Abstraction in Action
Monochrome Undone https://abstractioninaction.com/projects/monochrome-undone/
Curated by Cecilia Fajardo-Hill
October 24, 2015 – April 1, 2016 SPACE, Irvine, CA
Artists: Ricardo Alcaide, Alejandra Barreda, Andrés Bedoya*, Emilio Chapela, Eduardo Costa, Danilo Dueñas, Magdalena Fernández, Valentina Liernur, Marco Maggi, Manuel Mérida, Gabriel de la Mora, Miguel Angel Ríos, Lester Rodríguez, Eduardo Santiere, Emilia Azcárate, Marta Chilindrón, Bruno Dubner, Rubén Ortíz-Torres, Fidel Sclavo, Renata Tassinari, Georgina Bringas, Abraham Cruzvillegas, Thomas Glassford, José Luis Landet, Jorge de León, Bernardo Ortiz, Martin Pelenur, Teresa Pereda, Pablo Rasgado, Ricardo Rendón, Santiago Reyes Villaveces, Mariela Scafati, Gabriel Sierra, Jaime Tarazona, Adán Vallecillo, Horacio Zabala.
The monochrome as a focus in the SPACE Collection began in a spontaneous form and soon became a systematic field of research. This exhibition is about the contemporary monochrome in Latin America. The monochrome is one of the most elusive and complex art forms of modern and contemporary art. If we think about its origins or meaning, we find that the monochrome is many contradictory things. The monochrome is neither a movement nor a category; it is not an “ism” or a thing. It may be painting as object, the material surface of the work itself, the denial of perspective or narrative, or anything representational. The monochrome may be a readymade, a found object, or an environment—anything in which a single color dominates. The monochrome can be critical and unstable, especially when it dialogues critically or in tension with modernism. This exhibition is organized into four different themes: The Everyday Monochrome, The White Monochrome, The Elusive Monochrome and The Transparent Monochrome. These themes have been conceived to create context and suggest interpretations that otherwise might be illegible. These may overlap at times, pointing to the multiplicity of content in many of the works. The unclassifiable and variable nature of the monochrome in Latin America today is borne of self-criticality and from unique Latin contexts, to exist within its own specificity and conceptual urgency.
El monocromo, como enfoque de SPACE Collection, comenzó de forma espontánea y a poco se convirtió en un campo de investigación sistemático. Esta exposición trata sobre el monocromo contemporáneo en América latina. El monocromo es una de las formas de arte más elusivas y complejas del arte moderno y contemporáneo. Si reflexionamos acerca de sus orígenes o su significado, nos encontramos con que puede albergar muchas cosas contradictorias. El monocromo no es un movimiento ni una categoría; no es un “ismo” ni una cosa. Puede ser la pintura como objeto, la superficie material de la obra, la negación de la perspectiva o de todo lo representativo o narrativo. El monocromo puede ser un readymade, un objeto encontrado, un cuadro o un ambiente: cualquier cosa definida como una superficie cromáticamente uniforme donde un solo color predomina. El monocromo puede ser crítico e inestable, especialmente cuando se dialoga críticamente o en tensión con el modernismo. Esta exposición está organizada en cuatro temas: el monocromo cotidiano, el monocromo blanco, el monocromo elusivo y el monocromo transparente. Estos temas han sido concebidos a fin de crear un contexto y sugerir interpretaciones que de otra manera podrían ser ilegibles. Éstos pueden superponerse a veces, apuntando a la multiplicidad de contenidos en muchas de las obras. La naturaleza indeterminada, inclasificable y variable del monocromo en Latinoamérica hoy en día es producto de la autocrítica y de los contextos propios, para existir dentro de su propia especificidad y urgencia conceptual.
September 25, 2015
Emilia Azcárate, Marta Chilindrón, Diana de Solares & Mariela Scafati: Folding: Line, Space & Body https://abstractioninaction.com/happenings/emilia-azcarate-marta-chilindron-diana-de-solares-mariela-scafati-folding-line-space-body/
Artists: Regina Aprijaskis, Emilia Azcárate, Valerie Brathwaite, Feliza Bursztyn, Marta Chilindrón, Mirtha Dermisache, Diana de Solares, Noemí Escandell, María Freire, Gego (Gertrud Goldschmidt), Anna Bella Geiger, Mercedes Elena González, Ana Mercedes Hoyos, Elizabeth Jobim, Judith Lauand, Ana Maria Maiolino, Marta Minujín, Mercedes Pardo, Liliana Porter, Margot Römer, Lotty Rosenfeld, Ana Sacerdote, Fanny Sanín, Adriana Santiago, Mariela Scafati, Antonieta Sosa, and Yeni & Nan.
