Venezuelan Contemporary Art, Colección Mercantil
CIFO Art Space, Miami │ June 1, 2007 - July 15, 2007
Curated by Jesús Fuenmayor
One of the main purposes of the Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation, CIFO, is the updating and globalization of knowledge of contemporary art in Latin America and the displacement of stereotypes and traditional paradigms associated with art from this continent. Jump Cuts. Venezuelan Contemporary Art. Colección Mercantil is an exhibition in perfect agreement with the aforementioned mission, for it offers a dynamic vision, not bounded by clichés, but showing a completely updated panorama, free of localism, of the complexity and variety of Venezuela’s contemporary artistic production.
The exhibition’s title, Jump Cuts, articulates the curatorial premise very well, since it reflects the history of Venezuelan art from the 1970s onwards as fragmentary, contradictory and multiple. The idea of interruption implied in the concept “Jump Cut” is not only applicable to national contemporary art, but to the country itself, the Venezuelan reality being in a constant state of social, political, economic and cultural crisis. After the emergence of the generation that included geometric abstract artists such as Alejandro Otero, Jesús Soto, Carlos Cruz-Diez and Gego, Venezuelan modern art acquired an international relevance that has been sustained over time.
This internationalism has been translated in current art as a formalist awareness and willfulness in the way the context is approached: not departing from localisms, mannerisms or a nationalist definition of identity, but rather from contemporary conceptual strategies. The four thematic nuclei proposed by Jesús Fuenmayor along with Tahía Rivero and Lorena González: The Modern Vernacular, From the Object to the Mode of Representation, Art Thought and Necrophilia, reflect the previously described peculiar dialectics of Venezuelan art (though arguably very similar to the artistic production of Brazil).
On the one hand is the attachment to a formalist or modernist tradition, as in the case, for example, of Sigfredo Chacón, Magdalena Fernández, Arturo Herrera or Juan Iribarren; on the other is the dedication to the contextual and conceptual strategy of an art form that is at the same time international and local, as perceived, for example, in Alexander Apóstol, Luis Molina-Pantin, Juan Carlos Rodríguez and Javier Téllez. In Jump Cuts, however, another fundamental aspect of contemporary art in Venezuela becomes evident, just as Jesús Fuenmayor describes it in the catalog: it is a complex and extremely diverse art, very dissimilar as to situations and production means. Thus, the apprehension of current artistic production within a unified vision is neither possible nor desirable. In the very conception as well as in the simultaneous specificity and breadth of these four thematic axes, these is a historical contextualization of each of the artists’ works, not only locally but internationally, something often elusive in the visions of Venezuelan contemporary art.
It is fortunate an opportune that the Colección Mercantil and the Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation, CIFO, have worked in tandem to present this important exhibition, a product of the vision and effort of the Collection’s curator Tahía Rivero, Jesús Fuenmayor and Lorena González. Jump Cuts provide a valuable opportunity for the public in Miami to appreciate the different manifestations of current Venezuelan art.
Alexander Apóstol, Juan Araujo, Carla Arocha, Emilia Azcárate, Aziz + Cucher, Alessandro Balteo Yazbeck, Mariana Bunimov, Sigfredo Chacón, Eugenio Espinoza, José Gabriel Fernández, Magdalena Fernández, Héctor Fuenmayor, Alexander Gerdel, Jaime Gili, Alí González, José Antonio Hernández-Diez, Arturo Herrera, Juan Iribarren, Diana López, Luis Molina-Pantin, Roberto Obregón, David Palacios, Alfredo Ramírez, Juan Carlos Rodriguez, Luis Romero, Javier Téllez, Meyer Vaisman, Sandra Vivas, Alfred Wenemoser, Julia Zurilla.