Abstraction in Action Alexandre Canonico https://abstractioninaction.com/artists/alexandre-canonico/

About the Artist

My practice is influenced by the aesthetics and logic of architectural drawing and the legacy of geometric abstraction. However, instead of merely exploring the formal aspects associated to these disciplines, I am interested in investing my work with more playful, unstable or destabilising elements that disrupt the rigorous principles underlying traditional architecture and abstraction.

Over the past 5 years, I have been developing a series of wall-based sculptures/ drawings where three-dimensional elements (depth, shadow and movement) are used as a drawing tool, often incorporating elements from the surrounding space into the composition.

I had my first solo show in August 2015 at Galeria Marilia Razuk in São Paulo. The show was titled “Aonde”, which translates as “To where/ Where to”, implying the movement to or the search for a place. The works had in common a certain flexibility of boundaries and an interest in the space that contains or is contained by each piece.

Mi práctica es influenciada por la estética y la lógica de dibujos arquitectónicos y el legado de la abstracción geométrica.  Sin embargo, en ves de únicamente explorar los aspectos formales asociados con esas disciplinas, estoy interesado en investir mi trabajo con elementos lúdicos, inestables y desestabilizadores, que interrumpen los principios rigurosos que  subyacen en la arquitectura tradicional y la abstracción.
Durante los últimos 5 años, he estado desarrollando una serie de esculturas de pared / dibujos, en los cuales elementos tridimensionales (profundidad, sombra y movimiento) son empleados como instrumentos de dibujo, a menudo incorporando elementos del espacio circundante en la composición.
Tuve mi primera exposición en agosto del 2015 en la Galería Marilia Razuk en São Paulo. La muestra titulada “Aonde”, que se traduce como “A donde/Hacia adonde”, implicando el movimiento hacia o la bísqueda por un lugar. Las obras tenían en común una cierta flexibilidad de limites y un interés en el espacio que contiene y es contenido por cada pieza.

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December 8, 2016 Martin Cordiano https://abstractioninaction.com/artists/martin-cordiano/



About the Artist

As a visual artist I aim to make constructions that offer an insight into the relationship with others and with the space that surrounds us; as well as to explore routine and the way we inhabit space. My practice is an exploration of the contradiction between the dynamic world we live in and the rigid structures of the building environment and architecture that contains it. As a result, art is used as lens to think and rethink this language, trying actively to renegotiate meaning through asking questions differently. Laying down the platform to engage in conversation to try to renegotiate these agreements.

Eminently simple yet complex in its implications, my work stands as a paradigm for a practice of making, which is beyond either art or architecture.

I experiment on and in the real world. Pulling apart the structures of our everyday life, playing with the materials out of which we construct our surroundings and our implements, and opening up new spaces within a world we thought we had defined. What remains inherent throughout my practice is the sense of experimentation and investigation that operates as an extension of our ability to be at home in the world, to remake our reality, and to question our existence through what we make.

Como artista visual me propongo realizar construcciones que ofrecen una mirada sobre la relación con otros y con el espacio que nos rodea; como también de explorar la rutina y la forma como habitamos el espacio. Mi practica es una exploración de las contradicciones entre el mundo dinámico en el cual vivimos y las estructuras rígidas del paisaje construido y de la arquitectura que la contiene. Como resultado, el arte es empleado como un lente para pensar y repensar este lenguaje, de tratar activamente de renegociar el sentido, al preguntar de otras formas. Construir una plataforma para propiciar conversaciones e intentar renegociar estos acuerdos. 

Eminentemente simple pero a la vez complejas estas implicaciones, mi obra se plantea como un paradigma para la practica del hacer, que va mas allá del arte y de la arquitectura.

Yo experimento sobre y dentro del mundo real. Yo desarmo las estructuras del día a día, jugando con los materiales con los cuales construimos nuestros entornos y nuestros implementos,  y así abrir nuevos espacios dentro del mundo que pensamos habíamos definido. Lo que se mantiene inherente a lo largo de mi práctica es el sentido de experimentación e investigación que opera como extensión de nuestra habilidad de sentirnos en casa en el mundo, de rehacer nuestra realidad, y de interrogar nuestra existencia a través de lo que hacemos.


