All the wealth, colours and motifs of Latin American art in all its forms, from architecture to ceramics, from folk art to abstract art and from sculpture to body painting, are celebrated in the exhibition “Géométries Sud, du Mexique à la Terre de Feu” that opened recently in Paris, at Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain. The exhibition is a wide-ranging exploration of the artistic production of the vast area that is Latin America, from Mexico to Tierra del Fuego, representing 12 countries with 250 artworks by more than 70 artists. From Pre-Columbian times to the present, including forms of artistic expression inherited from local native cultures that are still active, the works of art on exhibit explore forms of geometric abstraction in Latin America, tracing the links and visual interaction between different ages in history and different cultures.
As soon as they enter the exhibition, visitors to Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain find themselves in a dance hall designed by architect Aymara Freddy Mamani which gets them into the spirit of a traditional celebration in the Andes. Bolivian architect Aymara Freddy Mamani draws his inspiration for the façades of his buildings and his interiors decorated with geometric and fantastic patterns from the figurative motifs of Pre-Columbian Amerindian culture and traditional ceremonial costumes. His projects in his native city, El Alto, are unusual buildings with brightly coloured walls he describes as "neo-Andean", very different from the colours of traditional constructions on the Altiplano of Bolivia.
The big room on the ground floor at Fondation Cartier hosts an installation by two prominent figures in architecture in Paraguay and all over the world: architects Solano Benitez and Gloria Cabral of Gabinete de Arquitectura, winners of the Golden Lion at the 15th International Architecture Exhibition, “REPORTING FROM THE FRONT”, curated by Alejandro Aravena for the Biennale in Venice. At Fondation Cartier the architects exhibit a monumental work based on the logic of modularity and repetition, using basic materials such as brick and cement to create effects of rhythm, light and balance.
This voyage through the geometries of the southern hemisphere continues in a variety of artistic forms. The Fondation Cartier exhibition not only presents the most important artists on the Latin American scene but draws international attention to the work of artists who are little known outside their home countries. One such example is photographer Anna Mariani and her work about the colourful houses of northeast Brazil: images which will not be familiar outside of the country, in which no human figures appear, recalling the almost abstract work of Brazilian painter Alfredo Volpi.
The indigenous roots of various different cultures come to life to inspire many of the works on exhibit, from ceramics to fabrics and body painting. The motifs and forms of Pre-Columbian art and architecture are documented by photo features on Machu Picchu by Peruvian photographer Martín Chambi, while Mexican photographer Pablo López Luz finds reminders of the Incas in contemporary vernacular constructions.
A series of related events including concerts, dance performances and other events completes the exhibition “Géométries Sud, du Mexique à la Terre de Feu”, inviting visitors to discover all aspects of these fascinating lands.
Title: Géométries Sud, du Mexique à la Terre de Feu
Dates: 14 October 2018 - 24 February 2019
Location: Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain, 261, boulevard Raspail 75014 Paris
Images courtesy of Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain