VALENCIA.- This exhibition covers the period from when 20-year old Vieira da Silva first saw the work by Torres-Garcia, in 1929, at the house of the architect Pierre Chareau, to the time of Torres-Garcias death, in Montevideo, in 1949. Over 20 years, the oeuvres of these two artists would be established and would cross over one another, through their singular structures, always on the "threshold" between abstraction and figuration.
The exhibition 1929 1949, Vieira da Silva, Torres-Garcia art meeting beyond the structures will be presented at IVAM, Institut Valencià d'Art Modern Centre Julio Gonzalez, Spain, next march 5. A catalogue has been edited for this occasion, with contributions of Jean François Chougnet, director of the Museu Coleccão Berardo, Lisbon; Consuelo Císcar Casabán, director del IVAM, Valencia, Spain; Eric Corne, the exhibition curator; Emmanuel Guigon, director of the Musée de Besançon, France.
Vieira da Silva's oeuvre was truly revealed to Torres-Garcia through the photographs the young Uruguayan poet and painter Carmelo Arden Quin showed him in 1942, in Rio de Janeiro, where Vieira da Silva and Arpad Szenes had taken refuge. A letter accompanied these photographs, in which the young artist expressed her admiration. Torre's answer took the form of flattering article in the magazine Alfar, focusing especially on the painting Le Désastre ou la Guerre. The two artists stayed in touch following this publication. In 1943, Vieira da Silva wrote to Torres-Garcia stating: But painting is truly terrible, I work with great difficulty, very slowly, and am frequently discouraged. On those occasions I go back to your article, and find my courage again.
Nevertheless, it would be incorrect to look for all the elements young Vieira da Silva took from the work of the one she considered her master, since it isn't the principle of formal influence that links the two artists, but rather their intent on reflecting on the importance of a pictorial structure in order to reach a synthesis of the constructivism and the intuitive element, of abstraction and figuration, of primitivism and modernism.
Vieira da Silva and Torres-Garcia lived all their lives in exile. Both geographically and aesthetically speaking. They remained strangers to the predominant artistic movements during the rich period that followed 1929. It is not easy to pin their works to a specific aesthetical movement, be it Michel Seuphor's circle and square, in the case of the Torres-Garcia, or the loose painting style born from the Parisian School(s), in the case of the Vieira da Silva.
To the likeness of Miró (The universal Catalan), one might perhaps call Torres-Garcia the Universal Uruguayan, due to the syncretism of his work which found inspiration both in European and North American artistic movements, and also in pre-Colombian, African or Aboriginal primitivism. Together with Paul Klee, and from that time on, he was certainly one of the most considered and admired artists by the new generation of painters on the edge of abstraction form Paris to Barcelona and New York art scene. From Paris to New York, Torres's oeuvre influenced many art movements, ever since the end of the first half of the 20th century. His many followers are the testimony that pictorial adventure of his oeuvre is that of energy. It is animated by primordial adventure and is the result of that return to the origins. The infinitely small, the trivial, the down-to-earth, all find their harmony with the cosmos: with the sea, with the earth, with the sun, with the moon. His oeuvre resists to the murder of painting, to the dissemination of post-cubism shapes, and to the sensuality of surrealism.
Apart from these movements, we also propose a revisitation of the oeuvre of Vieira da Silva from its syncretic dimension, with its constant changes of point of view. Based on her existential uprooting, (besides the great admiration for Torres) the artist presents herself as an obsessive researcher of a construction, of a structure, or rather o a formal spatial organization of the world's chaos. Looking at her oeuvre, one is reminded of Rainer Maria Rilke: "it submerges us. We organize it. It falls to pieces. We organize it again and fall to pieces ourselves. However, Vieira da Silva's painting also show an intimate tension, it is contemplative, restricted by color fields, refusing any aesthetical limitation such as abstraction, which the artist considered alienating, not unlike some of her American counterparts, such as Clyfford Still and ;Mark Rothko.
Starting with the works of the artists, together with some other key players and close successors, the exhibition 1929 1949, Vieira da Silva, Torres-Garcia art meeting beyond the structures was also designed as a reading and a journey through the artistic movements between the years 1929 and 1949.