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Article

Venezuelan, 20th century, male.

Born 22 August 1918, in Turmero.

Painter, collage artist. Landscapes, animals.

Abreu studied at the school of fine arts in Caracas, where from 1936 he associated with Cesario Enriquez, Matteo Manaure and in particular with Alejandro Otero and Pascual Navarro, who were both to play an important role in Venezuelan abstract art. Lively discussions took place between the five of them about the possibilities of rejecting the academic instruction that they were receiving and taking up contemporaneous forms of expression while preserving a typically Venezuelan identity. Several members of the group studied in Paris, where they were influenced by abstract painting. From ...

Article

Argentinian, 20th century, male.

Born 1928.

Painter. Scenes with figures.

A follower of the Surrealist painter, Juán Battle Planas, Aizenberg took up experiments in collage undertaken by Max Ernst. He created small pictures that present minuscule figures contemplating the dusk from high terraces in unknown towns in vast landscapes with infinite horizons. He used grey or gilt tonalities, which makes his canvases more intimate and secret....

Article

Horacio Safons

(b Federal, Entre Ríos, Aug 22, 1928; d Buenos Aires, Feb 19, 1996).

Argentine painter, draughtsman and collagist. He studied under Juan Batlle Planas from 1950 to 1953 and quickly established the terms of his work, rooted ideologically in Surrealism and indebted in particular to the work of René Magritte and Giorgio de Chirico. All the elements of his mature art are evident in an early painting, Burning of the Hasidic School in Minsk in 1713 (1954; artist’s col.): architecture, space, light and ordered series. He developed an essentially intellectual approach, working in a variety of media (paintings, drawings, gouaches and collages) in rigorous sequences and picturing objects in cold impersonal light that confers on them a sense of distant majesty. The most common motif is that of a geometric, almost abstract structure, often in the form of a tower pierced by rows of large plain windows. Aizenberg’s work, while far removed from the Surrealist presumption of achieving a synthesis of wakefulness and dream, acquires its strength through the ordering of the unreal and the strange in the search for a transcendent essence capable of perturbing and jolting the viewer by bringing into play the archetypes of silence and solitude....

Article

Sofia Hernández Chong Cuy

American installation artists, active also in Puerto Rico. Jennifer Allora (b Philadelphia, Mar 20, 1974) graduated with a bachelor’s degree in art from the University of Richmond, Virginia (1996), and Guillermo Calzadilla (b Havana, Cuba, Jan 10, 1971) graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Escuela de Artes Plastica in San Juan, Puerto Rico (1996). Allora and Calzadilla met in Italy in 1995 during a study abroad program in Florence. They then lived together in San Juan for a year before moving to New York City where they started working collaboratively while each participated in different residency and study programs. In 1998–1999, Allora participated in the year-long Whitney Independent Study Program, while Calzadilla participated in the P.S.1 Contemporary Arts Center National Studio Program.

Allora & Calzadilla’s first important international exhibition was the XXIV Bienal de São Paulo in 1998 curated by Paulo Herkenhoff, which investigated the idea of cultural cannibalism known in Brazilian literature as ...

Article

Guatemalan, 20th – 21st century, female.

Active in the USA.

Born 1950, in Guatemala City.

Painter (mixed media), watercolourist, draughtswoman. Figure compositions.

Carmen Almon studied in New Orleans from 1968 to 1969, at the Newport College of Art in England from 1969 to 1970 and at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington ...

Article

Francis Summers

revised by Martin R. Patrick

(b Antwerp, Aug 22, 1959).

Belgian-born interdisciplinary artist, active in Mexico. He studied architecture at the Institut d’Architecture de Tournai in Belgium (1978–83) and at the Istituto Universitario di Architettura in Venice (1983–6). Alÿs moved to Mexico in 1987 and his art practice initially concentrated on Mexico City as a laboratory of urban living, often documented in the form of evocative, conceptually layered photographs, sculptures, and videos. In the slide series Ambulantes (Pushing and Pulling) (1992–2002), Alÿs photographed street vendors and workers as they passed by carting a wide variety of goods within a ten-block vicinity of his studio. For his project entitled The Liar, The Copy of the Liar (1997) Alÿs created small images of suited men inspired by the commercial sign painters of Mexico City, and subsequently commissioned from them larger versions in their own styles. In this process Alÿs deferred authorship into a semantic chain. Hovering between the banal and the surreal, these works have an uncanny theme, of individuals observed in situations that defy explanation....