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December 6, 2016 Alexander Apóstol, Jaime Gili, Adriana Minoliti, Santiago Reyes Villaveces, Lucía Pizzani: CONCRETE https://abstractioninaction.com/happenings/alexander-apostol-jaime-gili-adriana-minoliti-santiago-reyes-villaveces-lucia-pizzani-concrete/


Artists: Alexander Apóstol, Bob and Roberta Smith, Camila Botero, Monika Bravo, Lisa Castagner, Jaime Gili, Lothar Goetz, Justin Hibbs, Polonca Lovšin with Tomaz Tomažin, Adriana Minoliti, Santiago Reyes Villaveces, Engel Leonardo, Lucía Pizzani, Lizi Sánchez, Paul Jones, Manuel Saiz and Annalisa Sonzogni.

CONCRETE is curated by Jaime Gili in conjunction with the PC80 committee
September 17 –  25, 2016
Pullman Court
London, UK

In the 80th anniversary of the building, its residents are organising a series of events throughout the year to celebrate Pullman Court’s architecture and raise awareness of what it means universally, for the country, for the city and also locally, for the residents themselves. Events include talks, workshops, tours, an exhibition of historic photographs from the RIBA archive, and CONCRETE, an exhibition showcasing 17 international contemporary artists invited to work within the building.

Eleven years ago, under the umbrella of the 2005 London Open House, an exhibition entitled nineteenthirtysix took place across Pullman Court. On that occasion, three artists celebrated its uniqueness and the historical spaces of the building. In 2016, CONCRETE, will show some of the original works from the first show, alongside new site-specific commissions by artists who are resident or familiar with Pullman Court, and by some who are new to it but who deal with modern heritage and/or the city in their works. Back in 2005, the main issue was to raise awareness of modern heritage in Britain with one fine example, helping to confront a tendency to blame certain modern architecture for many social ills, overlooking issues like maintenance and investment. The artists exhibiting in CONCRETE will reflect on this, on the Modernist forms and elegance, and on the city as a whole, on the way people live in its spaces, and the way politics and the economy force changes on the city and its inhabitants.

Artists and audience will be able to see Pullman Court as an early example of high rise living that has influenced later housing developments, with its apartments set around services and amenities that organise life in a way that has become common nowadays.

September 16, 2016 Cipriano Martínez: Woven Cities https://abstractioninaction.com/happenings/cipriano-martinez-woven-cities/


Artist: Cipriano Martínez and Christine van der Hurd

Woven Cities
November 27 – December 19, 2015
Maddox Arts
London, UK

Christine Van Der Hurd and Cipriano Martínez have a mutual appreciation for traditional artistic techniques and geometric design. When they were first introduced in the Autumn of 2013 their collaborative process was quick to develop. Cipriano Martínez paints with oils on canvas and then screenprints his artwork; while Vanderhurd rugs are woven by highly skilled craftsmen in India using traditional techniques. This process involves a strong mutual belief in the artistic, hand crafted approach to the creation of an original artefact of true lasting value.

In contrast to the ordered geometry found in Vanderhurd designs, Martínez enjoys disruption and dislocation of pattern, creating conflict between order and chaos. The greatest challenge for him during this creative process was adapting to a different format for the execution of these pieces, and that this would create an alternative interpretation of his original paintings. Though he was never expecting the process to be an easy one.

For example, the designs that included very small triangular shapes had to be enlarged to a minimum of 6 centimetres to enable sharp, straight lines to be achieved in the weaving process. The artwork represents aerial views of maps and cities, describing the juxtaposition of order and chaos found within them. Martínez has relished the implications of this new medium, while Vanderhurd’s considerable understanding of colour has been a key component in the development of these dhurries.

A small selection of Cipriano Martínez oil paintings will be accompanying the exhibition.

November 24, 2015 Carla Arocha and Stéphane Schraenen: The Gap https://abstractioninaction.com/happenings/carla-arocha-stephane-schraenen-gap/


Artists: Carla Arocha and Stéphane Schraenen, Francis Alÿs, Gaston Bertrand, Amédée Cortier, Raoul de Keyser, Walter Leblanc, Bernd Lohaus, Luy Mees, Gert Robijns, Timothy Segers, Boy and Erik Stappaerts, Philippe Van Snick, Jef Verheyen, Pieter Vermeersch.

The Gap: Selected Abstract Art from Belgium
Curated by Luc Tuymans
September 9 – December 6, 2015
Parasol unit
London, UK

Focusing on the notion of abstraction in twentieth-century and contemporary Belgian art and the varying sources of influence and inspiration among the artists of two generations, Tuymans has selected fifteen artists whose work either articulates a relationship to abstraction or takes as its cue the definition of abstraction. Although the artists themselves have emerged from different periods and motivations, a clear formal relationship between the selected works is apparent, and thereby reveals a current and earlier interest in abstraction that has not lost its relevance over recent decades.

Luc Tuymans, himself a figurative painter who constantly seeks to extend the traditional boundaries of his practice, has specifically selected these artists for the individual nature of their practice and the paradoxical way each of them uses their medium. Presented in the two gallery floors of Parasol unit, their works collectively investigate the potential, formal and conceptual tensions within the notion of abstraction.

Works by the earlier generation of artists represented in the show can be loosely situated within geometric abstraction and abstract constructivism, influenced by artists such as Piet Mondrian (1872–1944) and groups such as De Stijl (founded 1917) and the ZERO movement of the 1950s and 60s, as well as the American Colour Field painters. Whereas the more recent works by the younger generation of artists reconstruct and reinterpret the Modernist ideas and concerns from today’s artistic point of view. Ultimately, this exhibition highlights the diversity of artistic practice within abstraction, while revealing intergenerational influences and allowing viewers to explore and be challenged by the depth and limits of abstraction.

October 2, 2015 Bernardo Ortiz: Drawing Biennial 2015 https://abstractioninaction.com/happenings/bernardo-ortiz-drawing-biennial-2015/


Artists: Mateo López and Bernardo Ortiz, among many more

Drawing Biennial 2015
Until April 30, 2015
Auction online: 16 – 30 April 2015
Drawing Room
London, UK

Drawing Biennial 2015, an exhibition organized by the Drawing Room in London, UK. Selected by Drawing Room directors Mary Doyle, Kate Macfarlane and Katharine Stout, each of the 252 participating artists was invited to make an original drawing in any medium on an A4 sheet of paper. Drawing Biennial 2015 culminates in an online auction that will run until April 30th. The sale of the works, all of them donated by the artists, will support the Drawing Room’s exhibition program.

April 24, 2015 Cipriano Martínez: Weight for the Showing https://abstractioninaction.com/happenings/cipriano-martinez-weight-showing/

Screenshot 2015-04-15 12.30.33

Artists: Richard Serra, Phyllida Barlow, Christian Jankowski, Nicolas Feldmeyer, Cipriano Martinez, Levi van Veluw, David Rickard, Livia Marin, Richard Schur, Liv Fontaine, Knopp Ferro.

Weight for the Showing
Curated by Paul Carey-Kent
April 23 – June 16, 2015
Maddox Arts
London, UK

Of the many competitors for our attention when we look at a work of art – meaning, narrative, form, colour, gesture, scale, sound, movement – its weight is not generally high in the list, heavy as much sculpture and some painting may be (Bram Bogart’s super-thick applications or Analia Saban’s container canvases come to mind). Indeed, although WEIGHT FOR THE SHOWING is themed around weight, all the works have other interesting agendas, most notably perhaps the frequency with which they skew logic and the zest with which they engage with art history.

