The Mayor Gallery presents show of seven Latin American artists

LONDON’s The Mayor Gallery are presenting Latin American Work on Paper an exhibition of seven Latin American artists or artists who have worked in the region who were part of the continent’s revolutionary art movements in the 1950s and ‘60s. The artists  featured in Latin American Work on Paper include Wifredo Arcay, Carlos Cairoli, Waldemar Cordeiro, Hamlet Lavastido, Mira Schendel and Luis Tomasello, as well as the artistic collective Los Carpinteros, and they explore the artistic themes of abstraction and constructivism and political issues such as colonialism, repression, dictatorial rule and social inequality — their work is part of the resistance to censorship and brutal regimes.

Wifredo Arcay was a Cuban artist who trained in Havana and then moved to Paris in the late-1940s where he became involved in the post-Cubist abstraction movement. He is known as a painter, print-maker and muralist. Arcay’s work represents the diversity and internationalisation of post-war abstract art.

The Mayor Gallery, Latin AmericaWifredo Arcay, Untitled, 1950, gouache on paper, 16.5 x 25 cm

Hamlet Lavastida is a Cuban political activist and artist who embraces the Cuban tradition of cultural resistance by reconstructing and appropriating the logos of national institutions and old military propaganda. The aim of his work is note the absurdity of historic brands and demystify propaganda. The political radicalism of his work has led to his exile from his home country on multiple occasions.

The Mayor Gallery, Latin America

Hamlet Lavastida, Vida Profilactica 19, 2014, ed. ½, X-Acto knife cut out paper drawing, 100 x 70 cm

The artistic collective, Los Carpinteros, working in both Madrid and Havana, Cuba was founded by Cuban artists Marco Antonio Castillo Valdes, Dagoberto Rodríguez Sánchez and Alexandre Arrechea Jesus Zambrano – the final one has left. They reflect on the recent Socialist revolution of their country using images of man-made constructions, including cities, buildings and swimming pools. Edifico Rio Mar is a large scale reconstruction of a luxury apartment building in Havana that has been allowed to deteriorate and is now almost derelict.

The Mayor House, Latin AmericaLos Carpinteros, Edifico Rio Mar, 2016, watercolour on paper, 200 x 452 cm

Widely regarded as the most important and influential Latin American artist of the 20th century, Mira Schendel was, in fact, born in Switzerland, but she moved to Brazil where she married a local man and, so, lived most of her adult life in the continent’s largest country. She did not associate herself with one movement, her work has contained elements of Lettrism, Colour field painting and early conceptual art. Her interest in religion, philosophy, and geographical displacement.

The Mayor House, Latin AmericaMira Schendel, Untitled, 1964, graphite on rice paper, 47 x 23 cm

Argentinian-artist Carlos Cairoli was fascinated by the effects of light on material. While he was still living Argentina he joined Lucio Fontana’s experimental group that looked at spatial research and when he moved to Paris in 1951 he participated in Groupe Espace that followed De Stijl, Dutch neo-plasticisim,  and sought to find a non-utopian way to approach synthestisation of arts within architectural space. Cairoli then moved towards a purer conception of constructivism by participating in Groupe Mesure in the 1960s alongside famous artists Jean Gorin, Anthony Hill and Charles Biederman.

The Mayor Gallery, Latin AmericaCarlos Cairoli, Rythme, 1963, collage, 65 x 50 cm

Italian-artist who moved to Brazil in the mid-1940s, Waldemar Cordiero’s, art was influenced by his radical, communist political views – he saw his art as fundamental to the social transformation process believing art should be accessible to all rather than just produced for the sake of it. He was a close follower of Max Bill’s Concrete Art concepts and Gestalt principles. He used simple elements in his work and also introduced computer art to Latin America through a movement titled Arteonica.

The Mayor House, Latin AmericaWaldemar Cordiero, Untitled, c.1950, ink on paper, 10.5 x 15.5 cm

Luis Tomasello was an Argentinian artist who worked in Paris in the 1950s. Beginning as a concrete artist, with Mondrian as his inspiration, he moved beyond working in relief as he was fascinated by the reflection of colour and light on surfaces.

The Mayor House, Latin AmericaLuis Tomasello, El Arquero de la Luz (The Archer of Light) 10 embossed cards within a silkscreen printed Plexiglas box, ed. of 50, 24 x 24 x 8 cm

by Allie Nawrat 

Latin American Work on Paper is open from January 9 until February 23 2018 at The Mayor Gallery, 21 Cork Street, First Floor, London W1S 3LZ