Article

Daniel Montero

(b Mexico City, 1970).

Mexican installation artist, video artist, and performance artist. Amorales studied at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie, after attending Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten (1996–1997), both in Amsterdam. He worked with images and signs of different types that when modified, combined, and recoded produce new images and meanings in turn. Based on pre-existing information and images he found on the Internet, Amorales created a particular way of working, more closely resembling that of a design studio than a traditional artist’s atelier. In his workspace and with a team of assistants, he proposed different ways of understanding the forms in which signs circulate and are appropriated, inquiring into notions of authorship, communication, and artistic media. From 1998 Amorales collected images from the Internet and converterted them into black, white, and red vectors. This collection is now known as the Liquid Archive. With these images, he produced several artworks in which multiplicity, repetition, and juxtaposition are constant. For example, in the video ...

Article

Brazilian, 20th century, male.

Active in France from 1946.

Born 26 May 1922, in Fortolez or Fortaleza (Ceara); died 6 October 1967, in Paris.

Painter (including gouache/mixed media).

Having worked with a group of young painters from north-eastern Brazil, Bandeira arrived and exhibited in Rio de Janeiro in 1945. Having obtained a study grant shortly afterwards, he went to Paris to the École des Beaux-Arts and the Académie de la Grande Chaumière, meeting Wols, whose influence was to be an important one. It was with him and Bryen that he founded the short-lived group ...

Article

Brazilian, 20th century, female.

Sculptor, assemblage artist.

Baranek has taken part in collective exhibitions, such as the São Paulo Biennale in 1989.

Farias, Agnaldo: ‘Brésil: petit manuel d'instructions’ in Art Press n°221, periodical, Paris, February 1997.

Article

Brazilian, 20th century, female.

Painter, collage artist.

Barr first studied in Geneva, where she won the gold medal, then at the Reimanschule in Berlin and then in Warsaw under the supervision of Tadeusz Pruskowski. She makes collages from vinyl, iron wires, tulle and seeds, which she heightens with colours. She exhibited in Rio de Janeiro, in Paris at the museum of the Jeu de Paume and the Salon Comparaisons, in New York, Warsaw and Rome....

Article

Brazilian, 20th century, male.

Installation artist.

Conceptual Art.

Barrio participated in the debate on Neo-Constructivism that took place during the 1960s in Brazil. He has favoured poetic elements since then. He has taken part in collective exhibitions, such as the São Paulo Biennale in 1996...

Article

Colombian, 20th century, male.

Born 1945, in Cartagena.

Painter.

Álvaro Barrios produces mainly drawings and collages. These refined compositions combine the imagery of everyday life, cartoon strips and very old photographs with drawings that are often caricatures or erotic. He exhibited works on oilskin at the ...

Article

Eduardo Serrano

(b Cartagena, Oct 27, 1945).

Colombian painter, sculptor and conceptual artist. He studied at the Escuela de Bellas Artes of the University of Atlántico in Barranquilla, Colombia, from 1958 to 1960, and in Italy from 1966 to 1967 at the University of Perugia. In 1966, under the influence of Pop art, he made the first of a series of collages combining cut-outs of well-known individuals and comic strips with drawn elements. Two years later he added frosty effects and velvet flowers to his interpretations in black and red ink of figures with distorted bodies and the faces of film stars. In 1969 he began to present these in increasingly three-dimensional boxes or glass cases, accompanied by clouds of cotton wool, plastic figures and other additions that combined to make up fantastic or nostalgic scenes, dream-like and surrealist in appearance and tone.

Barrios was among those who introduced conceptual art to Colombia, for example by publishing in newspapers a series of ...

Article

Haitian, 20th – 21st century, female.

Active in France.

Born 1965, in Bogotá.

Painter (mixed media), installation artist.

Élodie Barthélémy spent extended periods in Bolivia, Sri Lanka and Morocco before settling in France. Her work was featured in the African Effects ( Suites Africaines) exhibition devoted to contemporary African art which was held at the Couvent des Cordeliers in Paris in ...