Some artists playfully substitute the heavy for the light or vice versa: Gavin Turk’s bronze bin bags are well known, Andreas Lolis has made marble look very like card or polystyrene; Fishli & Weiss fashioned all manner of items out of polyurethane; and Sarah Sze recently made rocks out of photographs of rocks, which she showed alongside real boulders. Others have used surprisingly-weighted items, e.g. Andrew Palmer attaches rocks to paintings, and Aselm Kiefer fixes anything from soil to submarines to his canvases; Damien Hirst’s ping pong ball pieces might be the opposite end of that scale.

Such play is allowed here, but the show concentrates more on two other aspects: the relative weight of elements within or between works, which latter may be down to evident heaviness of mark, or else be a matter of ‘feeling’ heavy or light for no obvious literal reason; and the metaphorical association of weight with seriousness and being weighed down by troubles or history. There’s no neat division, but Barlow, Rickard, Schur, Ferro and Martinez are perhaps more in the first category; and Serra, Jankowski, Marin, Feldmeyer and Fontaine in the second.

Enough weight may also lead to collapse. Nietzsche worried about the possibility of Eternal Return, in which we’re doomed to repeat events for eternity, making existence a heavy burden, given the impossibility of escaping the cycle. Buddhism provides a potential way out of that by embracing the cycle, as does Milan Kundera when, assuming in contrast that such a cycle is impossible, he holds that ‘life which disappears once and for all, which does not return is without weight…and whether it was horrible, beautiful, or sublime…means nothing’. Decisions are then ‘light’ – they do not tie us down – but meaningless and potentially empty. That isn’t entirely welcome either, hence the ‘the unbearable lightness of being’. A more pragmatic view would be that we’re in the space between the baggage of the what’s gone and the disintegration to come – but the interim phase may last a while yet, and we might as well enjoy it. Just so, there’s plenty of wit in these works, that raise interesting issues but also help visitors to enjoy a few minutes of the gap.

Image: Christian Jankowski, Heavy Weight History (Ronald Reagan), 2013 – b/w photograph on baryt paper, 140 x 186.8 cm, ed.1 of 5+2 ap
April 21, 2015 Rodrigo Sassi: In Between https://abstractioninaction.com/happenings/rodrigo-sassi-2/


Artist: Rodrigo Sassi

In Between
February 3 – 24, 2015 (London)
March 19 – April 18, 2015 (Paris)
MDM Gallery
London, UK and Paris, France

The fruit of a 6-month residency at La Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris, In Between is Part One of Rodrigo Sassi’s first European solo exhibition: London 3 – 24 February and Paris 19 March – 18 April 2015 at MDM Gallery in partnership with Gallery Nosco | Frameless (London).

February 24, 2015 Marta Chilindrón, Magdalena Fernández & Jaime Tarazona: Degrees of Separation https://abstractioninaction.com/happenings/marta-chilindron-magdalena-fernandez-jaime-tarazona-degrees-separation/

Screenshot 2014-08-26 15.39.46

Artists: Marta Chilindrón, Magdalena Fernández, Carlos Cruz-Diez, Caio Fonseca, Julio Le Parc, Cipriano Martínez, Daniel Medina, Abraham Paltnik, Rafael Reveron-Pojan, Jesús Rafael Soto, Daniel Steegmann Mangrané, and Jaime Tarazona.

Degrees of Separation
June 27 – September 14, 2014
Maddox Arts
London, UK

Curated by Mario Palencia and Laura Culpan, this exhibition looks specifically at the legacy of the Modern Masters born in the 1920s who were pioneering geometric abstraction and kinetic art across Latin America in the 1950s and 60s and how the younger generation is carrying this aesthetic on, in their own contemporary way.


September 9, 2014 Óscar Figueroa: A Chronicle of Interventions https://abstractioninaction.com/happenings/oscar-figueroa-chronicle-interventions/


Artists: José Castrellón, Óscar Figueroa, Group Material, Regina José Galindo, Naufus Ramírez-Figueroa, Andreas Seikmann, Michael Stevenson, Humberto Vélez.