Folding is the action through which a line turns into a figure, a plane becomes tridimensional, and a painting becomes an object. And beyond all these actions, we see how representation becomes presentation.
Since the historical avant-garde, the quest for an art that transcended the representation of reality has led artists to create abstract art and to focus on the material objecthood of a painting or sculpture. This exhibition presents the work of Latin American women artists from the 1950s through the present day, showing the different ways in which they worked with abstraction and geometry to explore the space of the artwork and that of the spectator, as mediated by the body.
Latin American abstraction has gained recognition worldwide in the last decade. Exhibitions like “Inverted Utopias,” curated by Mari Carmen Ramírez and Héctor Olea in 2004 and “The Geometry of Hope,” curated by Gabriel Pérez-Barreiro in 2007, presented the diverse abstract movements that developed in the Post War Latin American metropolis, from Joaquín Torres García and Escuela del Sur in Montevideo, to Arte Concreto Invención and Madí in Buenos Aires, the Ruptura group in São Paulo and the work of Alejandro Otero and Jesús Rafael Soto in Caracas.
In all of these avant-garde scenes, women artists gained—not without struggle—a place of recognition and a social circle in which they could develop their profession with relative tolerance. Still, except a few exceptions like Gego, Lygia Clark and Lygia Pape, it is mostly male artists we see represented in museums and art history books. This exhibition does not intend to resolve that problem, which is of a much larger scale, but aims to present some of their production and to explore the formal and creative connections among this diverse group of artists from the continent. This show also chooses to escape the historical understanding of abstraction, which is referred to here not as the Post-war movement but more broadly as a creative strategy that has continued through the decades. In this way, Judith Lauand’s planimetric work of 1960 can be seen alongside the contemporary pyramidal sculptures of Marta Chilindrón, and the use of the grid in 1950s and 1960s abstraction can be observed in Anna Bella Geiger’s video Passagens II from 1974 or in Emilia Azcarate’s Sudoku series from 2009.
The earliest-made piece in the show is that of Uruguayan artist María Freire, who co-founded in 1952 the group Arte No-Figurativo along with her husband José Pedro Costigliolo, Antonio Llorens and other artists. Works like Composición vertical (1956), show her interest in orthogonal compositions and planar superimpositions, which along with her use of line demonstrate her interest not simply in abstraction and space but more specifically in dynamism. In a similar spirit, but resulting in a very different work, Judith Lauand’s Concrete 178 (1960) presents a flat geometric composition, in monochrome grays, that through a careful use of lines and planes suggests a volumetric and angular surface. Known as the “Dama do concretismo,” Lauand was the only female member of Brazil’s Grupo Ruptura, and created unique works through a very personal use of geometry, mathematics and space.
In contrast, Mercedes Pardo’s acrylic painting Untitled (c. 1975) explores space recession not through line but using color fields. The Venezuelan artist, who was a pioneer of abstract art in Venezuela along with her husband Alejandro Otero, focused on a sensorial use of color in abstract compositions to achieve the autonomy of painting. Along with Pardo, the other representative of geometric abstraction from Venezuela in this exhibition is Margot Römer, whose triptych from the series Plomos Despojados (1995) uses the panel subdivisions to present three variations of a rectangular structure by alternating the color distribution. A similar emphasis in color is seen in Acrylic No. 7, painted in 1978 by Colombian artist Fanny Sanín, who creates a complex arrangement of intersecting rectangles of different purple hues. This simple alteration of tone in one color still allows Sanín to create a rich composition of receding planes that suggests rhythmic movement and dynamism. Indeed, movement is directly incorporated in Essai de Couleur Animée, a film made by Ana Sacerdote in between 1959 and 1965 in which she interposes geometric chromatic compositions, animating their shapes.
