When: On until 23rd February 2018
Where: The Mayor Gallery, 21 Cork Street, First Floor, London W1S 3LZ
£: Free admission
What is it?
The Mayor Gallery in London will be hosting a group show of seven Latin American artists, who were either born there or moved to join in the exciting and revolutionary art movements happening in the 50s and 60s.
Conceptual and abstract art made in several Latin American countries from the late ’50s onwards dealt not only with questions of abstraction and constructivism but also with deeper cultural issues such as colonialism, repressive and dictatorial governments and social inequality. Their art is not just aesthetic expressions of creativity but a form of resistance to censorship and brutal regimes.
Born in Cuba and trained at Havana’s Academia de San Alejandro, Wifredo Arcay arrived in Paris on a grant in 1949. He quickly assimilated within the milieu of post-Cubist Abstraction. While celebrated as a printmaker, Arcay painted only through the 1950s and 1960s. He exhibited as part of the Cuban delegation to the São Paolo Biennale (1955) and frequently at Havana’s Galería Color-Luz.
Carlos Cairoli studied fine arts in Buenos Aires where he met the artist Torres Garcia who familiarised him with theories of constructivism and the art of Mondrian. Cairoli moved to Paris in 1952 exhibiting regularly.
Marco Antonio Castillo Valdes, Dagoberto Rodríguez Sánchez and Alexandre Arrechea Jesus Zambrano (left in 2003) are the Cuban founders of the collective Los Carpinteros, living and working between Havana and Madrid. Reflecting on the relatively recent Socialist revolution of their country under a regime of political economic crisis, their work uses the imagery of man-made construction; cities, buildings, and swimming pools.
Arriving in Brazil in 1946, Waldemar Cordeiro settled in São Paulo in the following year, initially working as a journalist, art critic and newspaper caricaturist. In 1949, Cordeiro participated in From Figurativism to Abstractionism, at the newly opened São Paulo Museum of Modern Art where abstraction gained institutional backing. Cordeiro was Communist, his politics and art theory combined making him a proponent of art as a fundamental element of the social transformation process, firmly believing art should be accessible to all, rejecting the hedonistic idea of ‘art for art’s sake’.
Hamlet Lavastida is a political activist by way of his art. The provocative, boundary-pushing artist thrives on highlighting the distinctly Cuban spirit of cultural resistance. His work, for which he has been exiled more than once, reconstructs old Cuban political and military propaganda.
Mira Schendel settled in São Paolo in 1953, where she married Knut Schendel, and where she lived and worked until her death in 1988. Schendel is considered one of the most important and influential Latin American artists of the twentieth century. While having contributed to the Concretist and Neoconcretist movements that stormed the Brazilian avant-garde, she was never associated with a single movement.
Luis Tomasello, a leading representative of Latin American Kinetic art, worked extensively in Paris from the late 1950s onwards, exhibiting with Galerie Denise René, alongside Victor Vasarely and Jesús Rafael Soto. Tomasello studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Buenos Aires, and began as a Concrete artist, looking to Mondrian for inspiration.
More info: www.mayorgallery.com