exhibitions & projects
Cuban Concrete Art
Works on Paper
A comprehensive survey 1949-1960's
January 18, 2018 through March 15 2018
Sandu Darie. "Estructura Transformable" c1949 Sandu Darie showing "Estructura Transformable" to Walter Gropius, Havana 1953
Heralded recently as the last revolutionary movement of the first half of the XX century, Cuban Concrete Art accompanied the incipient and later ebullient social revolution of Cuba during the 1950’s witnessing and evidencing the changes in the spirit of a nation in search for a cultural identity beyond their insular confines. Their art not only found a local promising receoption but was at the times the most traveled and exhibited movement from Latin America into Europe and the United States. Influenced by the artistic diaspora of the 1940’s from Europe into Latin America and later by those members that had the privilege of traveling to Europe in the post war, Cuban Concretism emerged from the philosophies and aesthetics of both, the European Neo-Platicism, Constructivism, and Suprematism, and in more direct way, from the Argentinean MADI and Concrete movements. Few works remain from the period, and works on paper are the most difficult to find given the lack of interest on the movement by successive generations that favored the social realism championed by the revolution. More so, conditions of humidity and lack of proper storage led to lost of most works on paper. Fortunately some of those works survived and over the last years we have gathered a number of important and iconic works by the 'Grupo de los 10' which we present along with period/vintage documents that makes this findings the most relevant to date.
Ernesto Briel @ S2 Gallery.
July 2017 through Sep 2017
Born in 1943, Cuban artist Ernesto Briel found inspiration in Optical Art amidst the constraints and limitations of his native country in the two decades following the triumph of the Cuban revolution. Facing both the isolation imposed by the US cultural embargo of the sixties, and the relentless persecution by the Castro regime against homosexuality during the early seventies, Briel found motivation in these challenges that would nurture his prolific artistic life. He was instrumental in the circulation of geometric abstraction in Cuba at this time. Many of his artworks that are included in this exhibition were printed in Signos; a national magazine published in a conscious effort to prevent cultural isolation. Briel left Cuba through the Mariel boatlift in 1980 and continued his practice in New York, receiving the Cintas Foundation fellowship award in 1989 and exhibiting in a number of solo and group shows. These exhibitions included the now historically relevant Duo Geo show in 1992, which featured Briel’s work alongside his friend and fellow Cuban artist, Carmen Herrera. Briel died due to AIDS related complications in 1993. His legacy lives through the myriad of challenges he overcame and his commitment to his artistic practice, especially the international language of Op Art, as a means to transcend cultural boundaries.
Concretism in the Americas
There are but a few art movements that have uninterruptedly flourished for more than four decades, inspired intercontinental manifestos, and reversed to its origins to re-ignite artistic movements as Concretism did. First coined by Theo van doesburg in 1930 under the premise of “nothing is more concrete, more real, than a line, a color, a plane”, Concretism found echo in Latin America through the artistic diaspora ensued by the socio-political and economical adversities of Europe of the 1930’s. Concretism intentions were ambitious, to synchronize abstract art with the rationalized values of a well-planned, modern society; conscious, pre conceived, anti abstract. Paradoxically pragmatic, Concretism found continuity in Latinamerica through the passionate involvement of its local artists and their revolutionary spirit. Argentina was the first country to embrace and evolve within the ideas of the Concrete manifesto giving origin to Arte Concreto Invencion, the MADI art movement, and Perceptismo; contextually, similar movements emerged later in Uruguay. Brazil followed inspired by Max Bill's visit to the country in 1950 and 1951, giving origin to the Ruptura and Frente groups. And last was Cuba, whose pictorial revolution accompanyed a revolution of its own. We present a group of selected artworks that best represent the Concrete origins of Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil and Cuba.