Donation to the Fundación Reina Sofía
Generational diversity and a spectrum of artistic practicesMonday, March 11, 2019
The following text, written by the Museo Reina Sofía, is a brief contextual overview of the artists and their artworks that were included in the CPPC’s donation of contemporary Latin American artworks to the Fundación Museo Reina Sofía in March 2019. For more information, please visit the donation page here.
A review of the artists by their countries of origin begins with Sigfredo Chacón (Venezuela, 1950), with his works Autorretrato (1975) and Dibujo sin título (1987), which combine painting, graphic design, and drawing and allow us to trace the aesthetic rupture that marks Venezuelan conceptualism.
A key figure in the Venezuelan vanguard movement, whose work escapes easy typecasting, is Héctor Fuenmayor (Venezuela, 1949), represented in the donation by three works: the triptych Cruz y ficción (1978), the installation Muerte y resurrección (1974–1994), Right and Wrong (1983–1990), and the art book Miranda en la Carraca, algunas transformaciones (1977).
Roberto Obregón (Colombia-Venezuela, 1946–2003) explores conceptual approaches with his experience as a botanical illustrator as his base. Using a variety of techniques, including photography, watercolor, photocopy, and collage, his works are a record of nature. In Pe Eme, from his earlier series Proyecto masada, the artist examines the topic of suicide, social violence, and depression.
José Gabriel Fernández
In his work Boceto para una historia natural del Edén (1994), José Gabriel Fernández (Venezuela, 1957) uses daily materiality—wallpaper with floral motifs, its foliage intervened with graffiti from men’s bathrooms—to underline that the construction of sexual identity is intimately interwoven with spatial politics.
Jaime Castro Oróztegui
The work of Jaime Castro Oróztegui (Venezuela, 1968) grows from his formation as a sculptor and his interest in reflecting on the landscape and its function throughout art history. In his works Long Island, There is no Mountain Higher (1998), and Paisaje 12.2001 (2001), he explores the many ways of representing landscape through manipulated materiality, in which technology and raw material create new interpretations of spaces.
With his interest in spatial relationships, Alí González (Venezuela, 1962), uses installation to question museum spaces and creates a new order that opens routes of communication. Sin título (2000) is a rocking chair covered in a web of cords, which can be interpreted as the materialization of the restrictions imposed by the social construction of gender.
The donation of works also includes pieces by artists interested in cultural experimentation, such as Oscar Machado (Venezuela, 1953). In a work from his series Echando raíces (1996–1997), iron wire and cement serve as tools to interpellate space, showing the lightness of the iron and the immobility of the cement’s weight.
Concerned with material mobility, artist Magdalena Fernández (Venezuela, 1964) is represented in this set of works with one of her “mobile drawings,” titled Cubo móvil (1998), in which lines and aluminum structures invite physical interaction with viewers.
Augusto Villalba (Venezuela, 1963), offers reflections on materiality and its purpose, both artistic and social, through a pictorial language that seeks to unite found objects and daily visual noise. Color is a significant element in his work, and his piece Sin título from the series Jazz (1997) utilizes color as a sculptural strategy.
In turn, Arturo Herrera (Venezuela, 1959) utilizes visual fragments to create collages, sculptures and murals that exist between legibility and abstraction. The artist’s trajectory is represented by a collage-drawing, Untitled (2004), in which the work plays with presence and absence in an almost sculptural way, exploring occupied space and emptiness.
Known for his long-running work on mental illness, madness, and otherness, Javier Téllez (Venezuela, 1969), is the author of six color posters titled Cactus prints, from the series A Season in Hell (1997), which portray scenes from the Venezuelan prison Tocuyito. Each poster boasts a slogan promoting the country’s tourism industry during the decade of the 1970s. The tension between image and words makes the machinery of exclusion visible.
Among the Brazilian artists whose works are included in the donation is Rubens Gerchman (Brazil, 1942), a painter and sculptor deeply influenced by concrete and neo-concrete art and connected to psychedelic and pop art. His works explore diverse themes, from urban isolation and alienation to the geopolitical location of Latin American. The work donated is titled Burnt perfume (1971).
Angelo Venosa (Brazil, 1954) is one of the few sculptors to form part of “Geração 80,” a movement that reevaluated the imaginary and the spontaneous gesture of the artist, mainly through painting. The piece included in this set is Autorretrato (1999).
Marcos Coelho Benjamim
In his work Sem titulo (1992), Marcos Coelho Benjamim (Brazil, 1952) utilizes repurposed materials with rough, worn surfaces to create tridimensional sculptures and installations, emphasizing the popular culture of Minas Gerais, its tradition of artisan crafts, and its recycling of found materials.
In both her sculptural works and drawings Ester Grinspum (Brazil, 1955) seeks an interiority that opposes clarity and constructive logic linked to modernity. She employs a premeditated subjective vocabulary, constituted by icons of her own creation as well as those from art history. Two of her untitled works on paper are included in the donation.
