue and red, occupying equal parts in its rectangular composition. It is said that Francisco de Miranda, the Venezuelan transatlantic revolutionary known as “The First Universal Criollo” who inititated the process that would lead to the independence of Venezuela and Latin America, conceptualized the Venezuelan flag for independence after exchanging ideas about color theory with Johann Wolfgang von Goethe in Europe. While this is only one myth among many surrounding Miranda’s inspiration of primary colors for the flag, the story still resonates with Miranda’s interdisciplinary and philosophical interests, which are well documented in his extensive journals chronicling encounters with Europe’s leading intellectuals, artists and politicians.

For this project, Mariángeles Soto-Díaz invited Venezuelan artists to choose and interpret a set of open instructions to make an abstract work with equal distribution of primary colors. The instructions were meant as a productive challenge to the artists, particularly in light of the volatile political climate in Venezuela today and especially the many conflicts surrounding the use of the national flag in recent years.*

This experimental abstract project is a proposition put forth to think through many questions: Is it possible to reconcile formal and political meanings on a plane of simultaneity? Can color help us activate a shared experience of ambiguity and nuance, or are the established “universal” primary colors, an essential discovery in color theory, always mired in nationalism or flag-waving for Venezuelan artists? Is viewing art through the screen of a computer while imagining its materiality in real space a new kind of phenomenological experience? For individual artists, can a simultaneous performance of instructions interpreted in different parts of the world feel like a collective gesture?

Unsettled Primaries explores the potential of making something charged, tired and familiar new again, examining settled meanings. As in past projects directed by Soto-Diaz under the umbrella of her entity Abstraction At Work, Unsettled Primaries rests on the underlying premise that there is a conceptual and ambiguous border in the notion of abstraction that encroaches upon and even overlaps with symbolic representation, underscoring the uncomfortable fuzziness and fluidity of meaning in subject matter.


* In 2013, as the two major candidates for presidential elections dressed in primary colors, government officials forbid the opposition from using them in their campaign despite the fact that the flag and its colors in various configurations were being used by the incumbent presidential candidate and precisely in that context. The rationale used by government officials was that using primary colors was an inappropriate use of patriotic symbols as per the Constitution passed in 2006 revising the Ley de Bandera Nacional, Himno Nacional y Escudo de Armas de la República Bolivariana Venezolana and/or the Supreme Justice Tribunal’s own judgment.

August 21, 2014 Juan Pablo Garza: Sin Título con Amarillo https://abstractioninaction.com/happenings/juan-pablo-garza-sin-titulo-con-amarillo/


Juan Pablo Garza

Sin Título con Amarillo
February 2 – March 16, 2014
Oficina #1
Caracas, Venezuela

El domingo 2 de febrero Oficina #1 inicia su programación del 2014 con la apertura de su nueva sala de exhibiciones y las exposiciones individuales de los artistas Juan Pablo Garza y Jaime Gili.

Como parte de su compromiso con el arte contemporáneo y emergente en Venezuela, Oficina #1 suma una nueva sala de exposiciones (el Galpón G6 del Centro de Arte los Galpones) a su programa expositivo con el propósito de brindar una oferta más amplia y dinámica dentro de su trabajo de difusión y proyección de la obra de los creadores locales.

Así este próximo domingo 2 de febrero inauguran simuntáneamente en Oficina #1 las exposiciones Droits de Succession de Jaime Gili en el galpón G9 y Sin título con amarillo de Juan Pablo Garza en el G6.

Con la muestra Sin título con amarillo de Juan Pablo Garza, Oficina #1 inaugura su nueva sala de exhibiciones en el galpón G6. En ésta, la tercera exposición de Garza en Oficina #1, es posible adentrarse en el universo de elementos, conexiones y procesos que han habitado la obra del artista.

Desde una visión actualizada y personal del género de las naturalezas muertas, Garza propone un sistema de objetos y relaciones que se construye con un vasto despliegue de medios. Así, en Sin título con amarillo se desencadena un entramado de conexiones que se formalizan desde la pintura, la fotografía, la gráfica, los ensamblajes y la escultura para develar ese espacio íntimo con el que el artista ha construido su obra. En este sentido, Sin título con amarillo pudiera entenderse como un punto de encuentro entre las diversas inquietudes presentes en la corta pero abundante producción artística de Garza.