Article

Argentinian, 20th century, male.

Painter, sculptor, mixed media, architect.

Bedel's works are metaphorical. In relief to varying degrees, he combines shiny metal with dull organic materials to create models that resemble towns, while privileging the evocation of the book form. He gives poetic expression to his pessimistic preoccupations concerning the future of humanity....

Article

J. Harwood

(b Havana, 1959).

Cuban painter and installation artist. He graduated from the Escuela de Artes Plásticas ‘San Alejandro’ in Havana in 1976, and in 1981 from the city’s Instituto Superior de Arte. Later in 1981 Bedia participated in the groundbreaking exhibition Volumen I, the aim of which was to create a more open, outward-looking art, free from official constraints. Liberalization of Cuban society allowed Bedia to visit many countries throughout Africa, Europe and the Americas, eventually returning to his country’s own Afro-Cuban culture and religion. Bedia’s early archaeological and ethnographical interests resulted in the creation and documentation of fictious finds and in the use of photographs of Amazonian Indians, such as those on amate (native bark) paper in the untitled work from the series Crónicas Americanas (1982, Havana, Mus. N. B.A.). This perspective gradually developed into anti-colonialist paintings, drawings and installations. Bedia’s initiation into the Afro-Cuban Palo de Monte religion in 1983...

Article

Cuban, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1959, in Havana.

Painter (mixed media), installation artist.

Bedia creates installations in which drawings and objects appear as an expression of the artistic language of the Cuban popular ceremonies from which he takes his inspiration. His works combine Amerindian and African cultures, blended with his own Western heritage. They are located half way between modernity and the primitive: syncretism remains the main theme of his work. He lives and works in Havana....

Article

Venezuelan, 20th – 21st century, male.

Active in the USA.

Born 1949, in Caracas.

Watercolourist, engraver, collage artist.

Ricardo Benaim studied engraving from 1980 to 1982 in Paris at Atelier 17 and then Atelier 63. From 1982 to 1985 he taught at the Pratt Graphic Center in New York and after spending a few years in Europe returned to Caracas. He now divides his time between Caracas and New York and pursues his career in advertising. In his early career Benaim used traditional engraving techniques but he has gradually embellished these with collage and a variety of materials such as letters, postcards and photographs to the point of producing an embossed background which he then embellishes with detail....

Article

Uruguayan, 20th century, male.

Born 16 November 1942, in Montevideo.

Sculptor.

Armando Bergallo exhibited at the Venice Biennale of 1970, showing assemblages of juxtaposed linear structures.

Article

Argentinian, 20th century, male.

Born 14 May 1905, in Rosario (Santa Fé); died 13 October 1981, in Buenos Aires.

Painter, sculptor, engraver, collage artist, photomontage artist, assemblage artist. Figure compositions, landscapes, portraits, still-lifes, scenes with figures.

Nouvelle Figuration, Figuration Narrative.

Nuevo Realismo Group.

Berní was the son of Italian immigrants in Argentina. His childhood and early youth were marked by destitution. In 1915, when his father died, he went to live with his grandmother, where he had to travel 10 kilometres (six miles) on horseback to get to school every morning. From 1916, he was able to study stained glass window technique and attend a drawing course for young people. He was then influenced by the Post-Impressionism of the Spaniard, Joaquín Sorolla. He began to exhibit in 1918.From 1921 to 1924, he abandoned his studies and went to live among the peasants of the Pampa, where he painted landscapes. In 1925, he won a scholarship that enabled him to travel to Europe, where he stayed first in Madrid, then settled in Paris, where he frequented the studios of André Lhote and Othon Friesz at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière in Montparnasse and discovered the painting of Picasso, Braque and de Chirico. In 1928, still in Paris, he met the Surrealists, associating mainly with Aragon; he did not formally join the movement but he immersed himself in the psychological atmosphere of the group and its Marxist commitment. He read Marx, Engels and Lenin, and met Henri Lefebvre. His painting was influenced by his Surrealist friendships, particularly in the series of photomontages and collages that he embarked on in 1929. In 1930, he returned to Argentina, where he studied further and was still able in 1932 to exhibit his Surrealist paintings of 1929-1931, in which he had mainly applied Lautréamont's formula concerning encounters with random objects.On his return, he had founded the ...