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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

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

Cecilia Suárez

(b Quito, Sept 8, 1939).

Ecuadorean painter, graphic designer, sculptor, installation artist, architect and teacher. He studied architecture at the Universidad Nacional de Bogotá, Colombia. He worked for the Graham Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, Washington, DC, and received a grant to attend the Center for Advanced Visual Studies at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, where he worked with György Kepes. Later he became a professor at the arts faculty of the Universidad Central, Quito. Bueno worked first in graphic design before going on to experiment with the incorporation of technology into art, using laser beams, mechanical pumps, plastic, glass and such elements as water, fire and air, for example in 49 Tubes, exhibited at the Bienal de Arte Coltejer in Medellín in 1972. He also combined visual art with music in such works as Flame Orchards, with music by Paul Earls, which won joint first prize with Kepes in the same exhibition. Exploration into ecological and environmental art led him to experiment with the idea of an aerial view of the urban landscape incorporating military camouflage sheets....

Article

Jorge Glusberg

(b Paraná, Entre Ríos, Dec 28, 1942).

Argentine painter, draughtsman and collagist. She studied at the Escuela Provincial de Artes Visuales in Paraná and at the Escuela Superior de Bellas Artes ‘Ernesto de la Cárcova’ in Buenos Aires. Taking the cue for her well-crafted works from Surrealism but concentrating her attention on fortuitous encounters in everyday life, she fluctuated between a meticulously detailed photographic realism and an artificial imagery of old porcelain dolls and turn-of-the-century postcards, posters and advertising handbills. Generally working in series, she combined the sinister and the humorous, sometimes in a single work, as in Sublime Portrait of my Mother (1978; see Glusberg, p. 455), a frontal view of a masked woman with a vacant and enigmatic smile. An early triptych, the Family of the Condemned (1974), is in the national collection in Buenos Aires (Mus. N. B.A.).

J. Glusberg: Del Pop-art a la Nueva Imagen (Buenos Aires, 1985), pp. 455–8...

Article

Sarah Urist Green

revised by Julia Detchon

(b Santiago, Chile, Feb 5, 1956).

Chilean architect, public interventionist, installation artist, photographer, and filmmaker, active in the USA. He first studied architecture at the Universidad de Chile in Santiago, then filmmaking at the Instituto Chileno-Norteamericano de Cultura, Santiago, concluding in 1981. Throughout his career, Jaar’s works have taken many forms in order to address global themes of injustice and illuminate structures of power. In over fifty projects he termed “public interventions,” Jaar conducted extensive research around the world to create site-specific works that reflect political and social realities near and far from his sites of exhibition. He created works—in gallery spaces and in public, often engaging spectator involvement—that present images critically and confront the social and political interests they serve.

Jaar’s first public intervention was Studies on Happiness (1979–1981), a three-year series of performances and exhibitions in which he asked the question, “Are you happy?” of people in the streets of Santiago. Inspired by ...

Article

Susan Snodgrass

(b Madrid, Spain, 1961).

Chicago-based American sculptor also working in photography, video and installation. He received a BA in art and art history and a BA in Latin American and Spanish literature from Williams College in 1983. In 1989 he earned a MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Manglano-Ovalle’s hybrid practice emerged with Tele-vecindario: A Street-Level Video Block Party, a public art project created for Culture in Action, a community-based art program in Chicago in 1992–3. Working with Latino youth in Chicago’s West Town community, an area often challenged by substandard housing, drugs and gang violence, the artist facilitated a multimedia portrait of their lives in which these youth constructed their own images and concept of self. Issues of identity, community and migration, as they relate to both cultural and geographic borders, have been explored throughout his prestigious career that includes collaborative modes of working, as well as individual works sited within the museum or gallery. For Manglano-Ovalle, culture encompasses a broad network of systems—artistic, political, environmental, scientific—in constant dialogue, negotiated by both artist and viewer....

