The 2019 edition of Dialogues, curated by Kiki Mazzucchelli, focused on the various correspondences between the work of contemporary artists from Latin America and Europe.
The re-evaluation of hegemonic art historical narratives has been at the forefront of art historical debates in the past two decades. In this context, the legacy of Latin American avant-gardes has gained unprecedented recognition: today artists such as Lygia Clark (BR), Julio Le Parc (ARG), Hélio Oiticica (BR), Jesus Rafael Soto (VEN), to name but a few, have become a major influence in the work of emerging artists worldwide.
These historical artists were in constant conversation with European modernism, claiming a strategic universalism to produce alternative forms of modernity grounded on their country’s specific cultural and social backgrounds. Within the increasingly internationalised contemporary art circuit in the new century, their pioneering contributions to the global vanguard have finally been absorbed into the artistic canon. Meanwhile, a younger generation of artists from the region started their careers already immersed in a much more decentralised and heterogeneous international context.
Featuring works by contemporary artists from Latin America alongside international names, Dialogues provided a platform for highlighting their shared interest in a wide variety of issues that include, amongst others, the subversion of Modernist canons and the innovative approach to painting by female artists on both sides of the Atlantic.
Rolf Art and Maddox Arts. Photography by Charlotte Swinb
Domobaal’s presentation focused on a selection of works by contemporary artists who subvert the language of Abstract Modernism, including Nicky Hirst’s (UK) ‘domestic abstraction’ pieces and a mural painting by Lothar Gotz (GER) specifically commissioned for Dialogues. Incorporating elements drawn from Bauhaus and De Stijl, Brazilian late-avant garde movements established the vocabulary of geometric abstraction as one of the country’s most significant influences. Emmanuel Hervé brings together works by Ana Mazzei and Sérgio Sister, Brazilian artists from different generations who expand the vocabulary of Concrete and Neoconcrete art into the present.
Anima Mundi featured a solo presentation by London-based painter Rebecca Harper (UK), whose often large-scale, figurative works combine fiction, memory and observation to create plausible scenarios that constitute a record of everyday life in a cosmopolitan urban setting. At Square Art Projects, London-based Brazilian painter Goia Mujalli’s works offered a counterpoint to Harper’s focus on social life. Her often abstract, multi-layered paintings borrow their motifs from the lush nature of her hometown Rio de Janeiro to explore ideas around cultural identity through the use of colour, mark-making, movement, transparency and erasure. Alongside Mujalli, the gallery presented a series of ceramic works by Russian artist Elena Gileva inspired by both the formal and historical character of artefacts, creating a fictional archaeology through contemporary objects.
The theme of new perspectives on painting by female artist continued at Cob Gallery, who put together a dual presentation by Katja Angeli (DEN) and Alba Hodsoll (UK). Angeli draws on the tradition of collage within a digital context to create ambiguous, quasi-abstract compositions, that suggest the movement of non-gendered bodies in space. Sexuality is at the forefront of Hodsoll’s works in paint and ink, where crisp lines Sand restrained colour palettes combine with the negative space of the canvas to produce a distinctive vision of feminine physicality. Kubik showed a selection of portrait paintings by Ana Prata (BR) and sculptures by Felipe Cohen (BR). Both artists are interested in exploring and subverting the conventions of their mediums of choice. Over the past decade, Prata has created a varied pictorial vocabulary that playfully encompasses the tropes of abstraction and figuration, while exploring different genres and styles.
Maddox Arts showed London-based painter Augusto Villaba (VEN), whose abstract works on paper result from a technique of employing found objects to apply layers of paint onto the surface that creates a trompe l’oeil effect, as if the object itself has been incorporated into the painting. The gallery also presented works by Dionisio Gonzalez’s (SPA), whose digitally-created photographs depict impossible architectures featuring imagined futuristic buildings and renderings of unbuilt projects with a hyperrealist effect. Rolf Art featured a solo presentation of Marcelo Brodsky (ARG) who – in contrast with Gonzalez – employs archival photography to create his work. In his ongoing series 1968 – The Fire of Ideas, Brodsky has conducted extensive research on photographic documentation of political movements around the globe (student uprisings, anti-war protests, anti-dictatorship demonstrations) appropriating and intervening on these images with texts and colour.
(S)ITOR hosted a solo presentation of artist Jesse A. Fernandez (CU, 1925-1986). Most widely known for his photographic portraits of renowned artists and writers, Fernandez produced a series of drawings which were included in the stand. The gallery also present a photographic dialogue between his portraits of iconic artists and his documentation of Palermo mummies, evoking the theme of artistic im(mortality). The surrealistic undertones of these images (also evoked in the portraits of Marcel Duchamp and Wilfredo Lam) echoed in the work of two Chilean artists shown at Perve Galeria: Miguel Huerta’s paintings featuring hybrid figures and fascinating scenarios and Aldo Alcota’s distinctive drawings and paintings depicting unique characters that escape the limits of the everyday life.
Lamb Arts brought together a selection of works by young painters from the Americas – including Mattea Perrotta (US), Tomaz Rosa (BR), and Tiago Tebet (BR) – shown alongside sculptures by Peruvian-American artist Patricia Camet. In her work, LA-based Perrotta creates abstract forms that are rendered in rough textures associated with masculinity to produce soft biomorphic forms suggestive of femininity. Rosa, on the other hand, subverted the modernist tropes of painting to explore different styles and methodologies. CASANOVA presented sculptural works by Ignacio Gatica (CH) whose aesthetics evoke simultaneously pre-Columbian artefacts and Minimalist art objects imbued with signs of consumerist culture. The gallery also featured a new series of drawings by Lina Kim (BR) referencing the idea of ornament in modern architecture.