The case of Regina Aprijaskis exemplifies the difficulties of being a woman artist and of combining work and personal life. The Peruvian artist was developing a fruitful career and became interested in abstraction in the 1950s and 1960s after two trips to New York, but abandoned painting in 1970 following the coup d’état in Peru two years earlier, to work alongside her husband in his factory. Her 1996 acrylic painting Negro, rojo y blanco demonstrates how her interest in geometric abstraction stayed intact after a 26-year hiatus, at the same time the choice of the Peruvian flag’s colors seems to speak directly about her country’s political and social struggles.
Other works in the show leave color aside and refer to the white monochrome also with the means of exploring geometry and space. That is the case of Ana Mercedes Hoyos’ 1970s series Atmósferas, where subtle variations of white hues suggest surfaces on the canvas. Similarly, Anna Maria Maiolino’s Light Image (1971) depends on a simple square embossing on paper to invoke the tradition of the monochrome. The square is also the theme of Gego’s Dibujo sin papel 79/14, made in 1979. Famous for her Reticuláreas, or net sculptures, in this work the Venezuelan artist uses wire and metal to frame a piece of the wall, allowing the shadow to become part of the work, continuing the integration of work and exhibition space that allowed her work to spatially affect the spectator.
The relationship between the gallery space and the visitor’s body became a main topic of interest for artists in the late 1960s, notably within Minimalism and among Western artists, but similar creative inquiries were being made in Latin America. Argentinean artist Noemí Escandell created sculptural projects such as Rectangles and Squares and Volumes, Bodies and Displacements, both from 1966, in which basic geometric shapes are combined in odd dispositions to affect the tridimensional perception of the object. In Venezuela, Antonieta Sosa was doing similar work with pieces like Stable-Unstable (1967/2014), which put into question geometry and the laws of gravity while simultaneously presenting organically aesthetic objects.
The body would later be presented directly, rather than invoked, in the work of artists such as Liliana Porter and Yeni & Nan. The Argentine is represented with her 1973 work Untitled (Line), in which her finger is photographed as interrupting a line, one that transcends the frame of the work onto the real space of the wall. In the Polaroid series Cuerpo y línea (1977), the Venezuelan duo Yeni & Nan position their bodies along the geometric designs of a tennis court, evolving the linear and geometric tradition of their home country to include performance and body art.
The urban space is also the canvas chosen by Brazilian conceptual artist Anna Bella Geiger, whose video Passagens II (1974) shows her body creating diagonal trajectories in the grid-like formation of the steps of a stairway. In a similar approach, Lotty Rosenfeld’s ongoing series Geometría de la línea, begun in 1979, intervenes the infinite number of broken white lines that divide a road with intersecting, transversal lines, in a formal but also powerfully political performance associated to her participation in the CADA group protesting the dictatorship in Chile. The relationship between geometry and power is explicit in Marta Minujín’s The Obelisk Lying Down (1978). The work, created for the first Latin American Biennial in São Pablo, presents the geometrical structure of the famous monumental form lying down, allowing spectators to walk through it in a democratizing and desacralizing gesture.
In the exhibition we also encounter more expressive uses of abstraction, where experimentation with materials led to more free-flowing forms. This is the case of Mirtha Dermisache’s graphisms from the 1970s, where the lines drawn by the Argentine artist sinuously move to create abstract texts. The abstract sculpture Untitled (1981) by Colombian artist Feliza Brusztyn, who in 1967 created the famous series of motorized sculptures Las histéricas, also combines dissonant materials into visually striking, amorphous objects. Trinidanian artist Valerie Brathwaite opts for anti-geometric shapes in her Soft Bodies, a series initiated in 2011, where the hanging and floor fabric sculptures play fluidly between the borders of figuration and abstraction.