Juan Pablo Garza (Maracaibo, 1980), ha realizado las muestras individuales “Evidence multigrade Light”, Alejandra von Hartz Gallery, Miami (2012); Them Elementals”, Goldrushfineart, Maine, USA (2012); “Reforma del ahora”, AlBorde, Maracaibo (2012); Nuevas Consecuencias, Oficina#1, Caracas (2011); Dos Series, Oficina#1, Caracas (2009); Instantáneas, Espacio PP Hotel Paseo las Mercedes, Caracas, (2009); Puesto por los Caminos, Galería de la Escuela de Fotografía Julio Vengoechea, Maracaibo, Venezuela (2005). De igual manera ha participado en diversas muestras colectivas, entre ellas, “XII Edición Premio Eugenio Mendoza”, Sala Mendoza, Caracas (2013); Pedazos de País II”, Oficina#1, Caracas (2012); “Lugares de tránsito”, Tabacalera, Madrid, España (2012); “Papeles”, Oficina # 1, Caracas (2012); Expedientes FOTOFIA 2011, Los Secaderos, Centro Cultural La Trinidad, Caracas, Venezuela (2011); Affinity, Kulter Gallery, Holanda, Amsterdam (2011); Enemies of my enemies, OCAD University Graduate Gallery, Toronto, Canada (2011); Una vez once, Al Borde, Maracaibo, Venezuela (2011); 6to Salón Regional de Jóvenes Artistas, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo del Zulia, Maracaibo, Venezuela (2010); XIII Salón SuperCable Jóvenes con Fia, Centro Cultural Corp Banca, Caracas, Venezuela (2010); entre otras. Entre sus premios y distinciones destacan: Primer premio, 6to Salón Regional de Jóvenes Artistas, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo del Zulia, (2010). Primer premio, XII Salón SuperCable Jóvenes con FIA (2010).

February 5, 2014 Jaime Gili: Droits de Succession https://abstractioninaction.com/happenings/jaime-gili-droits-de-succession/


Jaime Gili

Droits de Succession
February 2 – March 16, 2014
Oficina #1
Caracas, Venezuela

El domingo 2 de febrero Oficina #1 inicia su programación del 2014 con la apertura de su nueva sala de exhibiciones y las exposiciones individuales de los artistas Juan Pablo Garza y Jaime Gili.

Como parte de su compromiso con el arte contemporáneo y emergente en Venezuela, Oficina #1 suma una nueva sala de exposiciones (el Galpón G6 del Centro de Arte los Galpones) a su programa expositivo con el propósito de brindar una oferta más amplia y dinámica dentro de su trabajo de difusión y proyección de la obra de los creadores locales.

Así este próximo domingo 2 de febrero inauguran simuntáneamente en Oficina #1 las exposiciones Droits de Succession de Jaime Gili en el galpón G9 y Sin título con amarillo de Juan Pablo Garza en el G6.

Droits de Succession es la segunda exposición que realiza en Oficina #1 el artista venezolano residenciado en Londres Jaime Gili, en la cual se exhibe un conjunto de dibujos recientes en los que el artista realiza intervenciones directas sobre obras gráficas de artistas como Cruz Diez, Marcel Floris o Morellet. Gili establece un diálogo directo con la obra de artistas que como él pero en tiempo precedentes han avanzado en la investigación de la abstracción en la pintura.

Completa la muestra un mural, una intervención sobre una forma de Jean Arp tomada del libro “Jean Arp, Pensieri Poesie Disegni Collages”, compilado por Serio Grandini en Lugano en 1976. Esta forma que nunca pretendió salir del papel a la pared sirve de base para una propuesta sobre los vidrios de la galería con la que Gili rinde tributo a este artista, un tributo a las herencias tal y como señala el título de la muestra Droits de Succession. La muestra también cuenta con la colaboración especial del escritor venezolano Federico Vegas quien ha realizado el texto que acompaña esta exposición titulado Tres acercamientos a Jaime Gili.

