GEGO AS A WEAVER, GEGO AS AN ARCHITECT OF SPACE

Like a meticulous and careful spider, the importance of manual work in Gego's pieces unfolds before our eyes and conveys ideas of deep meaning, such as the value of patience, contemplation, the observation of life in its many facets, the relationship with others, the cooperation. The simple approach of using metal segments as connectors between nodes and weaving huge interconnected networks, occupying a physical space, encloses a substantial visual and discourse load.

Reticulárea, 1969. Fine Arte Museum, Caracas. Photo Paolo Gasparini, Fundación Gego Archive

This German artist, based in Venezuela since she left her home country during World War II, began to develop her own language in the 1960s. In her work, it is evident the great influence of her training as an engineer, with a mention in architecture, studies that she concluded in 1938 at the University of Stuttgart. As Gertrud Goldschmidt, her real name, she developed her career in the world of design and architecture. She created a company dedicated to the manufacture of furniture and lamps and got involved in urban design projects with residential houses in Los Chorros, Quintas El Urape and Tulipán.

But since the late 50s, Gertrud ceases to be Gertrud and begins to be Gego. The take-off of her artistic career coincides with a turn in her personal life when, after having divorced her first husband in 1952, she meets her life partner for the rest of her days: Gerd Leufert. In the early years, her work becomes more landscape, expressionist and figurative; but soon she begins to explore concepts that interest her especially, such as the three-dimensional configuration of the works, at which time she establishes a relationship of friendship and mutual exchange with sculptors such as Alejandro Otero and Jesús Soto. In this period, called "Parallel Lines", the influence of geometric trends and kinetic art becomes palpable in many of her works, as with the piece "Sphere", which produces a surprising sensation of movement when one goes around it.





It was always crucial for Gego to include a spatial aspect in her work. Some of her most famous works belong to the well-known period of "Reticle-areas, Trunks and Spheres", which began in 1969. That's when the artist abandons rigid materials and begins to weave her nets in a flexible way using adaptable materials, and embraces new formats, always starting from pure forms, but open to the modification of patterns.

The undoubted influence of this artist on the kinetic movement and three-dimensional geometric art is undeniable. This has led the director Montenegro & Lafont to create 17 micro-documentaries with testimonials from personalities who know and value her work to offer us a more intimate vision of the author, a project entitled “fg conversations”. After she died in 1994, her family created the Gego Foundation, which has collaborated intensely on this proposal.

Gego in her studio, Caracas, ca. 1982, Fundación Gego Archive

With several exhibitions to open at the São Paulo Museum of Art, the Jumex Museum in Mexico City, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Barcelona and the Guggenheim in New York, the Reina Sofia Museum organises a session to display the documentaries and open debate around the work of this artist, with the participation of Yayo Aznar (architect) and Guillermo Barrios (art historian), and presented by the curator and historian Federica Palomero. “Links in/about Gego”, Monday, October 14th, 2019 - 7:00 p.m. / Sabatini Building, Auditorium.

 

The CEART opens this Thursday, November 14th in the room A an exhibition dedicated to this master of photography, which will be open to the public until February 9th. The show includes one of the artist's latest projects, focused on the hard work carried out by the miners of Serra Pelada, an open gold mine in the heart of Brazil where employees daily risked their lives.

Immigration, poverty, marginal life, slave labour, man's relationship with the land, the use of natural resources... are issues that have always fascinated Salgado. From the beginning of his career as a photographer, his work has opted to give visibility to the most disadvantaged groups and to create with his images a vivid and impressive visual story without fakes. With a raw black and white, this author's work transits between photo-reportage and naturalistic photography.

And the idea that permeates all his work is human dignity. Salgado portrays employees, miners and gatherers from a purely humanistic approach that wants to value their integrity, their strength and their resilience.

“If you photograph a human, so that he is not represented in a noble way, there is no reason to take the picture. That is my way of seeing things.”

Salgado entered this discipline long after completing his studies in economics between Brazil and the United States, and a doctorate in statistics in France. But in 1973 his life took a turn, and he decided to start his career as a photographer. He achieved to work at the Gamma Agency and Magnum Photos for more than 15 years until in 1994 he founded his own agency “Amazonas Imagen”.

With the “Gold” project, the photographer portrays a harsh reality that takes place in the Serra Pelada mine, a name given to a totally devastated and anarchically excavated mining enclave, the world's largest open-pit gold mine, through which more than 50,000 people have passed. In the heat of the legends about the mysterious “El Dorado”, the enthusiasm for this precious metal led to the development of strenuous exploitation practices for the workers and to originate tales of grief and glory, of human victory and defeat between the soil, the tunnels and the cargo baskets.

The CEART exhibition brings together Salgado's full portfolio in his characteristical black and white and large-format photographs that leave no one indifferent.