After all these decades, geometry is still very much present in the work of younger artists. Sometimes the continuity takes place by claiming geometric abstraction directly, like Mercedes Elena González’s series September 1955 (2014), which re-conceptualizes the cover of the inaugural issue of the art and architecture magazine Integral to reevaluate the legacy of modernism in Venezuela. Others adapt geometric abstraction into new formats, like the wood piece Untitled (Free Construction No. 1) (2005) by Diana de Solares. In the case of Elizabeth Jobim’s Wall (2015), geometric shapes invade the wall and floor, overlapping each other and creating optical layers. Emilia Azcárate’s Untitled (Sudoku), from 2009 takes the grid of that game as influence and codifies numbers into colors, allowing her to create a meditative abstraction that juxtaposes the game’s problem with its solution. Formally opposite to this grid but equally colorful is Adriana Santiago’s Untitled from the series Maracaibo(2015), which combines pompoms into a frame in a playful and appealing tactile composition. The work of Marta Chilindrón retakes the tradition of dynamic planes and shapes of Gego and Lygia Clark but includes color as a key part of her manipulable works such as 27 Triangles (2011). Finally, Mariela Scafati goes back to the original questions of abstract painting in her works Tu nombre completo and Nueve minutos exactos, both from 2015, which literally –through bondage ropes— and conceptually –by transforming them into objects— tense the possibilities of what a painting can be: not a representation but an object, a body itself.
These interactions between the artwork, its surrounding spaces and the bodies that interact with it are present through the sixty years in which these artworks were created. The formal explorations initiated by the historical avant-gardes have not, as proven by the younger generation, exhausted themselves. This group of women artists from Latin America offer a wide range of answers to these questions, all personal but also collective. The line and the plane not only folded but became the body, expanding the shape of art above and beyond.
Embracing the instability of perspective and form, New York artist Marta Chilindron (b. 1951, Buenos Aires) creates manipulable sculptures in transparent and colored acrylics. Adapted from such basic geometric shapes as spheres, cubes, and pyramids, her artworks conceal their identity as complex, kinetic constructions. Constructed from multiple panels connected by hinges, Chilindron’s sculptures are charged with transformative potential that, when activated by the viewer, cause the works to expand//fold//collapse.
An heir to international constructivism, Chilindron’s artworks recall the influence of such artists as Naum Gabo, Lygia Clark, and Donald Judd. However, to this tradition Chilindron adds her own investigations based on her interest in the dynamism and mutability of life. Controlled by the viewer yet mediated by their constructed forms, her artworks transform shape, shift from the second to the third dimension, and extend and contract into space. Magnified by the chromatic interplay caused by the effects of light, these changes underlie the core of her artistic practice.
Providing a dramatic contrast to the ornate interior of the Duke House, seven works by the artist will be on view in the lobby and vestibule of the Institute of Fine Arts for the Fall 2014 Great Hall Exhibition. Focusing on Chilindron’s engagement with idealized geometric forms, these works, executed between 2006 and 2014, will show the diversity of the artist’s practice, ranging from table-top objects such as the curvilinear Helix (2011) to her large-scale Cube 48 Orange (2014). This latter work represents Chilindron’s expansion into immersive sculptural environments, and is being shown in New York for the first time since its debut in the Encounters exhibition at Art Basel Hong Kong, held in spring 2014.
October 29, 2014
Marta Chilindrón, Magdalena Fernández & Jaime Tarazona: Degrees of Separation https://abstractioninaction.com/happenings/marta-chilindron-magdalena-fernandez-jaime-tarazona-degrees-separation/
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.
In Dialogues, both artists explore geometry and transparency within their respective practices. Chilindron’s brightly-colored acrylic sculptures range from 12-inch cubes to almost 6-foot high movable trapezoids and spirals. Hinged together, these works can be reconfigured into variations on each shape, creating an interactive conversation with the viewer. Hasper’s untitled acrylic paintings on canvas also take geometry as their starting point. Overlapping and repeated shapes in a palette of bold colors are layered to allow for surprising juxtapositions and vibrant relationships between forms. Hasper’s paintings, like Chilindron’s sculptures, are not fixed in space; they can be installed vertically or horizontally, or changed over the course of the exhibition.
Dialogues places these exquisite constructions and paintings in counterpoint with one another, pointing out their conceptual and aesthetic points of intersection.
New Dialogues is a curatorial exercise, work in progress, that will reflect on the resignificance of the work of art through dialogue, contextualization, association, and juxtaposition. Throughout the summer, selected works of the gallery’s artists will share the space creating situations that will generate or identify new perspectives.
Image: Leyden Rodriguez-Casanova. Round Faux Marble, 2014, Vinyl, Wood, Steel, 41 1/2 X 41 1/2 X 12 Inches (105.41 X 105.41cm).
