Alexander Apóstol: Savage Modern &
Magdalena Fernández: Surfaces
2006 CIFO Grants & Commissions Program Exhibition
CIFO Art Space, Miami │ May 13 - June 18, 2006
Alexander Apóstol: Savage Modern
The main focus of the exhibition Savage Modern by Alexander Apóstol revolves around the concept of exposing the contradictions and complexities inherent to the existence of modernism and modernity in a Third World country such as Venezuela. Savage Modern is both the title of the exhibition and of a video included in the show. The piece refers to one of the greatest icons of Venezuelan modernity in Caracas: the Villa Planchart designed in the 50s by the Italian architect Gio Ponti. For this house, Ponti designed a special exhibition area so the Plancharts' hunting trophies could be placed on show or hidden from view at will. The idea of the modern savage in this context, reflects the utopian attempt to encapsulate in an ordered and neutral sphere—like the modernist space—the vitality, changeability and wildness of the untamed animal world, or allegorically the "nature" of the Venezuelan and his culture. Venezuelan modernity, as depicted by Apóstol's photographs and videos, though neither barbaric nor unsophisticated, is savage due to its being a sui generis modernism in the throes of a constant process of implosion, flux and contradiction.
Magdalena Fernández: Surfaces
Magdalena Fernández's Surfaces are a complex, sophisticated exploration of the sculptural possibilities of geometric abstraction; one that reaches beyond the accepted boundaries of modernism. Fernandez is a successor to Venezuela's rich abstract-geometric tradition, in particular to the organicity and intricateness of Gego's Reticulareas (1969—1970s) and the kinetic art of Jesus Soto and Carlos Cruz-Diez. At the end of the 50s Soto and Cruz-Diez began experimenting by incorporating movement into their works, mainly based on the displacement of the viewer' in front of, or inside, the work.For Magdalena Fernández elements of nature such as water, fire and sounds are all important. In Surfaces, Fernández broadens the range of our perception of basic geometric shapes such as the square, by including natural elements as the protagonists of these works. In some pieces, including 1dm003 'Eleutherodactylus Coqui', sounds such as frogs croaking dictate the unpredictable behavior of these geometric shapes. The cry of an Amazonian guacamaya (Ara Ararauna) is what determines the colors and movement of the planes in 1pm006 "Ara Ararauna".
Light and movement are also fundamental aspects of Fernández's work. In some of her work, it is light which draws the geometric shapes and projects volumes that are neither static nor clearly delimitated. In some of her videos, the sharpness and definition of the geometric shapes is dissolved by the inner movement of those same lines, which transforms them into delicate, living, organic threads.
Alexander Apóstol (Venezuela), Magdalena Fernández (Venezuela).