Valeska Soares (Brazil, 1957) stands out in the Brazilian vanguard from the end of the 1980s to the beginning of the 90s. Since 1992 her work has been positioned across multiple platforms, centering on topics such as the globalized art world, geography, cultural and national identity, discipline or form. Sem título (from Detour) (2005) and Wishes 22 (1996) are the works by this artist that will now be part of the Museum’s collection.
Engraver and sculptor Maurício Ruiz (Brazil, 1958) interrogates himself though materials and the color they provide, inquiring into the mechanisms we activate to recognize ourselves, whether through our traditions, our communities or simply as individuals, as can be appreciated in works such as Untitled (1995).
His paintings, drawings and engravings make Paulo Pasta (Brazil, 1959) one of the most recognized artists from 1990s São Paulo scene, working in abstraction from an affective and poetic perspective. His work is Sem título, a canvas from 1994.
The artist Fernanda Gomes (Brazil, 1960) utilizes leftover materials, quotidian objects, or cast-off furniture, and her works stand out for being widely linked to the spaces in which they unfold. In the case of Sem título, from 1994, she uses paper and thread.
Painter and sculptor Nuno Ramos (Brazil, 1960) is a multifaceted artist who utilizes different supports and materials, combining engraving, painting, photography, installation, poetry, and video. The art book Balada (1995) is an example of this.
Rosângela Rennó (Brazil, 1962) uses photographs from public and private archives to question the nature of the image and its symbolic value, as occurs in Sem título (XXYX) –in oblivionem, from 1994. Interested in the discarded image and appropriation, Rennó emulates the habits of the collector by putting different images together.
Edgard de Souza
Edgard de Souza (Brazil, 1962) experiments with the creation of tridimensional objects, drawing, engraving, and painting. He produces objects and sculptures, such as Sem título (1997), that look into the human form, approaching a surrealist imaginary that conveys a sensation of familiarity and estrangement.
In Untitled (2004), Paulo Climachauska (Brazil, 1962) combines drawing and painting to inquire into the relationships between art, economics and society, postulating that the line is not something that is traced but rather a mathematical sequence that allows us to reflect on the connections between the value of a work of art and its social function.
Rosana Palazyan (Brazil, 1963) experiments with multiple techniques that cross diverse disciplines—from embroidery and drawing to performance and urban installation—to create works that explore how narrative is constructed in the smallest of details. In Sem título (1994) she employs burned and embroidered fabric.
Iran do Espírito Santo
The work of Iran do Espírito Santo (Brazil, 1963) shows a subtle subversion of minimalism through daily abstract elements. As seen in Tomogramas (1995) and Sem título (1997), Espírito Santo is concerned with the tactile attributes of the materials chosen and their sensual contours of simple abstract forms in space.
Exploring the dichotomy between that which is made in series and that which is one of a kind—between the continuous and the discontinuous—the sculptural paintings of Marcia Thompson (Brazil, 1968) such as Transparente (1996) request a gaze that is not uniform, that is capable of perceiving singularities within an apparently homogenous whole.
José Damasceno (Brazil, 1968) has known how to create his own language without renouncing the influence of his predecessors, such as Lygia Clark, Helio Oiticica and Cildo Meireles. He combines sensorial, interactive poetics with a personal universe, marked by his references to surrealism and his frequent use of humor. His works 2 estudos sobre 1 dimensão perdida (1996) and A carta (nó) (2005) are part of the donation.
The works of Argentine Eduardo Costa (1940) included in this set—Cuña blanca (1998-1999) and Black Cube (1998-1999)—correspond to the artist’s proposals regarding painting, creating his “volumetric paintings,” as they are known: sculptural forms constructed exclusively with paint.
Miguel Ángel Ríos
Miguel Ángel Ríos (Argentina, 1943) combines a rigorously conceptual approach with a meticulously constructed handmade aesthetic. In his untitled work from 1994, this artist transforms cardboard into a space full of lines, converting the everyday in a complex territory of movement.
His compatriot Fabian Marcaccio (Argentina, 1963) utilizes digital and industrial techniques. In the work Dead, No No model #2 (1992), he fossilizes painting, mixing oil with silicone.
Colombian artist Danilo Dueñas (1956) experiments with materials and found objects (readymades) to create pictorial constructions with multiple interpretations that, when harmoniously paired with the context in which they are exhibited, manage to question, evoke, and unbalance the viewer. This is the case with El sembrador (1991) and Velocidades (2005).
The work of Mexican artist José Dávila (1974) originates in the symbolic languages that work within the history of Western visual art and culture. In works such as his intervened book S,M,L,XL (2000) these languages are reconfigured as contradictory relationships, taking the correspondence between form and content to its limits.
Lastly, we will cite the work Untitled (1997), composed of nontraditional materials that create optical illusions of movement, by Teresita Fernández (United States, 1968). The artists is known for her large scale sculptures and public installations made of diverse materials, such as thread, aluminum, acrylic, and plastic or glass beads.