July 9, 2014
The Wall Street Journal: Art Fair Riding Emerging Wave https://abstractioninaction.com/happenings/wall-street-journal-art-fair-riding-emerging-wave/
Pinta NY’s chairman Diego Costa Peuser, right, and U.S. director, Ian Cofre, discuss Marta Chilindron‘s ‘Ring, 2013,’ which will be in the fair. Andrew Hinderaker for The Wall Street Journal
Pinta NY, Founded in 2007, Deals With a Much Expanded Latin American Art Market
When Diego Costa Peuser founded Pinta NY in 2007, it was credited with being New York’s first fair dedicated to Latin American modern and contemporary art, shining a spotlight on an emerging and relatively untapped body of work.
When the show opens for its seventh edition on Thursday at the 82Mercer Conference Center, it will do so in a much-changed field.”Ten years ago, there was no [Latin American] presence at fairs like Art Basel,” said Mr. Costa Peuser, the fair’s executive director. “Now, the presence of Latin American art is strong, and the U.S. and Europe are looking toward these emerging markets.” According to the analytics firm ArtTactic, Latin American art-auction sales in New York for the first half of this year totaled $37.3 million, up 2% from the year-earlier period. Pinta organizers expect some 18,000 guests, a far cry from the 2,000 they saw in its first year.
As such, Pinta has made several changes to its structure, including higher standards. About 60 galleries will be showing this year, out of the roughly 140 that applied.
“There is greater competition across fairs, and people seek out sectors where there’s something curated,” said Mr. Costa Peuser, who ran the arteaméricas fair in Miami before creating Pinta. “Collectors find having a filter for what they’ll see more interesting.”
He gave industry professionals like Ian Cofre, the fair’s U.S. director, and Octavio Zaya, who curated the Spanish pavilion at this year’s Venice Biennale, free rein to choose works they deemed interesting. For example, Mr. Zaya, who directed a segment of the show dedicated to video art, picked an installation by Richard Garet, who recently showed at the Museum of Modern Art’s sound-art exhibition.
But can Pinta compete in an increasingly hectic art calendar? It takes place less than a month before Art Basel Miami Beach, a major lure for Latin American collectors. Christie’s is also aiming to auction off more than 300 pieces of Latin American art at a sale dedicated to the region next week.
Mr. Costa Peuser is adamant Pinta can, pointing to the fair’s niche status as an attraction on its own part. “The public at Pinta is not the same as at Basel because it is a much smaller fair, and collectors can come and talk at length to gallerists and artists,” he said.
He added that “the relationship with the auction houses is complementary, and collectors can attend both with different expectations of what they’ll see.”
One person who hopes he’s right is Cecilia De Torres, whose eponymous SoHo gallery is selling works from the Uruguayan artist Joaquín Torres García, such as “Anvers, 1910,” a haunting maritime oil-on-canvas painting, and rainbow-colored acrylic sculptures by Argentina’s Marta Chilindron.
“A lot of the artists I represent were either Europeans or the children of European immigrants,” said Ms. De Torres, “so I would love to see people who collect such art come and look at this different approach in the same tradition.”
Click here to read the article from The Wall Street Journal.
November 15, 2013
Marta Chilindrón https://abstractioninaction.com/artists/marta-chilindron/
My focus has always been on questioning the accuracy of our perception, our interpretation of reality. I have tried to capture the state of flux of everything. Participation of the viewer is important because it brings the person into the sculpture; the public is the performer and the viewer, and that dual involvement is an important element of my work. I explore the ideas of sequencing, beginning and end, making objects that are simple networks with no definite shape and that exist between the second and third dimension with infinite possible configurations.
Traducido del inglés
Mi enfoque siempre ha sido el cuestionar la precisión de nuestra percepción, de nuestra interpretación de la realidad. He intentado capturar el estado de flujo de todas las cosas. La participación del espectador es importante porque trae a la persona dentro de la escultura; el público es el que realiza el performance y el espectador, y esa participación binaria es un elemento importante de mi obra. Exploro ideas de secuencia, principio y fin, realizando objetos que son redes simples sin forma definida y que existen entre la segunda y tercera dimensión, con configuraciones posibles infinitas.
Selected Biographical Information
Education / Training
1980: BFA, State University of New York at Old Westbury.