Fondation Cartier shines a spotlight on Latin American geometry

Southern Geometries, from Mexico to Patagonia, a group show on view at Fondation Cartier in Paris, explores Latin America’s diverse approaches to geometric abstraction.

Presenting over 250 artworks by more than 70 artists, the exhibition combines modernist art, sculpture, architecture, ceramics, weaving and body painting, from the Pre-Columbian period to the present.

Through striking visual cues, Southern Geometries links the region’s diverse cultures. From photographs by the likes of Peruvian Martín Chambi, who photographed Machu Picchu in the 1920s, to those by Mexico’s Pablo López Luz, who captures the influence of Inca design in contemporary vernacular architecture, the Pre-Columbian era’s influence is ever-present in the show. 

Contemporary works by artists such as Joaquín Torres García and Carmelo Arden Quin (Uruguay), Lygia Clark and Luiz Zerbini (Brazil), Guillermo Kuitca (Argentina) Carmen Herrera (Cuba), Gego (Venezuela) and Lázaro Blanco (Mexico) are on display alongside pieces from ancient civilizations, connecting modernist art with Amerindian culture.

Highlights include artefacts created by the Ishir Indians (or Chamacoco) of Paraguay for their ceremonies and rituals, and contemporary drawings of the Wauja and Kadiwéu [Caduveo] people. 

Southern Geometries exhibition view

Anna Mariani’s photographs of Brazil’s colourful building facades, as well as photographs of tribal face paintings by Guido Boggiani and Claude Lévi-Strauss, are all reminders of Latin America’s affinity for pattern and its people’s strong attraction to colour.

This is best appreciated in the exhibition’s entrance ballroom, designed by the Bolivian-born architect of Aymara origin, Freddy Mamani. Here, Mamani has continued his exploration of geometric motifs, characteristic of Tiwanaku culture and inspired by his fascination with Andean village festivals, to decorate the multi-coloured columns and ceiling structures of Southern Geometries’ first exhibition hall. A big, bold welcome.

Southern Geometries, from Mexico to Patagonia runs from 14 October 2018 to 24 February 2019 at Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris. Guided tours Tues – Fri at 6pm.

Header image: Anna Mariani, Xique-Xique, Bahia, Brésil, 1979 

Exhibition title:
Southern Geometries
Fondation Cartier
261 Boulevard Raspail, 75014 Paris, France:
Opening dates:
From 14 October 2018 to 24 February 2019

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