A Chronicle of Interventions
May 2 – July 13, 2014
Tate Modern
London, UK

Tate Modern’s Project Space presents the exhibition A Chronicle of Interventions, a curatorial-collaboration between Tate Modern in London and TEOR/éTica in San José, Costa Rica. The exhibition explores the multiple histories of intervention that have occurred throughout Central America during the 20th century through the work of eight practicing artists who each address various foreign, economic, political and military interventions which have shaped the region.

Harking back to 1980s New York, during the Reagan-Thatcher era, the exhibition begins with an archival display of the seminal installation by Group Material, entitled Timeline: A Chronicle of US Intervention in Central and Latin America, the work was originally installed in New York’s PS 1 Gallery in 1984, when Central America was in the spotlight of political and economic debate in the West. Fast forward thirty years and the exhibition returns to this history of intervention and its consequences, through the work of contemporary artists who chronicle related historical episodes, accounts and phenomena.

Two of the films found on display refer back to U.S. colonialism in Panama and more specifically to the building of the Panama Canal. Humberto Vélez focuses on the metaphor of the subjected human body and the representation of power and strength over a nation, while Michael Stevenson explores the probability of reality and fiction under the context of the Torrijos-Carter Treaties in 1977—which promised the handover of the Canal Zone to the Central American country.

The works of Óscar Figueroa and Andreas Siekmann separately address the existence of a mono-cultural economy based almost exclusively on the extraction of bananas and coffee and the impact that international corporations such as the United Fruit Company have had on the natural and social landscape of much of this region. The performance work of Regina José Galindo confronts the torrid history of Guatemala and its hidden genocide. Her explorations of unequal power relations often expose the violent consequences that regularly result from political and economic interventions.

This exhibition also explores the effects that external intervention can have on cultural aesthetics and social behaviour. This includes examples of both the infiltration and appropriation of contemporary ‘Western culture’ in remote indigenous communities, as seen in the work of José Castrellón and the imposition or adaptation of international architectural styles, which are boldly displayed and eventually destroyed during the performance work of Naufus Ramírez-Figueroa.

A Chronicle of Interventions is curated by Shoair Mavlian (Tate Modern) and Inti Guerrero (TEOR/éTica)

May 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.

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October 9, 2013 Amalia Pica https://abstractioninaction.com/artists/amalia-pica/

It has always been about the overlap between form and politics for me. I believe I need to occupy my own place in the world while taking responsibility for the way I do this, I have chosen to be an artist-this was not imposed upon me-and so I understand form to be my concern. I try to stay in the realm of the visual and the sensible as a means of defending that space itself, a space constantly open to redefinition-one in which subjectivity can be played out. This is why self-reflexivity can be important. To me it is a political stance. If one could say that art is concerned with the imagination, I believe that how imagination is formed is a pertinent question that also speaks to society in a larger sense. The ways we imagine and how we are conditioned to imagine are both artistic and political concerns to me.

Traducido del inglés

Para mí, siempre ha sido acerca de la superposición de la forma y la política. Creo que tengo que ocupar mi propio lugar en el mundo mientras me responsabilizo de la forma en la que lo hago. He elegido ser una artista—esto no fue impuesto sobre mí—así que entiendo la forma como interés. Intento permanecer en el ámbito de lo visual y lo sensible como modo de defender ese espacio, un espacio constantemente abierto a las redefiniciones, en el cual la subjetividad puede ser representada. Es por esto que la auto-reflexión puede ser importante. Es para mí una postura política. Si uno pudiera decir que el arte está interesado en la imaginación, creo que la manera en la que se forma la imaginación es también una pregunta pertinente que tiene que ver con la sociedad en un amplio sentido. Las formas en las que imaginaos y cómo estamos condicionados a imaginar son preocupaciones artísticas y políticas para mí.

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October 8, 2013