The Sites of Latin American Art:Selections from the Ella Fontanals-Cisneros Collection

16Nov09

The Sites of Latin American Abstraction:Selections from the Ella Fontanals-Cisneros Collection is on view now through through January 24, 2010. The exhibition proposes a fresh approach to the Latin American tradition of geometric abstract art produced between the decades of the 1930s and the 1970s.

The unorthodox and innovative exhibition format, curated by Juan Ledezma and organized by the Cisneros-Fontanals Art Foundation, Miami,  embraces a broad collection of works by 81 Latin American artists such as Joaquín Torres-García, Jesús Soto, Carlos Cruz-Diez, Gego, Lygia Clark, Hélio Oiticica, Mira Schendel, Julio Le Parc, Alejandro Otero and Carlos Rojas. Ledezma’s curatorial perspective allows a much broader connection between well-known masters and newly recognized or lesser known artists and photographers who were active in the artistic centers of Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Uruguay and Venezuela.

Exhibition curator Juan Ledezma’s approach to the reading of this history is organized according to a conceptual and aesthetic structure and visual balance of sites, locales or focuses. The visually engaging display of 200 works gives the viewer the opportunity to appreciate an abstract aesthetic which spans from traditional forms of media (painting, sculpture and drawing) to public spaces, established by the axis of locating the grid, writing and the city as sites where the art and its place of creation is conceptually considered as an interaction between the concrete (city, urban or industrial) and the abstract (line, plane, rhythm, movement and mechanization). The reference to the city is amplified by the novel inclusion of photography, grounding the abstract aesthetic to the concrete sites where artists and ideas converge.

To cite a few examples of the exhibition’s format, a selection of paintings and photograms by Geraldo de Barros (Brazil, 1923-1998) pose vigorously composed geometric representations of domestic objects, industrial buildings and technical processes in concert with paintings by Alejandro Otero (Venezuela, 1921-1990) and Waldemar Cordeiro (Brazil, 1925-1973), whose use of line and plane generate a rhythmic force that, according to Otero, expand the pictorial landscape beyond the frame and push out into the public sphere. Hélio Oiticica’s (Brazil, 1937-1980) gouache on paper of a grid pattern references the city structure, pulling it into the confined framework of the picture, while the large scale of Gego’s (Germany 1912-1994, worked in Venezuela) suspended sculpture, titled Reticulárea Cuadrada (Square Grid) expands the structural form beyond itself. Kinetic structures by Julio Le Parc (Argentina, 1928) and Abraham Palatnik (Brazil,1928) redefine the concepts of collective interaction, inviting the viewer to participate in the operation of the pieces.

The Sites of Latin American Abstraction is accompanied by a fully-illustrated 248-page hardbound catalog for sale in the museum store.

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