Abstraction in Action 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 Amalia Pica: A∩B∩C∩A∩B∩C, a reading https://abstractioninaction.com/happenings/amalia-pica-a%e2%88%a9b%e2%88%a9c%e2%88%a9a%e2%88%a9b%e2%88%a9c-reading/


Artist: Amalia Pica

A∩B∩C∩A∩B∩C, a reading
Whitechapel Gallery
London, UK

The artist’s new immersive event centres on a projection of a film by Rafael Ortega, with actors narrating an abstract language of sounds, conceived by Amalia Pica.  The  film depicts a performance of Pica’s work A ∩ B ∩ C: a constellation of different configurations and intersections of shape and colour.  The performance continues the process of layering from the original work: from object, to performance, to film, returning again to performance.

March 27, 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 Cipriano Martínez https://abstractioninaction.com/artists/cipriano-martinez/

The rain of this valley
drags everything, slowly, toward its entrance,
it does not have another slope.

ITACA. For a homage to Konstantinos
Kavafis.  Eugenio Montejo.

Caracas, the place where I was born, is a city full of contrasts that grew exponentially in just half a century as a result of the oil boom. It is a place where memory is constantly blurred, and where another city grows from within. It is precisely this mutant character, this kind of patchwork, what makes it both complex and fascinating.

Serial repetitions, dislocated structures, changes in the scale of representation, frontal and aerial views, and obsessive patterns constitute the strategy that I use to approach a notion of chaos, or perhaps a desired order suitable of a city that appears in my paintings as a vestige.

In recent years, my oil paintings have become increasingly informed by my parallel interest in printmaking. These investigations of the printing process have lent my work a mathematical precision that I believe enforces the underlying themes of the work.

In the exhibition catalogue for Destructive Testing (Maddox Arts, 2012) Patricia Velasco writes “It is the changing geography and accidental  architecture of the city which captures the artist’s interest, the misshapen and vague  cartography, the metamorphosis of  architecture in a state of constant transformation, the variety and, from a temporal viewpoint, the unstable nature of the layout and tissue on which the modern city is built.”


La lluvia de este valle,
todo lo arrastra, despacio, hasta sus puertas,
no tiene otro declive.

ITACA. Para un homenaje a Konstantinos
Kavafis.  Eugenio Montejo.

Caracas, el lugar donde nací, es una ciudad llena de contrastes que creció exponencialmente en cuestión de medio siglo, como resultado del boom petrolero. Es un lugar donde la memoria se borra constantemente, y donde otra ciudad crece desde adentro. Es precisamente este carácter mutante, esa especie de patchwork lo que la hace compleja y fascinante a la vez.

Repeticiones seriales, estructuras dislocadas, cambios en la escala de representación, visiones frontal y cenital, ausencia de gesto, patrones obsesivos, forman parte de la estrategia que empleo para aproximarme a la noción de caos, o a un orden quizá deseado propio de una ciudad que aparece en mi pintura a modo de vestigio.

En los últimos años mis pinturas–óleo sobre tela–han recibido una influencia cada vez mayor de mi interés paralelo en las artes gráficas . Estas investigaciones en el proceso de impresión han ofrecido a mi trabajo una precisión que refuerza los temas fundamentales de la obra.

En la presentación del catálogo de la muestra Destructive Testing (Maddox Arts, 2012) Patricia Velasco escribe “Le interesa al artista la geografía cambiante y accidental de la ciudad, la cartografía mutante e imprecisa, la arquitectura que se metamorfosea y que está en constante transformación, la variabilidad y el carácter inestable desde el punto de vista temporal de los trazos y tejidos sobre los cuales se edifica la urbe moderna”

Selected Biographical Information

Education / Training

Prizes / Fellowships

Solo Exhibitions

Group Exhibitions 



January 21, 2015 Amalia Pica: Switchboard https://abstractioninaction.com/happenings/amalia-pica-switchboard/


Artist: Amalia Pica.

November 15, 2014 – March 1, 2015
Mostyn Gallery
Conwy, UK

Argentina-born artist Amalia Pica’s practice primarily explores her background; communal histories, myths, rites and traditions, as well as language and ways of communication. Her works include installation, photography, drawing and performance, with a specific focus on sculpture.

The exhibitions brings together work that looks at communication, particularly the act of listening and its ability to be both effective and also nuanced and fallible.

These themes, which have their basis in social interaction, will be reflected in the presentation of the work. Actions of touch and hearing are made equal and often as important as the viewer’s gaze.


December 12, 2014 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