The exhibition Southern Geometries, from Mexico to Patagonia celebrates the wealth of color and diversity of styles in the geometric art of Latin America, bringing together 250 artworks made by over 70 artists from the Pre-Columbian period to present. Including modernist abstract art, sculpture and architecture as well as ceramics, weaving, and body painting, the exhibition explores the wide range of approaches to geometric abstraction in Latin America, whether influenced by Pre-Columbian art, the European avant-garde or Amerindian cultures. Southern Geometries weaves visual relationships among diverse cultures and regions across time, inviting visitors to discover the vibrant patterns and designs of Latin American art.
The exhibition opens with a spectacular ballroom designed by the Bolivian-born architect of Aymara origin, Freddy Mamani, whose work is inspired by the geometric motifs characteristic of Tiwanaku culture, as well as by the spirit of Andean village festivals. In his hometown of El Alto, his eye-catching multicolored buildings, which he refers to as “neo-Andean,” stand apart from the ordinary brick architecture of the region and bring contrast to the dull, muted tones of the Altiplano landscape.
In the neighboring gallery, Paraguayan architects Solano Benítez and Gloria Cabral, winners of the Golden Lion at the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2016, use panels of shattered bricks and concrete to create a monumental work based on the principle of repetition. A rhythmic construction that plays with the light coming into the gallery space, this installation, assembled in a delicate equilibrium using a modular system of triangles, runs the length of the facadeof the Fondation Cartier building. Presented in the same gallery as Solano Benítez’ architectural tour de force is a remarkable group of 22 intricate installations by the Venezuelan artist Gego. These works, many of which are on loan from the Fundación Museos Nacionales in Venezuela, have been brought together for the first time in Paris.
The lower level galleries present more than 220 works from a variety of cultures and time periods, connecting the ancient with the contemporary, modernist art with Amerindian culture. The exhibition also takes a look at the mysterious formal vocabulary of indigenous geometry. These motifs are represented on ceramics, basketry, textiles and the human body, and are combined in many different ways using styles specific to each culture.
Thereby, celebrating contemporary art as well as the art of ancient civilizations, Southern Geometries takes the visitor from Mexico to the Tierra del Fuego. Breaking free of artistic hierarchies and fostering a dialogue between all creative disciplines, the exhibition highlights the visual relationships that bring together artists, cultures, rites, and symbols.
Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain
261, boulevard Raspail
75014 Paris | France
Photo: Freddy Mamani, Cholet in red brick residential area, El Alto. Photo © Tatewaki Nio, from “Néo-andina” series, 2016. Photographic campaign produced with the support of the musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac.