04 December 2016 | 4 °C

The Radical Geometry Of South American Modern Art

Tabish Khan
By Tabish Khan Last edited 29 months ago
The Radical Geometry Of South American Modern Art
Key. 14  /  Cat. 0
 
 Juan Mele
 Irregular Frame No. 2, 1946
 Oil on plywood, 71.1 x 50.2 x 2.5 cm
 Coleccion Patricia Phelps de Cisneros 
 c. Estate of Juan Mele
Juan Mele Irregular Frame No. 2, 1946 Oil on plywood, 71.1 x 50.2 x 2.5 cm Coleccion Patricia Phelps de Cisneros c. Estate of Juan Mele
Key. 65  /  Cat. 0
 
 Carlos Cruz-Diez
 Physichromie  No. 500, 1970
 Casein paint on PVC and acrylic on plywood sheets, 183 x 484 x 8 cm
 Coleccion Patricia Phelps de Cisneros 
 c. ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2014.
Carlos Cruz-Diez Physichromie No. 500, 1970 Casein paint on PVC and acrylic on plywood sheets, 183 x 484 x 8 cm Coleccion Patricia Phelps de Cisneros c. ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2014.
Key. 6  /  Cat. 0
 
 Alfredo Hlito
 Chromatic Rhythms II, 1947
 Oil on canvas, 69.9 x 70.2 cm
 Coleccion Patricia Phelps de Cisneros 
 c. Sonia Henriquez Urena de Hlito
Alfredo Hlito Chromatic Rhythms II, 1947 Oil on canvas, 69.9 x 70.2 cm Coleccion Patricia Phelps de Cisneros c. Sonia Henriquez Urena de Hlito
Key. 17  /  Cat. 0
 
 Joaquin Torres-Garcia
 Construction in White and Black, 1938
 Oil on paper mounted on wood, 80.7 x 101.9 cm
 The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of Patricia Phelps de Cisneros in honour of David Rockefeller, 2004. 
 Photo Coleccion Patricia Phelps de Cisneros
Joaquin Torres-Garcia Construction in White and Black, 1938 Oil on paper mounted on wood, 80.7 x 101.9 cm The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of Patricia Phelps de Cisneros in honour of David Rockefeller, 2004. Photo Coleccion Patricia Phelps de Cisneros
Key. 29  /  Cat. 0
 
 Lygia Clark
 Machine ??? Medium, 1962
 Golden aluminum, approx. 48.2 x 66.1 x 61 cm
 Coleccion Patricia Phelps de Cisneros 
 c. The World of Lygia Clark Cultural Association
Lygia Clark Machine â?? Medium, 1962 Golden aluminum, approx. 48.2 x 66.1 x 61 cm Coleccion Patricia Phelps de Cisneros c. The World of Lygia Clark Cultural Association
Gego (Gertrude Goldschmidt) 
Sphere, 1976 
Stainless steel, 99.1 x 91.4 x 88.9 cm 
Coleccion Patricia Phelps de Cisneros 
c. Fundacion Gego
Gego (Gertrude Goldschmidt) Sphere, 1976 Stainless steel, 99.1 x 91.4 x 88.9 cm Coleccion Patricia Phelps de Cisneros c. Fundacion Gego

Think 20th century abstract art and the mind automatically conjures up images of Jackson Pollock's expressionist drip paintings or Mark Rothko's cool intensity. But the North wasn't the only America forging a new path in the abstract; South America was also undergoing a shift in their art world and this exhibition showcases some of its leading luminaries.

Though the art largely limits itself to simple geometric forms, they are imbued with an edge and an aggression that you won't find in a Mondrian painting or an Alexander Calder mobile. Hermelindo Fiaminghi's elongated diamonds interlock like a set of jagged teeth and Juan Mele's sharp and uneven edges to his work gives it a sense of dynamism.

There are also works with a sense of delicacy as Jesus Soto's cube made of nylon threads shimmers like an optical illusion as you walk past it, and Gego's interlocking squares balance precariously on top of each other in a haphazard sculpture.

The minimalist labelling allows for viewers to drift naturally through the exhibition and the relatively small size of the gallery space ensures that the work and themes never become repetitive.

We'll be the first to admit that abstract modernism is not to everyone's taste and not all of the works here are as effective as the aforementioned highlights. But if modernism is your genre then this exhibition offers something new to the usual examples we see from European and North American artists.

Radical Geometry: Modern Art of South America from the Patricia Phelps de Cisneros collection is on at Royal Academy until 28 September. Tickets are £10 for adults, concessions available.  Also still on at the Royal Academy are the photographs of Dennis Hopper and the ever popular Summer Exhibition.

For more great art to see in London, check out our July listings.

Last Updated 06 July 2014