Article

Eduardo Serrano

(b Bogotá, Aug 12, 1941).

Colombian sculptor, collagist, and conceptual artist. He studied architecture at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia in Bogotá from 1959 to 1965 and began at this time to make collages influenced by Pop art. In 1966 he made the first of his Boxes, painted in strong flat colors, often red or yellow, to which he affixed industrial elements such as telephone handsets. Soon afterwards he began to make only white boxes, using the color to complement the mystery of the objects they contained, such as the heads, arms, and legs of dolls, machine parts, wooden eggs, and domestic objects; the penetrating humor and arbitrariness with which he juxtaposed such things recalled the spirit of Dada.

In the 1970s Salcedo became involved for a time with conceptual art in mordantly critical and irreverent works, such as The National Coat of Arms (1973; Bogotá, Mus. A. Mod.). He subsequently returned, however, to sculptural objects, bringing together two or more previously unconnected elements into an unsuspected poetic unity when assembled. These in turn gave way to works concerned with the representation of water, for example a group of saw-blades aligned in wavelike patterns or rectangles of glass arranged to resemble rain. Some of these included human figures, bringing to bear a sense of solitude and anxiety that added to their poetry and suggestiveness....

Article

Tunga  

Adrian Locke

[De Barros Carvalho e Mello Mourão, Antonio José ]

(b Palmares, Pernambuco, Feb 8, 1952; d Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, June 6, 2016).

Brazilian conceptual artist. He graduated in architecture from the Universidade Santa Ursula, Rio de Janeiro in 1974. In 1976 he co-founded and edited the alternative art journal Malasartes, along with fellow Brazilian artists Cildo Meireles, José Resende (b 1945) and Waltercio Caldas (b 1946); Meireles and Tunga also founded another art journal together, A parte do fogo, in 1980. Tunga produced installation work involving both animate and inanimate objects, and also uses film and video, as in the 1980 Dois irmões (‘Two Brothers’) project and in his collaboration with Arthur Omar, O nervo de prata (‘The Silver Needle’). Large scale and repetition dominate Tunga’s work, which forms an alliance between the natural and the industrial. The result is often the presentation of seemingly desolate industrial landscapes where the initial appearance of sterility is off-set by natural elements that challenge the viewer’s perception. The presence of these organic elements gives life to the industrial forms, forcing the viewer to confront the reality of Brazil’s struggle to marry industrial development with environmental preservation. Huge plates of steel and magnets merge with what appear to be long, thick plaits of hair, a recurrent theme in his work. This hair is often real, attached to the heads of living people or, as in the ...

Article

Sarah Lack

(b Bogotá, Colombia, March 16, 1956).

British painter and sculptor of Colombian birth. She studied at the Academia Arjona, Madrid (1975–7) and the Bath Academy (1978–81). Her paintings and installations are concerned with architecture as a bearer of meaning and as a symbol of stability revealing how the everyday is rapidly changing. Pool Painting at Burrell’s Wharf in London (acrylic on plaster and board, oil on steel, 1991) dematerializes interior architecture into planes of colour. In a collaborative work with the architects McGurn, Logan, Duncan & Opfer, at 9–15 Bellgrove Street (light fittings, glass filters, 1996), Turnbull added other dimensions to architecture that went beyond prescriptive meaning: the glass windows of a stairwell in a Glasgow housing block were transformed into a series of coloured panes of light and reflections at night. Similarly Houses Into Flats (2000) is a series of 28 paintings in acrylic on canvas based on original building plans taken from books, maps and the internet. As an archaeologist reads ancient building plans in order to understand lost civilizations, so Turnbull invites the viewer to analyse the plans. Commenting on the globalization and cyclic nature of modern society, Turnbull alludes to both public and private buildings, from past centuries as well as the present; the varied references have included a 16th century villa, Calcutta Zoo, a North African oasis and an American apartment. Turnbull has received the Pollock-Krainer Foundation award (New York, ...