Jaime Gili (Caracas, 1972), vive y trabaja desde 1996 en Londres, Inglaterra. Su obra ha sido exhibida en numerosas exposiciones individuales y colectivas así como en proyectos de arte público en diferentes ciudades del mundo. Entre sus exposiciones individuales se cuentan “The Lakes”, Riflemaker, Londres (2011); “La Toma”, Magda Bellotti, Madrid (2011); “Jaime Gili Afuera”, Periférico Caracas(2010); COMMA04, Bloomberg space, Londres (2009); “Bill at Pittier”, Kunsthalle Winterthur, Zurich (2009); “Everything is borrowed”, Alejandra von Hartz, Miami (2009); “Superestrellas”, Riflemaker, Soho Square, Londres, (2008);  “Coda”, Oficina#1, Caracas (2008); “Superstars”, Buia Gallery, Nueva York (2007); “Jaime Gili makes things triangular at Riflemaker”, Riflemaker, Londres (2006); “Las tres Calaveras”, Periférico Caracas, Espacio 0, Caracas (2006); entre otras. Recientemente ha participado en las exposiciones colectivas “Horizontal”, La Central, Bogotá (2013); “Ex-Culturas”, Periférico Caracas, Caracas (2013); “Red, White, and Blue – Pop, Punk, Politics, Place”, Chelsea Space, Londres (2012); “LA to LA”, Artcore Brewerly Annex, Los Angeles (2012); “We are Gramar”, Pratt Manhattan Gallery, Nueva York (2011); “Friendship of the peoples”, Simon Oldfield Gallery, Londres (2011); “Demons Yarns and Tales”, James Cohan Gallery, Nueva York (2010); “The constructive élan”, Alejandra von Hartz, Miami (2010); “Newspeak: British Art Now”, Saatchi Gallery, Londres (2010); “Concrete Geometries”, Research Cluster at the Architectural Association, Londres (2010); “Coalesce : Happenstance”, Smart Project Space, Amsterdam (2009); Down by Law, Crévecoeur, París (2008); “6a Bienal do Mercosul”, Porto Alegre (2007); “Jump Cuts”, Colección del Banco Mercantil, CIFO, Miami (2007). Entre sus diversos proyectos de arte público se encuentran: 16 tanques de petróleo en Portland, Maine (2008-2010); “Diamante de las semillitas”, Barrio José Félix Ribas, Palo Verde, Caracas (2010); “Health, Safety, Signs”, The Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel, Londres (2009); “Mashrabiya” COMMA04, Bloomberg, Londres (2009);”Ruta Rota” London Architecture Biennale, Londres (2006).

February 3, 2014 Jaime Gili https://abstractioninaction.com/artists/jaime-gili/

Translated from Spanish

Extract from inteview by Pablo León de la Barra with Jaime Gili (…) To be honest, I work a lot from painting; from the two-dimensional. Playing with planes is perhaps the only way that I have to be able to understand the three dimensional space. I admire how my mother, a wonderful seamstress, perfectly understands how a piece of fabric with a specific form can wrap around, drop on or cover a body. That is a mastery of the three-dimensional that I don’t possess. (…) There is no plan or specific project. I sense how I will finish a painting but I don’t plan it out. I am more about testing directly than planning and trying to duplicate on the canvas. Everything happens so fast in a painting. One single painting is made of hundreds of quickly executed small projects. (…) The same as with some interventions, I emphasize architectural elements and people pay more attention. The same happens with painting: when I apply the paint on a space in a certain way, I am making the color on the fabric, the space and profoundness that it could have, become more evident.


Extraído de una entrevista a Jaime Gili por Pablo León de la Barra (…) La verdad es que trabajo muy desde la pintura, desde las dos dimensiones. Jugar con los planos es quizá la única manera que tengo de entender el espacio tridimensional. Admiro como mi madre, maravillosa costurera, entiende perfectamente como un trozo de tela con una forma determinada puede envolver, caer o cubrir un cuerpo. Esa es una maestría de lo tridimensional a la que no llego. (…) No hay un plan, un proyecto específico. Intuyo como va a terminar la pintura pero no la planeo. Soy más de probar directamente que de planear e intentar repetir en la tela. En una pintura todo sucede muy rápido. Una pintura se compone de cientos de pequeños proyectos rápidamente ejecutados. (…)  Al igual que con algunas intervenciones subrayo elementos de arquitectura y la gente se fija más en ella, con la pintura pasa lo mismo: al colocar la pintura de cierta manera en un espacio, estoy haciendo que se haga más evidente en la tela el color, la cuestión espacial y la profundidad que pueda tener.

Selected Biographical Information

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October 9, 2013