At Fondation Cartier, Geometry is Latin American!

Valdivia Sculpture, Ecuador, Stele with an owl shape, 3500–1500 B.C. Volcanic tuff,
Collection P. Janssen-Arts, © Hugo Maertens, Bruges

 

Fondation Cartier has accustomed us to fun and high quality exhibitions ranging from architecture to African art and photography. This time, “Southern geometries from Mexico to Patagonia” could seem like an aggregate of shapes and colors that have nothing in common. But it actually gives us a leading thread between pre Hispanic art and today’s Indian and contemporary art. It is entertaining and surprising.

Juliana Sanchez, Lucia de Rojas, Adelina de Gonzales, bags, 2017, Nivaklé, Paraguay

I was first struck on the ground floor of Jean Nouvel’s building, by a series of 22 net like steel sculptures by Gego, a Venezuelan born Gertrud Louise Goldschmidt in Hamburg in 1912. Her drawings in space (Dibujos sin papel) are beautifully presented in front of the garden and were collected for this show by Cartier foundation curator Leanne Sacramone. 

Leanne Sacramone is the curator for the Gego (Gertrud Louise Goldschmidt) 22 pieces installation

Next to her very fine structures,  stands a heavy wall by Solano Benitez and Gloria Cabral, architects in Asuncion, Paraguay. The geometry of the broken bricks and concrete is a skillful game of equilibrium, shadow and light and its massive presence plays whimsically with the steel columns of Gego. Both artists fit perfectly in the glass architecture of the building.

Solano Benitez & Gloria Cabral designed this geometrical piece for the show: 144 panels of broken brick and concrete

Downstairs, one falls immediately into the darkness of  Olga de Amaral‘s “Brumas” lent by La Patinoire Royale in Brussels. This Colombian artist works on curtains made of  cotton, acrylic and light.

A series of bags woven in Paraguay bring geometry to fabrics. Ecuador is represented by pre Columbian Valdivia sculptures, while Mexico shows photographs of Neo Inca walls in Peru and Bolivia by Pablo Lopez Luz.

Pablo Lopez Luz, 2015-2016, Neo Inca photo, Collection Leticia and Stanislas Poniatowski

I particularly liked a ceramics vase by another Mexican, Gustavo Pérez. Indigenous geometry is well represented throughout the show by baskets, textiles, masks and body paintings from Paraguay and Brazil. And architecture, which is very strong in Latin America, is very present here with Paolo Gasparini’s photographs, Anna Mariani’s façade series and Facundo de Zuviria’s photographs in Uruguay.

Gustavo Perez, Untitled, 1994, ceramic

By now you will have guessed that this exhibition is mostly a wonderful walk through exotic shapes and images and the delightful garden of the Cartier foundation is a pretty place to sit in after the visit. There are also a number of talks and concerts in the evenings in the program Soirées nomades. (Until Feb 24, 2019, Fondation Cartier)

Martin Gusinde, Terre de Feu, Argentina and Chili, Ulen, Selk’nam people, 1923. Private collection, Paris © Martin Gusinde / Anthropos Institut / Éditions Xavier Barral

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